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date: 22 June 2021

Diaspora Curriculumfree

Diaspora Curriculumfree

  • Ming Fang HeMing Fang HeGeorgia Southern University College of Education

Summary

Diaspora curriculum draws upon a wide array of theoretical traditions of diasporas such as conceptions of diasporas; the breadth, diversity, and complexity of diasporas; diaspora consciousness; diasporic space and the in-betweenness of diasporas; exile and diaspora epistemology; exile pedagogy; exile curriculum; decolonizing diasporas; diasporic imaginaries and diasporic futurism; Afrofuturism; and Indigenous futurism.

The diaspora curriculum, with its epistemological similarity to exile pedagogy and exile curriculum, is interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and counterdisciplinary. Diaspora curriculum is international, transnational, and counternational. Diaspora curriculum, with its interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and counterdisciplinarity, thrives with diverse paradigms, perspectives, and possibilities, and demands multiple understandings toward commonplaces (teachers, learners, subject matters, and milieu) in diverse contexts. The breadth, diversity, and complexity of diaspora curriculum and its practical relevance are central to a wide array of educational thoughts reflected in contested theories, practices, and contexts.

In addition to its breadth, diversity, and complexity, another illuminating aspect of diaspora curriculum is evolving diasporic imaginaries, where we can keep our hopes and dreams alive in hard times when white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and settler colonialism are bolstered by hatred of differences. Such diasporic imaginaries invent diasporic futurities and cultivate radical possibilities and revolutionary imagination. Such diasporic futurities exhilarate diasporic consciousness that educates hope, evokes different histories and different futures, and invigorates radical love. Such diasporic consciousness enables people to find the strength, faith, and humility to join in common struggles and build solidarity across differences to fight against all forms of oppression. Such diasporic futurities inspire optimism over despair, love over hatred, and possibilities over impossibilities. Such diasporic futurities invigorate diasporic space for imagined communities where curriculum workers work with other educational workers such as researchers, educators, teachers, administrators, parents, students, community workers, and policy makers to heal the soul of humanity and planet with shared interests, principles, and visions for desirable collective futures in an increasingly complicated, diversified, uncertain, and fragile world.

Subjects

  • Curriculum and Pedagogy

Theoretical Traditions and Diaspora Curriculum Theorizing

Diaspora curriculum draws upon a wide array of theoretical traditions of diasporas such as conceptions of diasporas (e.g., Bruneau, 2010; Safran, 1991; Tölölyan, 1991); the breadth, diversity, and complexity of diasporas (e.g., Bhabha, 1990, 1994; Clifford, 1994, 1997; Hall, 1999, 2017a, 2017b, 2019); diaspora consciousness, diasporic space, and the in-betweenness of diasporas (e.g., Aoki, 2005a, 2005b; Bakhtin, 1981; Bhabha, 1994, 1996; Clifford, 1994, 1997; Deleuze & Guattari, 1972, 1980, 1991; He, 2003, 2006, 2010, 2016, 2018; Saïd, 1994, 2000, 2003); decolonizing diasporas (e.g., Dei, 2017; Dei & Lordan, 2016; Figueroa-Vásquez, 2020; Haig-Brown, 2009, 2012); diasporic imaginaries and diasporic futurism (e.g., Axel, 2002; Antonsich, 2010; Mishra, 1996; Steger, 2008); Afrofuturism (e.g., Anderson & Jones, 2016; Dery, 1994; Gipson, 2019; Jackson & Moody-Freeman, 2011; Womack, 2013); and Indigenous futurism (e.g., Dillon, 2012; de Ramírez & Lucero, 2009; Lempert, 2014, 2018; Medak-Saltzman, 2017).

Conceptions of Diasporas

Diaspora curriculum draws upon a wide array of conceptions of diaspora (e.g., Bruneau, 2010; Safran, 1991; Tölölyan, 1991). Diaspora (in Greek, διασπορά‎—“a scattering [of seeds]”) refers to the movement of a population sharing a common ethnic identity who are either forced to leave or voluntarily leave their indigenous or ancestral lands and become residents in other areas, often far removed from their former homes (He, 2010, 2018). In a broader sense, diaspora refers to situations when Indigenous peoples, immigrants, and emigrants are forced to leave or voluntarily leave their tribes, native lands, territories, communities, or countries due to such reasons as imperialism, colonialism, political persecution, economic exploitation, trade, or labor migrations. While people in diaspora might not maintain strong ties with their homelands or native lands, they lack full integration into the host lands. This mobile and unsettling existence of diasporas complicates and creates multiple senses of belonging (Bader et al., 2019) for people in diaspora. Diaspora is dedicated to the multidisciplinary study of the history, culture, social structure, politics, and economics of both the traditional diasporas—Armenian, Greek, and Jewish—and those transnational dispersions which in the past three decades have chosen to identify themselves as “diasporas.” These encompass groups ranging from the African American to the Ukrainian Canadian, from the Caribbean British to the new East and South Asian diasporas.

Khachig Tölölyan (1991), one of the founders of the field of diaspora studies and the founding editor of the award-winning journal, Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, which first appeared in 1991, stated, “[Diaspora], the term that once described Jewish, Greek, and Armenian dispersion, now shares meanings with a larger semantic domain that includes words like immigrant, expatriate, refugee, guest-worker, exile community, overseas community, ethnic community” (pp. 4–5). Based upon the contemporary “multiethnic, multicultural, multiracial, and pluralistic” nature of diasporas, William Safran (1991) defined diasporas as “expatriate minority communities” that hold the following main characteristics: a history of dispersal; a collective memory/vision/myth about the original homeland; a lack of sense of belonging in the host country; a desire for an eventual return to their ancestral homeland; commitment to the maintenance or restoration of homeland; an ethnocommunal consciousness of and solidarity with the homeland; affiliations not only with homeland but also with ethnic kin in other countries; maintaining and transmitting a cultural and/or religious heritage from ancestral homes; becoming independent centers of cultural creation; and cultural, religious, economic, and/or political relationships with the homeland (pp. 83–84).

Michel Bruneau (2010) defined four major types of diasporas: (a) entrepreneurial diasporas (e.g., the Chinese, Indian, and Lebanese diasporas) in which “entrepreneurship constitutes the central element of [their] reproduction strategy . . . emerging from a colonial context in which the ruler assigned their various commercial and enterprise activities” (p. 39); (b) religious diasporas in which “religion, often associated with a particular language, is the main structuring element” (e.g., the Jewish, Greek, Armenian, and Assyro-Chaldean diasporas); (c) political diasporas, which are organized chiefly due to political reasons (e.g., the Palestinian diasporas); and (d) racial and cultural diasporas, which are “defined first and foremost by socially constructed ‘race,’ and only subsequently by culture” (e.g., the Black diasporas; p. 40). Although these four major domains manifest most types of diaspora, the typology of diasporas is hard to define due to evolving religions, enterprises, politics, races, cultures, languages, and identities in diverse contexts.

The Breadth, Diversity, and Complexity of Diasporas

While engendered by the mobile, unsettling, interdisciplinary, and transnational existence of diasporas, diaspora curriculum also draws upon their breadth, diversity, and complexity. A group of anthropologists or cultural theorists (e.g., Bhabha, 1990, 1994, 1996; Clifford, 1994, 1997; Hall, 1999, 2017a, 2017b, 2019) broadened, diversified, and complicated the conceptions of diasporas. Drawing from Derrida’s (1982) notion of différance and Caribbean cultural diasporic aesthetics, in “Thinking the Diaspora: Home-Thoughts from Abroad,” Stuart Hall (1999) elaborated the unsettledness and unresolvableness of diasporas. For Hall (1999), the conception of diasporas cannot rest on “a binary conception of difference” (p. 7). Diaspora is “positional and relational, always on the slide along a spectrum without end or beginning” (p. 7). The reconfiguration of diasporas cannot be represented as “going back to where we were before . . . there is always something else between” (p. 8). In Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, and Nation, Hall (2017a) asserted:

[Diasporas] function as a signifier of translation across differences . . . Diasporas, in my sense, are a metaphor for the discursive production of new interstitial spaces arising from the long processes of globalization in which actual physical movement and displacement are key elements of our current moments and also symptomatic of the wider consequences of global connectedness and disjuncture. (p. 164)

For Hall (2017a), diasporas “are dispersed forever from their homelands, to which they cannot literally return. Diasporas belong to “imagined communities to which there can be no return” (p. 172). They “must learn to inhabit more than one identity, dwell in more than one culture, and speak more than one language…to speak in the unsettling place in between languages means to constantly negotiate and translate across their differences” (p. 173). Such a diasporic experience invents “home from home” (Hall, 2017b, p. 172), a “diasporic consciousness,” (Hall, 2017a, p. 173), a diasporic perspective, and a diasporic narrative to capture “the full complexities” and the displacements of “a collective predicament” (Hall, 2017b, p. 171).

In The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, Paul Gilroy (1993) questioned “ethnic absolutism in cultural criticism” (p. 3) regarding the Black Atlantic diaspora. Gilroy perceived the Black Atlantic diaspora as “a counterculture of modernity” (pp. 1–40), a culture as “a non-traditional tradition, an irreducibly modern, exocentric, unstable, and asymmetrical cultural ensemble that cannot be apprehended through the Manichean logic of binary coding” (p. 198). This counterculture “is not specifically African, American, Caribbean, or British, but all of these at once, a Black Atlantic culture whose themes and techniques transcend ethnicity and nationality to produce something new” (Lott, 1993, backcover). He also explores the Black Atlantic diaspora as it is manifested in Black writing, from the “double consciousness” of W. E. B. Du Bois to the “double vision” of Richard Wright to the compelling voice of Toni Morrison. By articulating the temporality, historicity, memory, and narrativity of the Black Atlantic countercultures, Gilroy (1993) reminds us of “the long history of slavery, the legacy of scientific racism, and the complicity of rationality and terror in distinctively modern forms of domination” and “a long struggle for political and social emancipation, and critical visions of equality and difference” (Clifford, 1994, p. 317) that have been generated in the Black Atlantic diaspora.

Diaspora Consciousness~Diasporic Space~The In-Betweenness of Diasporas

Diaspora curriculum is illuminated by the breadth, diversity, and complexity of diasporas through diaspora consciousness and diasporic space in the works of James Clifford (1994, 1997) on diaspora consciousness and diasporic space; Homi Bhabha on location of culture (1994), culture’s in-between (1996); Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1972, 1980, 1991) on rhizome, interbeing, intermezzo, multiplicity, and line of flight; M. M. Bakhtin (1981) on double-voiced, double-accented, and double-languaged hybrid; and Ted Aoki (2005a, 2005b) on teaching as indwelling between curriculum worlds.

In “Diasporas,” Clifford (1994, 1997) elaborated,

Diaspora cultures thus mediate, in a lived tension, the experiences of separation and entanglement, of living here and remembering/desiring another place . . . Diaspora consciousness is thus constituted both negatively and positively. It is constituted negatively by experiences of discrimination and exclusion. . . positively through identification with world historical cultural/political forces. . .Diaspora consciousness lives loss and hope as a defining tension. (pp. 311–312)

For Clifford (1994), “Diaspora consciousness is entirely a product of cultures and histories in collision and dialogue . . . because the signifier diasporic denotes a predicament of multiple locations” (p. 319). Thus diaspora “involves dwelling, maintaining communities, having collective homes away from home” (p. 308). Such a diaspora consciousness invents a diasporic space, a form of community consciousness and solidarity, that maintains “identifications outside the national time/space in order to live inside, with a difference” (p. 308). In Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century, Clifford (1997) reconceptualized diaspora consciousness and diasporic space in terms of its hybridity, complexity, and multiplicity (e.g., pp. 244–277).

This diaspora consciousness and diasporic space are in line with Homi Bhabha’s ideas of location of culture (1994) and culture’s in-between (1996). In The Location of Culture, Bhabha (1994) created the idea of culture’s in-between (also Bhabha, 1996). For Bhabha (1994), “these ‘in-between’ spaces provide the terrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood—singular or communal—that initiate new signs of identity, and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation” (pp. 1–2). This in-between space, “a contingent in-between space,” dwells “in the beyond” that “innovates and interrupts” (p. 7) the present and the past where people can see “inwardness from the outside furthest or deepest” (p. 16). This in-between space establishes “a bridge, where ‘presencing’ begins because it captures something of the estranging sense of relocation of the home and the world—the unhomeliness.” Nevertheless, Bhabha (1994) reminded us, “To be unhomed is not to be homeless” (p. 9). In that unhomely displacement, “the borders between home and world become confused; and uncannily, the private and the public become part of each other, forcing upon us a vision that is as divided as it is disorienting” (p. 9). This in-betweenness is the key to understanding diaspora consciousness and diasporic space.

In Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1980), Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari invented ideas of rhizome, interbeing, intermezzo, multiplicity, and line of flight. These politically and epistemologically provocative ideas, particularly their invaluable contributions to spatial philosophy, help understand the complicated and contested temporality, historicity, memory, and narrativity of diaspora consciousness and diasporic space.

In The Dialogical Imagination, M. M. Bakhtin (1981) elaborated:

The . . . hybrid is not only double-voiced and double-accented . . . But is also double-languaged; for in it there are only . . . two individual consciousnesses, two voices, two accents, as there are [doublings of ] socio-linguistic, consciousnesses, two epochs . . . that come together . . . such unconscious hybrids [engender] new world views, with new “internal forms” for perceiving the world in words. (p. 360)

This double-voiced, double-accented, and double-languaged hybrid represents the hybridity and multiplicity of diaspora consciousness and diasporic space, upon which diaspora curriculum thrives.

In “Teaching as Indwelling Between Two Curriculum Worlds,” Ted Aoki (2005b) depicted the two horizons that Miss O, a Grade 5 teacher, lived—“the horizon of the curriculum-as-plan as she understands it and the horizon of curriculum-as-lived experience with her pupils” (p. 161). The horizon of the curriculum-as-plan is usually designed by the Ministry of Education or the school district office which considers teachers as “installers of the curriculum” (p. 160) while students are receivers. The horizon of curriculum-as-lived experience is filled with students with different cultures and life stories with unplanned or unplannable curricula. Instead of dwelling on “apparent” differences culturally and linguistically, Aoki (2005a, 2005b) reminds us that “there are profound spaces in between” (p. 321).

Exile~Diaspora Epistemology~Exile Pedogogy~Exile Curriculum~Diaspora Curriculum

Diaspora curriculum also draws upon the works of Edward Saïd (1994, 1999, 2000, 2003) on interstitial spaces and exile, and Ming Fang He on teaching, learning, and living in-between (2003, 2006); exile pedagogyteaching in-between (2010); East–West epistemological convergence (2016); and people in diaspora (2018). The conceptions of exile are epistemologically connected with the hybridity and multiplicity of diaspora consciousness and diasporic space, where exile pedagogy, exile curriculum, and diaspora curriculum emerge. For Hamis Naficy (1999), a film and media studies scholar,

“Exile” suggests a painful or punitive banishment from one’s homeland. Though it can either be voluntary or involuntary, internal [i.e., forced resettlement within the country of residence], or external [i.e., deportation outside the country of residence], exile generally implies a fact of trauma, an imminent danger, usually political, that makes the home no longer safely habitable. (p. 19)

Based on his personal experience, in Reflections on Exile, Edward Saïd (2003) pushed diasporic epistemology forward, beyond the confines of the Eurocentric philosophical canon. Saïd consciously positions himself “between worlds,” or what he calls “interstitial spaces” (Saïd, 2000)—spaces of complex and contradictory manifestation of diaspora. He located his experience of exile in-between spaces filled with the divergence and convergence of multiple ideas, meanings, cultures, and experiences. Saïd’s diasporic epistemology of exiling in-between spaces counter hegemonic and homogenizing forces as well as most of the literature on exile, which focuses on a binary approach or “interpretations of opposites [and conflicts]” (McClennen, 2004, p. 30) and conflicts, where exile is seen either as mourning for loss of home or nostalgia of home, or being liberated from the experience of displacement. For Saïd (2003),

[Exile] can produce rancor and regret, as well as a sharpened vision. What has been left behind may either be mourned, or it can be used to provide a different set of lenses . . . [No] return to the past is without irony, or without a sense that a full return, or repatriation, is possible. (p. xxxv)

In Representations of the Intellectual, Edward Saïd (1994) transcends the in-betweenness of exilic consciousness and space that represent the complex, unsettling, and contested lives intellectuals live:

Exile for the intellectuals . . . is restlessness, movement, constantly being unsettled, and unsettling others. You cannot go back to some earlier and perhaps more stable condition of being at home; and, alas, you can never fully arrive, be at one with your new home or situation. (p. 53)

Saïd moved beyond the binary or oppositional interpretation of exile and invented an evolving in-between space for intellectuals in diaspora to indwell. Saïd (1994) called on intellectuals in exile from “home” to critically engage with the accepted norms and “to speak the truth to power” (p. xvi). For Saïd, “Real intellectuals . . . denounce corruption, defend the weak, defy imperfect or oppressive authority” (p. 6). They “are supposed to risk being burned at the stake, ostracized, or crucified” (p. 7). They have the courage to “raise embarrassing questions, to confront orthodoxy and dogma (rather than produce them), to be someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or corporation, and whose raison d’étre is to represent all those people and issues that are routinely forgotten or swept under the rug” (p. 11).

For Saïd (1999), diaspora is paradoxical, sometimes contradictory, and “permanently out of place” (p. 41). He perceives himself “as a complicated ‘other’” who is located “between different worlds” (p. 33) and sometimes homeless. However, this homelessness creates a state of being and becoming always “in motion, in time, in place, in the form of all kinds of strange combinations moving about, not necessarily forward, sometimes against each other, contrapuntally yet without one central theme” (p. 337). Saïd (1999) considered that diaspora creates a paradoxical, unsettling, and contradictory space out of place and home without home.

Diaspora curriculum builds upon a wide array of works such as diaspora consciousness and diasporic space (Clifford, 1994, 1997); location of culture (Bhabha, 1994) and culture’s in-between (Bhabha, 1996); rhizome, interbeing, intermezzo, multiplicity, and line of flight (Deleuze & Guattari, 1972, 1980, 1991); the double-voiced, double-accented, and double-languaged hybrid (Bakhtin, 1981); teaching as indwelling between curriculum worlds (Aoki, 2005b); and interstitial spaces and exile (Saïd, 1994, 2000, 2003). In addition, diaspora curriculum also draws from my works on teaching, learning, and living in-between (He, 2003, 2006, 2010); exile pedagogyteaching in-between (He, 2010); East–West epistemological convergence (He, 2016); and people in diaspora (He, 2018), which contribute to the evolving cartographies of diaspora consciousness and diasporic space.

Diaspora curriculum holds three qualities of in-betweenness: the epistemology of in-betweenness I have articulated in the previous section, the courageous aspect of teaching in-between, and the contested nature of teaching in-between. The epistemology of in-betweenness is also illustrated in a wide array of literature such as philosophers in exile (e.g., Grathoff, 1989); women in exile (e.g., Afkhami, 1994); writers in exile (e.g., Robinson, 1994); the art of memory in exile (e.g., Píchová, 2002); exilic and diasporic filmmaking (e.g., Naficy, 2001); film, media, and the politics of place (e.g., Naficy, 1999); the making of exile cultures (e.g., Naficy, 1993); exiles and communities (e.g., Pagano, 1990); postmodern discourses of displacement (e.g., Kaplan, 1996); exiles, diasporas, and strangers in art (e.g., Mercer, 2008); reluctant exiles (e.g., Skeldon, 1994); feminism, diasporas, and neoliberalisms (e.g., Grewal, 2005); and contested landscapes: movement, exile, and place (Bender & Winer, 2001). There is more a sense of blurredness, intersectionality, or multiplicity and a sense of being in the midst in approaches to exile in arts, films, media, fictions, and poems. This discursive, multifaceted, complicated, sometimes contested nature of exile is in line with an evolving in-betweenness of diaspora consciousness and diasporic space, where diaspora curriculum thrives.

The courageous aspect of teaching in-between is particularly influenced by radical democratic orientations illuminated through Freire’s pedagogy of the oppressed (1970), education for critical consciousness (1997), and teachers as cultural workers (1998); Freire and Faundez’s learning to question/pedagogy of liberation (1989); Palmer’s courage to teach (1998); public pedagogy of Sandlin et al. (2010); Schultz’s spectacular things happen along the way (2008; 2017), listening to and learning from students (2011), and teaching in the cracks (2017); Giroux’s teachers as intellectuals (1988) and critical public pedagogy (2004); Kincheloe’s (2008) critical pedagogy; Asante’s (2017) revolutionary pedagogy for teachers of Black children; King’s (2015) Afrocentric praxis and education for human freedom; McLaren’s (2002) critical pedagogy; Grande’s (2004) red pedagogy; Lather’s (1991, 1998) feminist pedagogy; Kozol’s savage inequalities (1991) and letters to a young teacher (2008); Crocco et al.’s (1999) pedagogies of resistance; Simon’s (1992) teaching against the grain; Cochran-Smith’s (1991, 2001, 2004) learning to teach against the grain and teach for social change; teaching for social justice of Ayers, Hunt, and Quinn (1998); learning to teach for social justice of Darling-Hammond, French, and Garcia-Lopez (2002); bell hooks’ teaching to transgress (1994), teaching community (2003), and teaching critical thinking (2010); Saïd’s intellectuals as exiles (1994); Ayers’ (2004, 2006) teaching toward freedom; and teaching the taboo of Ayers and Ayers (2011).

The radical democratic quality of teaching creates an in-between space for educational workers to exile voluntarily to teach in-between (He, 2010). This aspect of exile in-between is illuminated in an oral tradition of Confucianism: A good teacher should be able to remove himself/herself from the crazy materialistic world, seek a balanced human condition in-between unbalanced and contested contradictions and complexities within nature and humanity, and develop a clear vision to cultivate beauty, integrity, justice, and humanity (also see Schubert, 2009a). Many educational workers who choose to teach in-between not only question [what] it is worthwhile [to teach], for whom it is worthwhile [to teach], and how we make [teaching] worthwhile (Schubert, 2009b, p. 136), but also confront issues of equity, equality, social justice, societal change, and democratic human conditions through pedagogical theory and praxis.

The contested nature of teaching in-between draws mainly from the works on race, gender, class, and power in Black feminist thought/Black womanism (e.g., Baszile, 2015; Baszile et al., 2016; Collins, 1991; Davis, 1983; Guy-Sheftall, 1995; hooks, 1999; James & Sharpley-Whiting, 2000; Lorde, 1984; McClaurin, 2001; Morrison, 1993; Morrison & Denard, 2008; Phillips, 2006; Ross, 2015; Smith, 1983; Walker, 1997); Chicana feminist thought (e.g., Arredondo et al., 2003; García, 1997); critical race feminism (e.g., Wing, 2000, 2003); third-world feminism (e.g., Mohanty, 2003; Narayan, 1997); post/neocolonial feminism/ecofeminism (e.g., Anzaldúa, 1987, 1990; Anzaldúa & Keating, 2002; Mies & Shiva, 1993; Minh-Ha, 1989; Mohanty, 2003; Shiva, 1993; Native American social and political thought (e.g., Grande, 2004; Lomawaima, 1994; McCarty, 2002; Ng-A-Fook, 2007); Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and doing (e.g., Archibald, 2008; Tuhiwai Smith, 1999; Wilson, 2008; also Denzin et al., 2008), postmodern geography (e.g., Soja, 1989); the third space (Soja, 1996; Wang, 2004, 2006, 2010); critical geography (e.g., Harvey, 2001); social and cultural geography (Anderson et al., 2003; Del Casino, 2009), and spatial justice (Soja, 2010). While the intersectionality of race, gender, class, and power is always central to Black feminist thought/Black womanism, the intersectionality of repatriarchal historical analysis, spirituality, migration, displacement, slavery, racism, sexism, classism, imperialism, colonialism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, anthropocentrism (i.e. human supremacism), speciesism, and other forms of oppression is illuminated in Chicana feminist thought, critical race feminism, third-world feminism, and post/neocolonial feminism/ecofeminism. Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and doing connect critical theory with Indigenous knowledge and sociopolitical contexts of Indigenous education to develop transcendent theories of decolonization and advocate the liberty of Indigenous language and cultural rights and intellectualism. Postmodern, critical, social, and cultural geographers engage in this complex intersectionality within vibrant special dynamics of sociopolitical, cultural, and linguistic contradictions, complexities, and possibilities.

With three qualities distinguished from other forms of curriculum, such as the epistemology of in-betweenness, courageous aspect of teaching in-between, and the contested nature of teaching in-between, diaspora curriculum inspires us to teach to tensions, contradictions, and complexities in-between contested race, gender, class, and power, with equity, equality, social justice, and human freedom as explicit goals. The power of diaspora curriculum lies in educational workers’ strong advocacy on behalf of individuals, groups, families, tribes, communities, and societies that are often controversial, underrepresented, misrepresented, or excluded in official narratives. Diaspora curriculum connects the personal with the political and the practical with the theoretical through passionate participation in, and critical reflection on, teaching, learning, inquiry, and life. Diaspora curriculum cultivates an “epistemological curiosity” (Freire & Macedo, 1995, p. 382) which helps keep passion for teaching particularly in hard times. Diaspora curriculum encourages us to teach courageously in-between contradictions; move beyond boundaries; transgress orthodoxies; question mandates and regulations; educate rather than profit (Nussbaum, 2010); and “build on long-term, heart-felt engagement and shared efforts driven by commitment to equity, equality, social justice, freedom, and human possibility” (He, 2010, p. 471). Diaspora curriculum creates a culture of resistance and builds a participatory movement to promote a more balanced and equitable human condition through personal and political acts of teaching in an increasingly diversified, contested, and troubled world.

Decolonizing Diasporas~Decolonizing Diaspora Curriculum

To decolonize diasporas, we have to decolonize diaspora curriculum. In “Indigenous Land and Decolonizing Curriculum,” Eve Tuck (2015) claims that decolonizing curriculum must “involve repatriation of Indigenous land and abolition of slavery” (p. 444). Thus, theorizing diaspora curriculum “must be purposefully informed by Indigenous analyses of colonization and theorization of unsettlement” (p. 444). In “Decolonizing Diaspora: Whose Traditional Land Are We On?,” Celia Haig-Brown (2009) affirmed that too often “diaspora theory ignores the presence of Indigenous peoples who were already in place when the first and the last diasporic peoples were forced or chose to come to a land” (p. 15). For Haig-Brown (2009, 2012), “to ignore the trauma of those people who have been displaced here to make room, first for the colonizers and then for those who came after under all sorts of the other conditions—from slavery to starvation to war to straightforward immigration for the promise [of] a ‘new world’—is to perpetuate . . . epistemic violence” (2009, p. 16). “To ignore their displacement is to reinscribe the erasure of Indigenous peoples from the lands and from the histories in ways similar to those of dominant colonizers” (p. 16). Haig-Brown (2009) called on diaspora theorists to “take seriously not only the land from which one comes, but the land and original people of the place where one arrives” (p. 16).

Following Haig-Brown’s call, in Decolonizing Diasporas, Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez (2020) made another courageous call to “unsettle and dismantle the logics of colonial modernity/coloniality” (p. 16). Decolonizing diasporas helps create a critical space to “examine how themes of intimacy, witnessing, dispossession, reparations, and futurities are remapped . . . by tracing interlocking structures of oppression, including public and intimate forms of domination, sexual and structural violence, sociopolitical and racial exclusion, and the haunting remnants of colonial intervention” (pp. 1–2). Building upon women of color feminisms and decolonial theories, Figueroa-Vásquez recognizes the resistance of peoples of African descent as Afro-diasporic imaginaries—Afro-futurities—that “subvert and resist modernity and coloniality” (p. 16) and offer new ways to approach questions of home, location, belonging, difference, and justice.

In their book, Anti-Colonial Theory and Decolonial Praxis, George Dei and Meredith Lordan (2016) articulate that understanding of theories of decolonization and anti-colonialism is “a continuous process of challenging colonial and neo-colonial legacies, relations and power dynamics, taking up the subject of anti-colonial praxis and its specific implications—the larger questions of schooling and education in global and, particularly, diasporic contexts” (p. vii).

In his book, Reframing Blackness and Black Solidarities Through Anti-Colonial and Decolonial Prisms, George Dei (2017) advances “ten theoretical principles that foreground the understanding of Blackness” (p. 69). Dei (2017) states:

An anti-colonial framework can help bring Indigenous communities and Black and other racialized peoples, including immigrant bodies, all together to oppose the colonial dominant. . .The ninth principle of theorizing Black identity and Blackness must emphasize dimensions in resisting anti-Blackness in contemporary social formations. It is thus important for us to bring a global/transnational understanding to Blackness (e.g., globalization of anti-Black racism; being “Black” in Diaspora; the urgency of reinventing an Africanness in Diasporic contexts; and ways in which the politics of diaspora inform community building and solidarities). Black/African bodies in Diasporic contexts share struggles. . . (p. 76).

The cartographies of decolonizing diaspora can be also traced to a wide array of works on decolonization such as decolonizing tradition (Lawrence, 1992); decolonizing methodologies, research and Indigenous peoples (Tuhiwai Smith, 1999); Indigenous storywork: educating the heart, mind, body, and spirit (Archibald, 2008); decolonizing research: Indigenous storywork as methodology (Archibald et al., 2019); Asia as method (Chen, 2010); decolonization and globalization (Lin & Martin, 2005); decolonizing research in cross-cultural contexts (Mutua & Swadener, 2004); decolonizing educational research (Patel, 2016); Indigenous research methodologies (Chilisa, 2012); Indigenous methodologies (Kovach, 2009); and methodology of the oppressed (Sandoval, 2000).

Diasporic Imaginaries~Diasporic Futurism~Afrofuturism~Indigenous Futurism

Instead of dwelling on the traditional notion of diaspora as a spatial separation between homeland and host country, Brian Keith Axel (2002) illuminated the analytical concept of the “diasporic imaginary” as a space of imagination which “account[s] for the creation of the diaspora . . . through formations of temporality, affect, and corporeality” (Axel, 2002, p. 412). Building on the notion of diasporic communities as “imagined communities” (Anderson, 1991), in “The Diasporic Imaginary: Theorizing the Indian Diaspora,” Vijay Mishra (1996) established the notion of the “diasporic imaginary” to reinterpret the imaginary as the creation of a shared diasporic space of dreams, imaginations, and visions. The “diasporic imaginary” is interconnected with the “global imaginary” (Steger, 2008) as a consciousness of belonging to a global community of shared ideas and interests. Diasporic imaginaries represent a multiplicity of temporalities, localities, traditions, identities, and subjectivities engendered by shared diasporic experiences, multiple senses of belonging, and multiple processes of becoming (Antonsich, 2010).

Afrofuturism

Afrofuturism and Indigenous futurism help decolonize diasporic imaginaries to center shared diasporic experiences of dispossession, deprivation, oppression, exploitation, violence, exclusion, persecution, and invasion. Afrofuturism (Anderson & Jones, 2016; Dery, 1994; Gipson, 2019; Jackson & Moody-Freeman, 2011; Nelson, 2002; Womack, 2013) is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of history that explores the developing intersection of African diaspora culture with technology. The term was coined by Mark Dery (1994) in Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture. Afrofuturism was further explored in the late 1990s through conversations led by Alondra Nelson (2002) in Afrofuturism. Afrofuturism addresses themes and concerns of the African diaspora through technoculture and science fiction, encompassing a range of media and artists with a shared interest in envisioning Black futures that stem from Afrodiasporic experiences (Gipson, 2019; Jackson & Moody-Freeman, 2011).

In Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness, Reynaldo Anderson and Charles E. Jones (2016) pioneered an Afrofuturistic concept, Astro-Blackness, “to represent the emergence of a black identity framework within global technocultural assemblages, migration, human reproduction, algorithms, digital networks, software platforms, bio-technical augmentation [where] racialized identities are increasingly materialized . . . humans and technics have co-evolved together” (pp. vii–viii). In Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi And Fantasy Culture, Ytasha L. Womack defines Afrofuturism as “an intersection of imagination, technology, the future and liberation” (2013, p. 9). Afrofuturism is the philosophy of science fiction, and history that traverses across African diaspora cultures with technology to explore the African American experience, specifically slavery. As Ingrid LaFleur (2011) elaborates, Afrofuturism is “a way of imagining possible futures through a black cultural lens . . . [It is] a way to encourage experimentation, reimagine identities, and active liberation” (Afrofuturism, September 25, 2011).

Indigenous Futurism

Inspired by Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurism, a term coined by Grace Dillon, refers to a movement consisting of art, literature, comics, games, and other forms of media which express Indigenous perspectives of the future, past, and present in the context of science fiction and related subgenres (Dillon, 2012; also de Ramírez & Lucero, 2009; Lempert, 2014, 2018; Medak-Saltzman, 2017). Such perspectives may reflect Indigenous ways of knowing, traditional stories, historical or contemporary politics, and cultural realities. Like Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurism encapsulates multiple modes of art making from literature to visual arts, fashion, and music. In Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction, Dillon (2012) outlines how science fiction can aid processes of decolonization. Using tools like slipstream, world building, science fiction, and anthropological First Contact scenarios, Indigenous communities construct self-determined representations and alternative narratives about their identities and futures. Indigenous Futurists critique the exclusion of Indigenous people from the contemporary world and challenge notions of what constitutes advanced technology. Indigenous Futurists question the digital divide and recognize that Indigenous peoples have been purposefully excluded in history from accessing media technologies, and exist outside of modernity. The widespread use of personal computers and the Internet following the digital revolution created conditions in which, to some extent, Indigenous peoples may participate in the creation of a network of self-representations.

Diasporic Futurism

Inspired by diasporic imaginaries, particularly Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurism, diasporic futurism is a multicultural, multilingual, and multiracial aesthetic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of history that explores the developing intersection of language, culture, identity, race, gender, class, power, and place in diaspora with technology. Diasporic futurism addresses themes and concerns of the multicultural, multilingual, and multiracial aesthetic diaspora through technoculture and science fiction, encompassing a range of media and artists with shared interests in envisioning alternative futures that stem from diasporic experiences. Such alternative futures shatter white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and settler colonialism that perpetuate an emboldened hatred of the difference of minoritized communities.

Diaspora Curriculum Imagination in Hard Times

Diaspora curriculum, with its epistemological similarity to exile pedagogy/exile curriculum (He, 2010, 2018), is interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and counterdisciplinary. Diaspora curriculum is international, transnational, and counternational. Diaspora curriculum, with its interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and counterdisciplinarity, thrives with diverse paradigms, perspectives, and possibilities (Schubert, 1986), and demands multiple understandings toward commonplaces (teachers, learners, subject matters, and milieu) (Schwab, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1983) in diverse contexts (Connelly et al., 2008). The breadth, diversity, and complexity of diaspora curriculum and its practical relevance are central to a wide array of educational thoughts reflected in contested theories, practices, and contexts.

In addition to its breadth, diversity, and complexity, another illuminating aspect of diaspora curriculum is its evolving diasporic imaginaries (e.g., Axel, 2002), where we can keep our hopes and dreams alive in hard times when white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and settler colonialism are perpetuated by hatred of differences (He & Yu, 2017; Hill, 2016; Matias & Newlove, 2017; Ngo & Lee, 2019). Amidst hate marches, mass shootings, anti-Black and anti-Asian racism, and immigration concentration camps in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we, as curriculum workers, can easily be engulfed in hopelessness and powerlessness. Such diaspora curriculum imagination invents diaspora imaginaries (e.g., Axel, 2002) and diasporic futurities that cultivate radical possibilities (Anderson & Jones, 2016; Anyon, 2005; Womack, 2013) and radical imagination (Freire, 2007; Giroux, 2007; Greene, 1995; Jackson & Moody-Freeman, 2011; Kelley, 2002; Lake, 2013; Mills, 1959; Olson & Worsham, 2007). Such diaspora curriculum imagination exhilarates diasporic consciousness and diaspora space for dialogue on and action upon educating hope (Harvey, 2000), radicalizing imagination, and politicizing possibility (Anderson & Jones, 2016; Olson & Worsham, 2007) without giving up the world where we live. Such diasporic futurities invigorate diasporic consciousness that evokes “different histories and different futures” (Giroux, 2017, p. xiii) and cultivates radical love so that we “could find the strength, faith, and humility to establish solidarity and struggle together to transform the oppressive ideologies and practices” (Darder, 2017, p. 80) to fight against all forms of oppression. Such diaspora curriculum imagination inspires “optimism over despair” (Chomsky, 2017), love over hatred (King Jr., 1963), and possibilities over impossibilities (Ayers, 2016; Darder, 2017; hooks, 2000).

Such diaspora curriculum imagination inspires us to invent creative strategies to teach, research, and live toward freedom and social justice in troubling times (e.g., Asante, 2017; Ayers, 2004, 2006; Bae-Dimitriaidis, 2017, 2020; Baszile et al., 2016; Bell, 1992; Coates, 2008, 2015; Delgado & Stefancic, 1997; He et al., 2015; Hill, 2009, 2016; hooks, 1994; King, 2015; Matias, 2016, 2020; Nettles, 2012; Ngo, 2010; Sharma, 2013, 2016; Solórzano & Yosso, 2002, 2009; Stovall, 2016; Tatum, 2009, 2013; Tuck, 2012; Urrieta, 2010; Urrieta & Noblit, 2018; Valenzuela, 1999; Walker, 1983). Such diaspora curriculum imagination continuously encourages us to cultivate “solidarity, integrity, and humility” (Stovall, 2016, p. 54), to counter authoritarian and dominant narratives, and to transgress orthodoxies and bureaucratic procedures (e.g., Archibald, 2008; Archibald et al., 2019; Bae-Dimitriaidis, 2020; Chilisa, 2012; Delgado, 1989; Dillard, 2000, 2012; hooks, 1994; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 2006; Love, 2019; Lynn & Dixson, 2013; Maparyan, 2012; Morris, 2008; Morrison, 1993; Oliveira & Wright, 2016; Paris & Winn, 2014; Parker et al., 1999; Phillips, 2006; Sandoval, 2000; Tate, 2008, 2012; Tuck, 2009; Tuhiwai Smith, 1999; Tuhiwai Smith et al., 2018; Twine & Warren, 2000; Tyson, 1998; Walker, 1997; Watkins, 2005; West, 1993; Wilson, 2008; Woodson, 1933).

Such diaspora curriculum imagination enables us to build up courage to voluntarily exile ourselves (He, 2010) from commodified (Illich, 1970), acquisitive (Dewey, 1933; Schubert, 2009a), and deskilling societies (Apple, 1986); to make the impossible possible (Ayers, 2016); to keep the boundless human potential evolving (Nussbaum, 1997; Schubert, 2009b; Siddle-Walker, 1996); to create “more equitable and just public spheres within and outside of educational institutions” (Mohanty, 1989, p. 207); to build better human conditions in-between contradictions and complexities; and to passionately participate in the life of schools, families, and communities.

Such diaspora curriculum imagination invents diasporic space for curriculum workers with shared experience to work together as allies, take to heart the predicaments of the oppressed, suppressed, and repressed individuals and groups, and develop ideas, languages, and strategies to enact positive educational and social change that fosters equity, equality, freedom, and social justice. Such diaspora curriculum imagination invigorates diasporic space for “imagined communities” (Bhabha, 1994, p. 5) where curriculum workers work with other educational workers such as researchers, educators, teachers, administrators, parents, students, community workers, and policy makers to heal the soul of humanity and planet with “shared principles and visions” for “desirable collective futures” in “a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and fragility” (UNESCO, 2020, pp. 2–5).

Further Readings

  • Anderson, B. (1991). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. Verso.
  • Anderson, R., & Jones, C. E. (Eds.). (2016). Afrofuturism 2.0: The rise of Astro-Blackness. Lexington Books.
  • Anzalduá, G. (1987). Borderlands/La frontera: The new mestiza. Spinsters/Aunt Lute.
  • Bauböck, R., & Faist, T. (Eds.) (2010). Diaspora and transnationalism: Concepts, theories and methods. Amsterdam University Press.
  • Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The location of culture. Routledge.
  • brah, a. (1996). Cartographies of diaspora: Contesting identities. Routledge.
  • Braziel, J. E., & Mannur, A. (Eds.). (2003). Theorizing diaspora. Blackwell.
  • Clifford, J. (1997). Routes: Travel and translation in the late twentieth century. Harvard University Press.
  • De Kosnik, A., & Feldman, K. P. (Eds.). (2019). #identity: Hashtagging race, gender, sexuality, and nation. University of Michigan Press.
  • Dei, G. J. S., & Lordan, M. (Eds.). (2016). Anti-colonial theory and decolonial praxis. Peter Lang.
  • Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (Eds.). (2000). Critical race theory: The cutting edge. Temple University Press.
  • Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2001). Critical race theory. New York University Press.
  • Dillon, G. L. (Ed.). (2012). Walking the clouds: An anthology of Indigenous science fiction. University of Arizona Press.
  • Figueroa-Vásquez, Y. C. (2020). Decolonizing diasporas: Radical mappings of Afro-Atlantic literature. Northwestern University Press.
  • Gilroy, P. (1993). The Black Atlantic: Modernity and double consciousness. Harvard University Press.
  • Hall, S., & Morley, D. (Ed.) (2019). Essential essays (vols 1 & 2). Duke University Press.
  • Harvey, D. (2000). Spaces of hope. University of California Press.
  • He, M. F., Schultz, B. D., & Schubert, W. H. (Eds.) (2015). The Sage guide to curriculum in education. SAGE.
  • Jackson, S., & Moody-Freeman. J. E. (Eds.). (2011). The Black imagination: Science fiction, futurism and the speculative. Peter Lang.
  • King, J. E. (2015). Dysconscious racism, Afrocentric praxis, and education for human freedom: Through the years I keep on toiling: The selected work of Joyce E. King. Routledge.
  • Mishra, V. (2007). The literature of the Indian diaspora: Theorizing the diasporic imaginary. Routledge.
  • Mohanty, C. T. (2003). Feminism without borders: Decolonizing theory, practicing solidarity. Duke University Press.
  • Naficy, H. (1993). The making of exile cultures: Iranian television in Los Angeles. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Royster, P. D. (2020). Decolonizing arts-based methodologies: Researching the African diaspora (Arts, Creativities, and Learning Environments in Global Perspectives). Brill/Sense.
  • Saïd, E. W. (2003). Reflections on exile and other essays (4th ed., Convergences: Inventories of the Present). Harvard University Press.
  • Sandlin, J. A., Schultz, B. D., & Burdick, J. (2010). Handbook of public pedagogy: Education and learning beyond schooling. Routledge.
  • Stovall, D. O. (2016). Born out of struggle: Critical race theory, school creation, and the politics of interruption. State University of New York Press.
  • Soja, E. W. (1996). Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and other real-and-imagined places. Blackwell.
  • Tuhiwai Smith, L. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Zed Books.
  • Womack, Y. L. (2013). Afrofuturism: The world of Black sci-fi and fantasy culture. Lawrence Hill Books.

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