Riches and Belonging: Global Diasporas in the 20th Century Pt. I

Freitag, 7. Juni
11:15 bis 12:45 Uhr

The relationship between (the absence of) riches and belonging in global diasporas in the 20th century will be the overarching theme of the two proposed panels. The panels will try to shed new light on how flows of money, knowledge, and ideas of (self-) status affected senses of belonging, discourses of legitimacy, and notions of citizenship in different colonial, crypto-colonial, non-colonial and post-colonial contexts.

The two panels will bring together historians working with different regional foci and will take into consideration the often-problematic triadic connections between diaspora communities, host societies/states and the societies/states in their region of origin. In particular, the main aspects that the panels intend to analyze are:

1) The role of poverty and wealth as qualifying or disqualifying factors to determine inclusion in and belonging to a polity

2) The increasing attention paid to the economic potential of diasporas/migrant communities and the efforts to appropriate them in order to generate national wealth

3) The elaboration of developmental economic policies aimed at generating discourses of legitimacy and entitlement for migrant communities in a host society

More specifically, in the first panel, the paper by Dario Willi will follow the global trajectories of a 19th century large inheritance. Adopting a transregional perspective, it will consider capital as a quasi-actor and as a catalyst for conceptions of wealth and community during the “long nineteenth century”. The paper by Martin Dusinberre will look at how, in the first half of the 20th century, imperial Japan appropriated the impoverished migrants of its Pacific diaspora as they were increasingly seen as instrumental in enriching the nation. Finally, Harald Fischer-Tiné’s paper will consider the 1914 voyage of the Japanese steamship Komagata-maru to Vancouver, turned back by the Govt. of Canada with 350 British Indian passengers. This episode provides a significant case of precedence for the discrimination against migrants on the basis of their economic status which debunked the inclusivist discourse of imperial citizenship as mere rhetoric.

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