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African DiasporaDefining Diasporas, African Dispersals, African Diasporas In Asia And Europe, The Atlantic Diasporas, The New African Diasporas

The African diaspora, together with the Jewish diaspora—the etymological and epistemological source of the term diaspora—enjoys pride of place in the increasingly crowded pantheon of diaspora studies. Studies of African diasporas can be divided into two broad categories. First, there are those that discuss the patterns of dispersal of African peoples around the world and the kinds of diasporic identities these populations developed in their new locations. Distinctions are increasingly drawn between the "historic" and "contemporary" or "new" African diasporas, referring respectively to diasporas formed before and during the twentieth century. Second, some studies are concerned with analyzing the various linkages that the diasporas have maintained with Africa. Here emphasis is on the demographic, cultural, economic, political, ideological, and iconographic flows.

The term African diaspora gained currency from the 1950s and 1960s in the English-speaking world, especially the United States. As pointed out by George Shepperson, none of the major intellectual forerunners of African diaspora studies, from Edward Blyden (1832–1912), the influential nineteenth-century Caribbean-born Liberian thinker, to W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963), the renowned African-American scholar-activist, used the term African diaspora. The Negritude writers from Francophone Africa and the Caribbean also did not use it. Instead, the term used to define and mobilize African populations globally was Pan-Africanism. One of the challenges in African diaspora studies, then, has been to overcome an American and English language-centered model of identity for African diasporas globally.

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