Spring 2018 Programme


The Emigrants,  William Allsworth (c 1811 – 1861 – 1866), Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

.24 January:     Alley Jordan (University of Edinburgh)

“Beautiful shells from the shore” Thomas Jefferson’s Sacred Grotto of 1771

Alley  looks at evocations of the seascape in 18th-century gardens which took hold in Great Britain mid-century. She addresses Diaspora in its classical Greek sense –meaning to ‘scatter’ – and investigates how the American statesman, Thomas Jefferson, embraced the European fashions of water in his Virginian estate. Alley outstrips Jefferson’s strict figure of statecraft by exploring the inspirations behind his aquatic garden. She argues that Jefferson’s greater engagement with classicism in the Enlightenment demonstrates how the scattering of ideas from abroad influenced America’s founding fathers.

7 February:    Gintare Venzlauskaite, (University of Glasgow)

From Post-War West to Post-soviet east: Manifestations of Displacement, Collective Memory, and Lithuanian Diasporic Experience Revisited

Gintare considers WWII displacements from Lithuania.  To what extent did they have an effect on the country’s memory landscape? By providing a retrospective view of discursive patterns regarding population losses and their role in national identity construction, this study travels across the US and Russia where a significant part of these losses has been transformed into diasporic communities and their networks.

28 February:  Devin Grier ( University of Edinburgh)

Assessing the Resourcefulness of Scottish Immigrants during California’s Gold Rush: San Francisco and Sacramento, 1850-1860.

Devin takes on the notion of the ‘Canny Scot’ in Gold Rush California. A diasporic people often observed as rational and sceptic, a significant Scottish population in mid nineteenth-century California suggests otherwise. Using data extracted from federal and state census counts, Devin breaks down and analyses the Scottish presence that resided in California during its Gold Rush.

14 March:      Francesca Kaufman (University of Edinburgh)

Ways of Seeing: Chinese rural-urban migration and its representation on film in the 1990s

In the last decade of the twentieth century, a number of filmmakers working on the margins of the state-sponsored cinema industry in the People’s Republic of China engaged with the widespread phenomenon of rural-urban migration in their films.  In her paper, Francesca argues that that the representational modes used to depict migrants in these films construct a way of seeing the rural population which suggests the perception of a diaspora within China’s cities.

The Diaspora Studies Graduate Workshop takes place on Wednesdays at 1-2 pm in G16 in the William Robertson Wing of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology (Doorway 4 of the Old Medical School).  All are very welcome to attend.