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About this lecture

Diasporas are not what they used to be. The term was once reserved for a few extraordinary groups that had managed to maintain coherence and commitment to a homeland despite the traumatic dispersion of their forebears. But now it seems that diasporas are springing up everywhere, conjured into existence by states of origin eager either to seize on such commitments, or to engineer them from scratch. The emigrant–homeland relationship underpinning the concept of diaspora has therefore shifted, and in order to understand and explain the nature of diasporas in the modern world, it is now necessary to examine the role of origin states in their formation and persistence. Using new comparative data on 213 countries and territories, alongside some 20 in-depth case studies, this lecture examines how, and more importantly why, states are ‘engaging their diasporas’.

About the speaker

Alan Gamlen is a Lecturer in Human Geography at Victoria University Wellington. He is a political and population geographer, with research interests focusing on human migration, using mixed quantitative and qualitative methods. In addition to ongoing comparative work on diasporas and transnationalism, Dr Gamlen has published and lectured internationally on topics including migration and development, highly skilled migration, global migration governance, international migration data, and methodology in migration studies. He is a Research Associate attached to the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford, and leads the ‘Diasporas and Emigration States’ project which is part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Migration Studies, a new academic journal from Oxford University Press.