Diaspora and Hybridity

New Book

Diaspora and Hybridity

Authored by:

Virinder Kalra Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, UK
Raminder Kaur University of Sussex
John Hutnyk Goldsmiths College, University of London

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What do we mean by ‘diaspora’ and ‘hybridity’? Why are they pivotal concepts in contemporary debates on race, culture and society?

This book is an exhaustive, politically inflected, assessment of the key debates on diaspora and hybridity. It relates the topics to contemporary social struggles and cultural contexts, providing the reader with a framework to evaluate and displace the key ideological arguments, theories and narratives deployed in culturalist academic circles today. The authors demonstrate how diaspora and hybridity serve as problematic tools, cutting across traditional boundaries of nations and groups, where trans-national spaces for a range of contested cultural, political and economic outcomes might arise.

Wide ranging, richly illustrated and challenging, it will be of interest to students of cultural studies, sociology, ethnicity and nationalism.

Hybridity – Elements of a Theory

Hybridity – Elements of a Theory – Roger Clarke.


Pages Prepared as Background Information for an Invited Presentation to the Ars Electronica 2005 Symposium on Hybrid – Living in Paradox, Linz, Austria, 2-3 September 2005

“In both cases, over time, assimilation occurs, and both the newcomer and the host adapt, resulting in one or more hybrid cultural forms; and in both cases cultural and perhaps authority relationships remain with the newcomer’s origins, and perhaps with other outposts, resulting in diaspora, and hence additional sources of cross-and retro-fertilisation (e.g. Kalra V., Kahlon R.K. & Hutnyk J. (2005) ‘Diaspora and Hybridity’ Sage, September 2005).”

The Dialectics of Euro-Asian Hip-Hop

Its a ways off, but I have just agreed to give a talk at Royal Hollaway in May (9th). The details to go into their brochure sent off today are…

The Dialectics of Euro-Asian Hip-Hop: Hybridity, Creativity, and Nations at War.

My recent work takes into account debates about the provenance of hip-hop in Europe. It examines instances of two ‘British Asian’ bands creative engagement with, and destabilisation of, music genres, and takes a broadly culture critique perspective as a guide to rethinking hip-hop journalism. The bands are Asian Dub Foundation and Funˆdaˆmental. Music and ethnicity are the core parameters for discussion, and the idea that musical cultures are variously authentic, possessive or coherent is questioned. The usefulness of academic theories about hybridity (or not) in the face of the war of terror is the wider context.

John Hutnyk is a Reader in Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College. John.Hutnyk@gold.ac.uk. Recent books include Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies (Pluto 2004) and Hybridity and Diaspora co-written with V.Kalra and R.Kaur (Sage/TCS 2005).

Relevant pre-seminar reading…

1996 Dis-orienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music
(co-edited with Sanjay Sharma and Ashwani Sharma). Zed Books, London.
Intro, Chapter 2, last chapter.

1998 ‘Adorno at Womad: South Asian Crossovers and the Limits of Hybridity-talk’ Postcolonial Studies, 1(3):401-426.

2000 Critique of Exotica: Music, Politics and the Culture Industry
(London: Pluto Press)
Intro, chapter 4

2000 ‘Music for Euro-Maoists: On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among Popstars’ in Theory Culture and Society 17(3):141-163


Adventures of the Multitude:

Adventures of the Multitude:
Response of the Authors

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

Michael Hardt and Toni Negri’s reply to the Rethinking marxism issue on Empire…
“…By privileging the hegemonic forms and figures of labor at the center of the productive machine, these authors continue, we are still using a Eurocentric model of civilization. Rabasa, Moore, and Hutnyk are among those who raise this critique of both immaterial labor and the Eurocentrism that this implies. This is an important issue…”

RETHINKING MARXISM Volumie 13, Number 3/4 (Fall/Winter 2001)


PUBLICity is an experiment for through which, in a kind of Zamizdat publishing style, a journal (Left Curve – May issue 29/2005 – http://www.leftcurve.org/) can bring varied examples of writing to attention so as to publicize aspects of global public life. The idea was to supplement our efforts with attention to things that may or may not have registered notice previously in the usual academic forums. Somewhat circular in intention and execution then, the Zamizdat style papers over the cracks in an uneven but dynamic global public sphere – this is an effort to pick up on what has been missed, to learn lessons from events that have not yet been covered, to renew our curiosity by exploring the gaps and venturing over new terrains. What may seem an eclectic kaleidoscope of pieces – diverse, short, writerly, interventions and reports – is meant to bring examples of planetary publicity into focus where perhaps social science has often been rather more parochial, or unable to comment with a rapid enough response. The section bypasses the usual referee process of the journal so as to comment on contingency now, rather than in the year or more structured by the necessary delays and relays of scholarly publishing. We are interested to tamper with the ways knowledge production might lag behind a thinking on the move that trawls through the detritus of urban life for evidence, rumours, trinkets and news that we will then take seriously and consider as the luminous and revealing produce of our times.

Unilaterally, the section editor sought a diversity of writing in terms of content, location, orientation and intention – always aiming to make more visible, and to think more creatively, through issues and concerns that might otherwise be missed, might be buried in the conventions or reportage, or be passed over without murmur. I’d like to think the kaleidoscopic here is a viewfinder for the souvenirs of global public culture. A prism house of language (giving publicity/mainstreaming news). Our contributions are from a wide range of places, angles and come in varied styles. The choice of topics and authors is not neutral, indeed the selections are structured by personal choice and evaluation (rather than by dictatorship of the secretariat), and though some effort was made to mix known authors with unfamiliar topics, or to juxtapose pieces in implicit dialogues of content and tone, any unity of format remains accidental. How should you read this section? Perhaps we could imagine that the articles are meant to work through curious correspondences as a kind of planetary arcades project (still awaiting its Benjamin) through which the readerly flaneur may browse. The section will morph and mutate as it grows, feedback is welcome.

Suggestions for topics to be covered from potential authors should, in the first instance, be sent to John Hutnyk at John.Hutnyk@gold.ac.uk by Nov 1st, 2006. Usual length will be approx 1000 words. In the section published in the current issue individual authors are identified, where appropriate, by name, city and email address to encourage correspondence.


New internationalist Rumour Notice

The Rumour of Calcutta:
Tourism, Charity and the Poverty of Representation

‘…. John Hutnyk, in his fascinating study of Western interpretations of Calcutta, attempts to excavate the city from under the layers of accreted prejudices. He shows convincingly how, even before the traveller arrives, the reputation of Calcutta has laid down a sediment of ideas that acts as a modifier on subsequent experiences….’

History without Warranty

Goldsmiths Centre for Cultural Studies MA and phD students run a Seminar Programme and have invited Saurabh Dube to speak. He’s responsible for keeping me up talking late last night, and I guess this will happen a few more times over the next week as he is an old comrade I’ve known for many years (since we met in Germany in 1997). Check out his book Stitches On Time. Talk details below. (Hi Ishita)

From Maude…

The first session of SEPRO will be held in MB350 at 3 PM on
Monday September 26th.

“History without Warranty: Questions of Modernity, Colony, and the Post-colony” by Saurabh Dube

This talk will explore issues of power and difference in relation to the colonial and the postcolonial, nation and modernity, each understood as concept and entity.

Saurabh Dube is Professor of History at the Center for Asian and African Studies at El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. His authored books include Stitches on Time: Colonial Textures and Postcolonial Tangles (2004), Untouchable Pasts (1998), as well as a trilogy in historical anthropology in the Spanish language. Among his edited volumes are Postcolonial Passages (2004) and Enduring Enchantments (2002).

Hope to see you there!