August 2010

Dear all,

Being August a vacational month when most of us feel torn between trying to
enjoy a much deserved rest and catching up with overdelayed work, my thoughts have frequently dwelled on the fundamental endeavor we all share as African Americanists and/or Black Diaspora studies researchers and committed anti-racist activists.

These reflections have also been prompted by my recent participation in an Erasmus intensive programme on migration and narration which took place in Poland last month. Over two weeks of intense debate and deeply enriching intellectual exchange on the nature of cultural diasporaization and the diverse articulations to be encountered when comparing diasporas, I have been constantly reminded of Stuart Hall’s insightful comments on the way in which diaspora identities are constantly producing and reproducing themselves anew (“Cultural Identity and Diaspora” 401) and the illusory stability of fixed identities.

And then you get tremendously disheartened when the after-effects of the soccer championship are still keenly felt back in Spain, especially the potentially dangerous legitimation which seems to be at work in certain renewed nationalistic projects gravitating on such (predictable?) notions as national pride and authentic belonging.

More than ever, I have been haunted these days by the metaphor of the Black Atlantic and its subsequent visions and revisions and how to foster radical critiques of hegemonic models of nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc… that effectively challenge the existing status quo and open up new venues for political and social intervention.

Eva Hoffman has taught us an unforgettable lesson on the heartbreaking but also intensely rewarding experience of being lost in translation and code-switching, intimating the need for linguistic and cultural negotiations that are, undoubtedly, part and parcel of our contemporary lives.

May we wish for a productive summer, when we can continue to meditate on these and other crucial issues…

All the best and my warmest greetings from Southern Spain,

Mar Gallego