2020-2021 Diaspora and Transnational Studies: Topic Courses

DTS301H5S: Topics in Diaspora and Transnational Studies: New Argonauts or Golden Fleece?: The Age of Diaspora Capitalism (J. Braun)

Diaspora capitalism refers to the mobilization of diasporas as mechanisms of capital accumulation in the nation of origin. Especially in the global south, states and businesses are institutionalizing the economic participation of through remittances, diaspora bonds, diaspora direct investment (DDI), entrepreneurship and youth mentorship. Through these efforts, migrants and diaspora community are commonly celebrated as heroic agents of development, “the new Argonauts” in AnaLee Saxenian’s popular formulation.  But the zeal to harness diaspora as a national resource also implicitly constructs diasporans as a prized object for development, the mythical “Golden Fleece.” This course critically examines the emergence and proliferation of diaspora capitalism as a phenomenon.  We begin by examining migrants’ economic lives and activities across borders, then discuss the formalization of economic participation through states, banks and other institutions. What explains the global turn towards diaspora as a resource for global south development?  How does diaspora capitalism reconceptualize the relationship between (trans)national belonging and economic participation?  What are the social and political ramifications of recasting diaspora as a national economic resource?


DTS401H5S: Advanced Topics in Diaspora and Transnational Studies: Waves: East Asian Popular Culture and Transnationalism  (E. Yasui)

Pop culture has become recognized as more than frivolous entertainment. The pop culture we are drawn to and consume can have very real influences on our identities, perspectives and sense of belonging or separation. Over the last few decades, East Asian pop culture has seen a global rise in popularity, but why is this happening now and what does it mean for the various groups involved? In this course we will look at pop culture products from Korea, Japan and China to explore transnational production methods, how local products defy borders, and what the availability of East Asian content means for diasporic and transnational people. In addition, we will explore how East Asian pop culture allows us to discuss the complexities of identity, intersectionality, hybridity, nationality and community.