SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Diaspora, Education and the Cosmopolitan Project

Dr Reza Gholami (Middlesex University)

Date: 17 February 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 17 February 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G52

Type of Event: Seminar

Based on the premise that ‘diasporic living is necessarily diasporic praxis’ (Gholami in press), and drawing on recent data from the UK Iranian diaspora, this paper explores the role that British-Iranian organizations, particularly ‘supplementary’ schools, (can) play in processes of cosmopolitanization. The paper contributes to recent literature on diasporas as agents of global cooperation and argues that a particular type of interaction between diasporic organizations and host-nation ones opens up a ‘sweet spot’ – a space of praxis neither fully controlled by the diaspora nor by the nation-state – in which the ‘cultural excess’ of both the diaspora and the nation-state become ‘stripped away’, leaving the potential for more cosmopolitan practices and discourses. These processes are best exemplified by what I refer to as ‘diasporic education’ and ‘diasporic pedagogy’, which also provide concrete tools for cosmopolitanization. A more radical implication of my argument is that ‘being diasporic’ is not merely about asserting and living a diasporic identity – and perhaps it should not be studied and theorized as such. Rather, being diasporic, which is a ‘normal’ and constant feature of human life, is potentially the most potent tool and logic available for gradually undoing hegemonies and essentialisms at both diasporic and national levels as we move towards a cosmopolitan future.

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Dr Reza Gholami Diaspora, Education and the Cosmopolitan Project

About the speaker

Dr Reza Gholami is Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Education at Middlesex University, London, and Visiting Research Associate at the UCL Institute of Education. Reza has published on diasporic secularism, religious identity and citizenship education. His book Secularism and Identity: Non-Islamiosity in the Iranian Diaspora was published by Ashgate in April 2015.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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