On December 11 2012, Avtar Brah presented: “Multiple Formations of Power: Articulations of Diaspora and Intersectionality.”

Avtar Brah is a professor of sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London with an interest in race, gender and ethnicity. Among her many publications there is Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities (1996) which had an enormous impact on diaspora research. She has edited (with Annie Coombes) Hybridity and Its Discontents: Politics, Science, Culture (2000).



Power is encountered in its multiple modalities, its kaleidoscopic patterns varying according to the socio-cultural and economic circumstances in which diasporic groups find themselves. Factors such as class, racism, gender, ethnicity and sexuality all have intersecting impact on individuals and groups. Yet, on the whole the study of diasporas and intersectionality have taken place in separate arenas. Intersectionality has been a key concept in feminism, for example, yet its importance to diaspora studies is immense. This paper will explore the ways in which together diaspora studies and intersectionality inform each other. It explores how the two articulate to produce new intellectual and political formations. Inter alia, there will be a discussion of ‘difference’ as a connecting theme. There will also be a critical focus on the reach and limitations of intersectionality and its bearing on diaspora.