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The limitations of language and nationality as prime markers of African Diaspora identities in the State of Victoria

Ndhlovu, Finex (2009) The limitations of language and nationality as prime markers of African Diaspora identities in the State of Victoria. African Identities, 7 (1). pp. 17-32. ISSN 1472-5843

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This paper suggests that African migrants in Australia are often seen as a homogenous group of people with very little if any difference among them. The popular line of thinking about who Africans are appears to go like this: because they all look alike (by virtue of the colour of their skin), originate from the same continent (Africa) and are presumed to be speakers of perceived ‘standard’ African languages, then their behaviours, their needs, their attitudes and the things they are capable of doing (or not capable of doing) are the same. Language and country of origin are the two major taxonomies often used to classify different groups of African communities in Australia. The premise of this paper is that defining African identities in terms language and country of origin is defective in the sense that it is mimicry of identity categories invented by colonial and postcolonial regimes in Africa. Such generic terms as ‘African migrants’, ‘Sudanese refugees’, ‘Ethiopian community’, ‘Amharic community’, ‘Swahili speakers’, ‘Dinka community’, etc., are not exhaustive and precise enough because they overshadow more salient micro‐level forms of diversity within what are presumed to be homogenous groups of people.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ResPubID16961, African diaspora, African Australians, African languages, African refugees, nationality, constructed identities
Subjects: Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
FOR Classification > 2004 Linguistics
SEO Classification > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Depositing User: VUIR
Date Deposited: 01 May 2012 02:32
Last Modified: 01 May 2012 02:32
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Citations in Scopus: 8 - View on Scopus

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