Community College Workshop Examines Concept of Diaspora

On February 5, the Cornell-SU South Asia consortium and the Cornell’s Southeast Asia Program held “Cultural Flows in Space and Time: Reimagining Asian Diaspora,” a workshop for community college faculty at Cornell University. This workshop provided community college faculty to engage with and incorporate ideas of diaspora and cultural flows into their teaching and research. In particular, the workshop theme sought to challenge traditional spatial definitions of diaspora, which often fail to take into account temporality and cultural flows that develop, often anachronistically, alongside or independent from diaspora. 

Workshop participants heard three presentations that considered diaspora in different ways, and they had the opportunity to discuss cultural flows across Asia and their diasporic connections through time and space. The workshop included opening remarks by Eric Tagliacozzo, Professor of History at Cornell, and presentations by Cornell’s Southeast Asia Program Director Kaya McGowan, Senior Lecturer in Music at Cornell, Christopher J. Miller, and SAC faculty member, Joanne Punzo Waghorne. Joanne discussed her work in Singapore and how the practice of guru-centered Hinduism movements creates new spaces and places of religiosity. 

The workshop included faculty from nine community colleges, including Onondaga Community College, and from SUNY Cortland. The feedback from the faculty members who attended commented on the way the speakers helped them think about issues of cultural flows and migration of ideas in new ways. This workshop continues the South Asia Consortium’s ongoing collaboration with community colleges with the goal of internationalizing the curriculum.