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Home, city and diaspora: Anglo–Indian and Chinese attachments to Calcutta

Updated: Sep 18, 2020


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This article is about the city as home for people living in diaspora. We develop two key areas of debate. First, in contrast to research that explores diasporic homes in relation to domestic homemaking and/or the nation as home or ‘homeland’, we consider the city as home in diaspora. Second, building on research on trans- national urbanism, translocality and the importance of the ‘city scale’ in migration studies, we argue that the city is a distinctive location of diasporic dwelling, belonging and attachment. Drawing on interviews with Anglo–Indian and Chinese Calcuttans who live in London and Toronto, we develop the idea of ‘diaspora cities’ to explore the importance of the city as home rather than the nation as ‘homeland’ for many people living in diaspora. This leads to an understanding of the importance of migration and diaspora within cities of departure as well as resettlement, and contributes a distinctively diasporic focus to broader work on comparative urbanism.

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