What is the meaning of Diaspora?. Discuss why is it important for contemporary historian to understand the phenomenon?

Expert Answers
kateanswers eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Diaspora is the dispersal of a group of people from their original homeland. It may refer to the event of travel outside the homeland, and/or the act of settling in a new location. It is different from immigration in that it involves a specific ethnic or cultural group leaving their homeland on a mass scale, to the point that these people may no longer occupy the homeland as a majority.

As historians, we most commonly use the term "diaspora" to refer to the dispersion of Jewish people outside of Israel, and their experience of settling (or not) in another nation. There has been a shift towards talking about diaspora of cultural groups other than Jewish people, but this is the popular, historical usage.

It is important to understand both the cause and effects of a diaspora. For example, a majority of the Jewish populations were pushed out of Israel and Palestine beginning with the Babylonian conquests of the 6th century, BCE. Not only does such mass-migration remove a cultural presence from an area, it creates a cultural presence in the areas settled. In these new settled areas, identity takes on multiplicity and there is often a blending of cultures.

Today, a diaspora is occurring as much of the population of Syria is being uprooted from their homeland and these people are moving into other nations. 

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question