• Carrie Noland
  • Barrett Watten


This volume examines the intersection between two internally heterogeneous communities: poets of the avant-garde and poets of the diaspora. We want to suggest that the two communities share an approach to artistic practice as pertinent to the project of cultural transformation without, however, being interchangeable, or even consistently in harmony with each other’s understandings of how that transformation should take place. The essays collected here strive to define more precisely the type of cultural work both communities are involved in, how they each contribute to a critique of imperialism (racial, economic, aesthetic) and yet diverge from one another at significant points. Diasporic Avant-Gardes was initially conceived as a conference (held at the University of California, Irvine, in 2004), the goal of which was to create dialogue among poets and scholars from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. We have pursued this same goal in the present collection, refusing hasty resolution of the tensions that invariably emerge from such an ambitious project, while finding inspiration in the commitment of our contributors to establishing some common ground. Jean-Pierre Bobillot, an experimental French sound poet, sums up the reaction of many of the poets who contributed to the exchange, poets who agreed to participate without necessarily knowing well the work of the others involved.


Social Formation Cultural Meaning Cultural Logic African Diaspora Diasporic Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 2.
    I borrow this definition from the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: On Historical Principles, 5th ed., vol. 1 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002), which itself depends upon Deuteronomy 28:25. The definition goes on to tell us that “diaspora” can refer to “all those Jews who live outside the biblical land of Israel”; or the situation of “any body of people living outside their traditional homeland” (671). An account of how discourses on diaspora have evolved can be found in Michel Bruneau’s Diasporas et espaces transnationaux (Paris: Anthropos, 2004).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
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Copyright information

© Carrie Noland and Barrett Watten 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carrie Noland
  • Barrett Watten

There are no affiliations available

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