The twenty-first century promises increasing movement–both voluntary and forced–of people from their natal homelands. This rapid diffusion of people, ideas, and practices poses enormous challenges: for managing populations, for creating political communities, and for thinking about the resulting mazes of social relations in an increasingly global world.
The June 2008 Diaspora and Cosmopolitanism conference organized by UW-Madison Prof. Tejumola Olaniyan (African Languages and Literature, English) engaged leading international researchers on current debates on discourses and practices of diaspora and cosmpolitanism. The event deepened UW-Madison’s global engagement through the WUN Colonial and Postcolonial Studies network. In addition to UW Madison members, participants at the conference came from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Leeds University, Bristol University , the University of Sheffield, the University of Toronto, and York University. According to Olaniyan, future plans for the international research collaborative include satellite hook-up videoconference seminars, faculty and student exchanges, and collaborative book publications. The event received additional support from WUN, the Chancellor’s Office, the Anonymous Fund, and the African Studies Program.