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The Canadian Centre for German and European Studies
CCGES > Current Projects > Asian Diasporic Communities in Canada and Germany

Asian Diasporic Communities in Canada and Germany

“Asian Diasporic Communities in Canada and Germany:  Theorizing the Poltics of Secularism Across Disciplinary Boundaries” explores the relevance of theoretical frameworks developed in Canada and the US for the study of Asian communities in Germany. Such an analysis of Asian German subjectivity and cultural production constitutes a lacuna in German-based research, since disciplines such as Germanistik have been reluctant to admit minority writers to the canon of German literature. Conversely, German scholarship on South Asia has tended to neglect South Asian German cultural production by focusing on non-diasporic voices. In such an investigation of Asian diasporic voices in Germany, the question of secularism looms large as Asian communities are often relegated, in public discussion, to spaces of an unthinking religiosity and forms of premodernity. The project explores the pitfalls of such public discussions, as well as Asian diasporic subjects’ resistances to such theoretical formations. Using the Canadian framework as a model and examining how Asian diasporic communities in Canada have been given both cultural recognition and social and political access, we seek to explore future areas of research in the study of Asian German culture. The project brings together a German and a Canadian-based scholar working in the fields of sociology and North American Asian diasporic literature in order to consider pathways towards a more transnational, transdisciplinary approach to Asian German cultures and communities. On an interdisciplinary level, we seek to examine Asian German historical subjectivity and contemporary presence in Germany by focusing on various formats such as literature and documentary film.

Research Director: Prof. Michael Nijhawan, Sociology, York and CCGES and Mita Banerjee, Nordamerikastudien, University of Siegen