The academic mission of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies is to establish a hub of excellence that will enhance undergraduate life at the University of Toronto by speaking directly to students’ experiences of migration and diaspora through an interdisciplinary lens drawn from both the social sciences and humanities. The work of the Centre is comparative, qualitative and historically driven as well as providing policy insights on pertinent issues in the world today. Through its activities it aims to become the focus for innovative and important graduate and faculty research within the university and across the world. The Centre adds important dimensions to the university’s national and international reputation, at the same time connecting us to the city of Toronto itself.
Located in the world’s most diverse city, with more than half of all Torontonians born outside of Canada, the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies approaches the city of Toronto as a window onto the world.
Outward facing, with a global perspective, the Centre is an incubator for transnational and diasporic research across the humanities and social sciences. It serves as a connective tissue between otherwise divergent departments and schools while also supporting original research and engaged teaching.
The Centre takes ‘diaspora’ to mean the shifting relations between homelands and host nations from the perspective of those who have moved, whether voluntarily or not. The study of diaspora emphasizes the lived experience of migrant communities whose existence and self-understanding precede and/or exceed national boundaries. Its study necessarily involves awareness that the ability to move has all too often come at the expense of indigenous communities.
‘Transnationalism’ encompasses not just the movement of people but also citizenship, technology, forms of governance, modes of political organization, and market impulses.
To provide an exciting environment for the exploration of these and other issues at various levels of undergraduate teaching, research collaboration, graduate study, cross-faculty dialogue and community and international collaboration, the Centre offers a rich program at the undergraduate and graduate levels and sponsors many lectures, workshops, colloquia and conferences.