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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Transnationalism, Diaspora, and the Eritrean Global Village

Victoria Bernal.

: Many scholars have seen globalization and transnationalism as ushering in a new post-national era. The new nation of Eritrea serves as an example which suggests that transnationalism does not necessarily operate in opposition to nationalism but can at times work to reinforce it. Eritreans in diaspora helped to liberate Eritrea from Ethiopia and continue to participate in the economics and politics of Eritrea in significant ways. Official constructions of Eritrean citizenship and the national community take this into account in surprising ways. This essay explores the relation between nationalism and transnationalism in constructions of Eritrean nationhood, seeking to reveal how and why nationalism and the nation-state remain significant for Eritreans not only despite global linkages, but because of them. Situating this study of nationalism in the realm of the transnational has required me to shift frequently between a consideration of the ways in which Eritreans located in Eritrea, particularly the nationalist movement and the eventual Eritrean state use and even construct transnational relations to achieve nationalist ends, and a consideration of the ways in which Eritreans in diaspora construct nationalism and participate in Eritrean affairs from their transnational locations.


Victoria Bernal  (United States)

Department of Anthropology
University of California

  • Diaspora
  • Cyberspace
  • Nationalism
  • Transnationalism

(30 min Conference Paper, English)