bisma iqbal

Credit: Bisma Jay.

What is Diaspora?

I have been an English student for such a long time that I often forget that the lingo I am familiar with may be unfamiliar to others outside my own circle. It was only when a friend pointedly asked me “what the hell is diaspora?” that the inaccessibility of all of my blog’s content slapped me in the face.

Well, diaspora by itself is a loaded and presumptuous term. Wikipedia would suggest that diaspora refers to dispersion, or scattering. Diaspora theorists, on the other hand, would point to concepts of exile, displacement and hybridity (all of which may appear to be foreign terms to a layman). I see diaspora as a space outside of one’s homeland. It’s a loaded term, because although I was born in India, I am a Canadian now. So, in a way, I have two homelands, India and Canada. There are many others who can put a claim onto more than just two “homelands”.

It can be argued that home is where the heart is, however clichéd that sounds. In the case of my blog, “diaspora” is a paradox. It’s a term to be deconstructed at leisure. Definitely not a term to be taken for granted. And since I have had more than one “home” and plan to have many more, I am hoping to have the “diaspora” as my playground.

Why South Asian in the Diaspora?

I never thought of myself as South Asian. That was before I moved to Canada and realized that I was a minority. The fastest growing visible minority in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), mind you. “South Asian,” in this case, is also a term to be deconstructed.

Who am I?

Officially speaking (in third person):

Sanchari Sur is a feminist/anti-racist/sex-positive/genderqueer Canadian who was born in Calcutta, India. Her work has been published in The Feminist Wire, Matrix Magazine, Toronto Lit Up’s The Unpublished City anthology (BookThug, 2017), Arc Poetry Magazine, Humber Literary Review, and elsewhere. She is a 2018 Lambda Literary Fellow, PhD candidate in English at Wilfrid Laurier University, and the curator/host/co-founder of Balderdash Reading Series.

Off the record:

I am a Canadian from Calcutta, India. I left India at the age of 9, and have been meandering in the diaspora since. Currently, I reside in Mississauga, Ontario.

I also write. A lot. Have been since I was 9. I was out of practice for a long time, but in October of 2009, I had a sudden urge to get back in the game (To see a list of published short fiction and poetry, click here).

I also picked up the photography bug in earnest during my four month stint in India at the beginning of 2012. So, don’t be surprised if you stumble across the occasional photography post (To see a list of published photography, click here).

I hold an undergraduate degree in Psychology and English from York University, a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate from University of Toronto, an English M.A. from McMaster University, and am now a doctoral candidate in English at Wilfrid Laurier University.

My research interests (for those who may be interested): Diaspora Literature and Theory, Post-Colonial South Asian Literature, CanLit, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Feminist Theory, Trauma Theory, Disability Theory, Trans Theory, Politics of Storytelling.

The Blog Manifesto:

I solemnly promise that:

*I shall post every month.*

*I shall NOT write about my work or my co-workers.* Because it’s evil. And tempting. And I could lose my job.

*I shall NOT write about my mundane daily life.* Because that would be unfair to readers. And, totally cliché too (take note, fellow newbie bloggers), unless of course, it has some direct relevance to the topic I am bent on exploring.

And, finally, *I shall post interesting interviews or events that I conduct or cover.* Because who doesn’t like to be famous for having rubbed shoulders with the famous?

Follow me on Twitter @sanchari_sur for instant updates of my articles and blog posts, or drop me a line at sur [dot] sanchari [at] gmail [dot] com.

I will take on suggestions/comments/feedback/criticism/praise(?) in unequal doses.


Fashion Blog (2014 – 2015): FashUnFauxPas

Balderdash Reading Series (Jan 2017 – present)

The Lady and the Beard (short story collection in progress)

Blood Red Sky (novel in progress).