Entered by Leong Yew
The Dictionary of Global Culture
The entry in The Dictionary of Global Culture starts with
two senses of the word. In its original use it referred to the process
by which the Jews were exiled from their homeland, while in more
recent times, it refers to the Jewish people residing outside Israel.
Diaspora is often associated with Zionism, which is the belief in
the Jews' legitimate claim to a homeland (Palestine). Historically,
the Diaspora has undergone different phases, the first significant
one occuring in 586 BCE when the Babylonians conquered Judah, leading
to the enslavement of the Jews. The largest Diaspora, which occured
during the first century BCE and lasted for 1800 years, led to the
displacement of 5 million Jews. The numerous Diasporas that have
taken place did not necessarily lead to Jews returning to Palestine
even after the initial cause of the exile had disappeared.
- Appiah, Kwame Anthony and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds. The
Dictionary of Global Culture. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.