Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities
2006—2007 Forum on Travel
History, Classical Studies, Religious Studies
The Reverse Diaspora: African Immigrants and the Return Home
Among African immigrants to America, there is a belief, sometimes uttered, sometimes not, that eventually they will return to Africa. Why is there this urge in the African immigrant community to return to their country of birth, to "return home"? How actualized is this urge? Is it some fond yet quixotic longing to return to what was remembered as old and familiar? Or is it the product of a more deep-seated nostalgia, one supplemented by careful planning and serious intent? To answer this question I set out to craft a survey in which the questions, and answers, would provide insight into why these immigrants to America, many who are citizens, many who have been in the US for decades, would decide to leave and return to places they departed long ago.