Lia T. Bascomb, Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies, is an interdisciplinary scholar of African diaspora studies. Her scholarly interests focus on representations and performances of nation, gender, and sexuality across the African diaspora with an emphasis on the Anglophone Caribbean. After recently publishing In Plenty and in Time of Need: Popular Culture and the Remapping of Barbadian Identity, Bascomb is at work on a number of new projects. Her next book project, tentatively titled Finding Home, Repeated Longings, explores the relationship between land ownership and diasporic belonging by tracing the history of one plot of family land and the migrations and returns of the family who has owned it. It examines how the seeming permanence of land can be shaped by the pulls of migration and return, and how migrants do and do not become part of new communities. The book uses historical archives, anthropological inquiry, and literary analysis of Caribbean literature to examine the ways in which land ownership has shaped African diasporic populations; how it has gendered power roles, national belonging, and diasporic longing; and how, through fiction, its role in migrants’ lives has provided new imaginaries of personal and collective freedom. Further research for this book will be funded by the Provost’s Faculty Research Fellowship. As international conflicts around migration and national belonging continue in the twenty-first century, a study that focuses on the how, why, and who of diasporic settlement is timely and can further understandings and definitions of what it means to belong. The main research question of the project is: When populations and individuals move, migrate, or are displaced, who has the right to attempt to settle and who must keep searching for a place to call home?
Dr. Lia T. Bascomb