Focusing on migration within the global south, Bennett Eason Cross uses the example of the Malian trade diaspora in Lagos to argue that aspects of the original model of the transmigrant were based on labor migrations from global south to global north that are not representative of their south-to-south counterparts. In Long-Distance Nationalism in the Global City: A Cultural History of the Malian Diaspora in Lagos, Nigeria, Cross notes that the cultural and racial differences between migrant communities and their host societies in Europe and the U.S. are often narrower, or even nonexistent, in south-to-south migrations, which shapes different outcomes. As this multi-site case study reveals, however, these differences in outcome can seem counterintuitive, as immigrants in the north typically develop loyalties to both origin and host nations, whereas, among the Malians in Lagos, affinity for the host nation was virtually nonexistent, despite a common regional culture. He complicates the
standard bilateral struggle for belonging between host and origin societies by examining the role of Islam, both as a parallel transnational movement and as a competing localized form. This book analyzes the deep historical structure of each society to explain the Malians' failure to develop the multiple national identities observed in other diasporas.
Bennett Eason Cross is an independent scholar.
Chapter 1: The Historical Context
Chapter 2: The Diaspora: Creation and Evolution, Geography and Commerce
Chapter 3: Life in the Diaspora
Chapter 4: Alien Expulsions: Reframing Diaspora-Host Society Relations
Chapter 5: Conversations at the bin Laden Hotel: Nationalism and Islamic Purity
Chapter 6: The Reimagined Community: Diasporic Feedback
About the Author
"An empirically rich and theoretically insightful account of one of Africa's most dynamic and vital diasporas. This will be an essential text for understanding how economic migrants within Africa negotiate the fraught and shifting boundaries of social belonging."
"Grounded in a deep historical understanding of regional trade diasporas and evocatively brought to life though rigorous, conscientious research—as well as sharp, engaging prose—this book tells a gripping story about Malians moving back and forth between Mali and Lagos, Nigeria. Cross’s research reveals critical dimensions of West African political economy and religion, as well as poignant details about the lives and labor of several intrepid individuals. His book is a compelling read, even as it poses weighty questions about national identities and borders in an ever more transnational world."
"This essential work on Malians in Nigeria illuminates how diasporic communities rework their Islamic faith and national identity in the mega-cities of West Africa. Based on rich scholarly discussions and outstanding ethnographic research, Ben Cross' book reflects on the globalization of African families and documents the spread of Muslim brotherhood and fundamentalist ideologies in urban West Africa."
"This work provides a fascinating and in-depth historical account of the Malian trade diaspora in Lagos Nigeria. Trade diasporas are a major feature of the African economic and cultural landscape, but rarely has someone provided the sort of in-depth historical and nuanced view of an intra-African migration as Cross does here. Cross has sat, shared communal meals, and listened to the communities he studies and brings that to us in a clean and cogent text. Reading this work, Cross brings us back in time and transports us into the Malian community of Lagos as though we’re sitting in the courtyard of our jatigi sipping tea and imbibing this cross-national African culture at its inception. Part of Cross’ gift in this book is that he provides a theoretical framework to understand what he has learned around the communal bowl of peanut stew. This work’s careful study of historical context from interviews and archival work contributes to a more nuanced understanding of political Islam, migration, and globalization, as they relate to intra-African migration and trade diasporas."