Do You Have to Have a Home to Leave?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay draws on diaspora theory’s longstanding focus on inheritance and generational prerogative in order to theorize the interdisciplinary identity of the South Asianist as the product of “reverse migration.” It proceeds from my own example: trained in interdisciplinary Literature and Rhetoric, I now work in a traditional discipline, English, as a scholar of South Asian Anglophone literature. My journey is contextualized as part of a larger, generationally-specific movement from interdisciplines into disciplines. Until recently, the typical trajectory was for a scholar to be trained in a traditional discipline like English, Philosophy, and History, and then leave to either found or take up residence in a program in Ethnic Studies, Area Studies, or Cultural Studies. The institutionalization of interdisciplines means that scholars of my generation made the opposite move. This essay challenges a longstanding, tacit consensus about earned, as opposed to inherited, interdisciplinarity. It reconceives interdisciplinarity as a mode of intellectual formation that confers a specific identity on student-scholars, who are then positioned to make interventions and contributions to the ongoing project of interdisciplinary field constitution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-142
Number of pages18
JournalSouth Asian Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • diaspora
  • English
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • reverse migration
  • South Asian Studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Cultural Studies
  • Gender Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Do You Have to Have a Home to Leave?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this