AADS Works in Progress Series

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Venue:FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus, LC 110

Dr. Caroline Faria, Global and Sociocultural Studies

This paper considers contemporary re-scalings of citizenship through an analysis of South Sudanese diasporic new medias. Focusing on the rise of one controversial and popular political listserv, I draw on a mix of textual analysis and in-depth interviews with creators, moderators, users and ex-users to explore its changing use within the US-based South Sudanese diaspora. Viewed as a significant indicator of diasporic sentiment, I suggest that the listserv has provided certain members of the South Sudanese diaspora both with up-to-date insights into life in the South and a platform for surveillance and criticism of the new Government of South Sudan. Conversely, I argue that the new administration has increasingly utilized the listserv as a tool through which to bring the diaspora into the nation-building and state-making project; both directly through recruitment of diasporic staff and calls for investment and entrepreneurial activity, and indirectly by encouraging debate and discussion around new state policy and practice. Through its varied use, the listserv emerges as a powerful tool in the production and reworking of transnational citizen-subjects. However, the listserv also works to reveal long-standing tensions around class, ethnicity, and gender, and between the diaspora and those that stayed or now live in South Sudan. As such, I close by considering the exclusions and tensions around this virtual practice of citizenship and the implications for the nationalist effort as the South heads towards a referendum on independence in 2011.