PD Dr. Tsypylma Darieva

Homeland Pilgrimage: Roots and Routes of Transnational Diasporic Engagement

PD Dr. Tsypylma Darieva

Homeland Pilgrimage: Roots and Routes of Transnational Diasporic Engagement

Ivan Aivazovsky, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aivazovsky_-_Descent_of_Noah_from_Ararat.jpg

Project description

This habilitation thesis focuses on the Armenian diaspora and its complex ties to the homeland. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Armenia and the United States, it looks in particular at transnational activities and a dynamic culture of trips to the homeland. In so doing, it analyses a broad spectrum of diaspora engagement, new infrastructures for trips to the homeland, and strategies of ‘doing diaspora’. To what extent do affective and material ties to a mythical homeland influence the transnational behaviour and loyalties of second and later generations of Armenian diaspora communities when the mythical homeland becomes a real place? Tsypylma Darieva investigates the motivations, imaginaries and identities of young diaspora Armenians in the context of globalisation. In the process, ‘homeland’ emerges as an ambivalent category.

Darieva shows how the descendants of migrants generate transnational symbolic capital in the context of locally and globally circulating narratives about development, human rights, and the environment. The aim of her research is to systematically identify not just new forms of connectivity but also ruptures between the diaspora and the homeland.

In October 2022, the monograph 'Making a Homeland. Roots and Routes of Transnational Armenian Engagement' will be published by Transcript Verlag.


  • Multi-sited ethnography
  • Participant observation in Armenia and the US
  • Biographical and semi-structured interviews with activists
  • Group discussions

Key questions

  • How and why do the descendants of migrants maintain their attachment to the ancestral homeland?
  • What role do emotions and memories of the past play in the establishment of new infrastructural links to the homeland?
  • What political significance does the mythical-abstract concept of ‘homeland’ acquire when it becomes a real place that is experienced at first hand?

Project coordination