Contrary to the dictum that economic conditions will bring forth matching types of people, we are currently confronted with a pronounced mismatch. The dynamism of capitalist economics is generating an apparently boundless mobility. Whereas locations follow the pull of flexibilisation, the people attached to them remain tied to fixed, ‘grounded’ identity concepts. The cultures of our nation states hold no mental resources for the life of modern nomads. In view of this situation, we shall embark on a mental oil?drilling exercise in search of such resources. Our starting point is the concept of DIASPORA: The centuries?old dispersion of diverse peoples will not be perceived as synonymous with plight and displacement, but in its positive sense as a rich source of experience. The present series is an attempt at exploring a variety of ways of tapping this source. There may be national, cultural or economic differences, but what is common to all diaspora groups is the development of a specific form of non?territorial, supra?national network identity “avant la lettre”, which signifies neither total integration nor parallel society. Previous participants in the series have been among others: Khaled Fouad Allam, Benedict Anderson, Bashir Bashir, Rainer Bauböck, Homi K. Bhabha, Birand Bingül, Diedrich Diederichsen, Tony Judt, Hanno Loewy, Sari Nusseibeh, Saskia Sassen.
Timothy Snyder, Professor of history at Yale University, specializing in the political history of Central and Eastern Europe. He is spending the academic year 2009?2010 as a permanent fellow of the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen. He received his B.A. from Brown University and his doctorate from the University of Oxford, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. He has also held fellowships in Paris, Vienna, Warsaw and at Harvard, where he was an Academy Scholar. Among his publications are four books: Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (1998); The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (2003); Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (2005); and The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (2008). He also co-edited the volume Wall Around the West: State Borders and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America (2000). He has completed Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, which will be published in English in September 2010 and in a dozen European languages thereafter.