Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.
College of Liberal Arts
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Somali-American Identity, Somali Diaspora, Somali culture, Somali immigration
This paper examines the ongoing large number of Somali-American diaspora living in Minnesota returning to their country of origin or country of birth. This ideology of returning to the motherland is often referred to ‘counter diasporic migration’ to describe this phenomenon of immigrants or diasporas longing for a visit to their ancestral homeland. This thesis closely inspects the role language and identity plays in their return back to Minnesota. I will do this by exploring the ambiguous views of place, home, belonging, and identity, along other core elements responsible for Somali-diaspora visiting their home and motives for coming back to their other home, Minnesota.
The findings are based on data collected through two semi-constructed interviews with 10 Somali-Americans who have returned from Somalia in the past five years residing in Minnesota. Eight of the participants are second generation Somalis and two of the participants interviewed are first generation Somalis all residing in Minnesota. The participants were also asked to complete a demographic questionnaire, which asked for general information about their lives in Minnesota and questions, that dealt with the construction of two identities in two homes and which was the core elements of this research project.
Through this qualitative research project, it was found that the idea of ‘home’ was a very complex word to many of the participants who returned to their country of origin. Where is ‘home’ when you were born and raised in Minnesota, but your still regarded as an outsider? The research showed that for Somali-American diaspora who grew up in Minnesota, the process of identification with Somalia was especially complex when they returned to their country of origin. Politically, religiously and ethnically, these young people were up against powerful forces from both worlds that made identification with Somalia and America a special challenge. For these reasons, the participants easily aligned themselves with different aspects of their identity depending on where they where and who they were with. The researcher looked at the reconstruction of identity that occurred in the return to Somalia and back to Minnesota. While the research showed that the return to Somalia is a grim reality complicated by major obstacles for Somali-Americans who are in between two worlds, the researcher hopes that through the stories of people, she will show some fresh ideas in the minds of researchers and bring raw data to the diverse community in Minnesota.
Omar, Shukria Barre, "Home Away From Home: Language and Identity Reconstruction Through The Experiences of Somali-American Diaspora Returning to their Country of Origin" (2016). Culminating Projects in English. 82.