The goal of the Normandale Diaspora Project is to center the voices of members of diaspora communities on our campus and provide resources for opening up conversations about diaspora (and related topics) in classes and spaces throughout Normandale Community College.

The resources on this site pay special attention to diaspora communities in Minnesota. Throughout the state’s history, we have seen immigration shape the economy and culture, starting with the Norwegian, Swedish, and German immigrants who began arriving in Minnesota in the 1880s. The state has also had a strong history of refugee resettlement, including individuals who fled the Soviet Union in the 1970s and today includes people from around the world including Somalia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma. Minnesota has more immigrants from Asia and Africa compared to the US as a whole, with the majority (79%) of all immigrants living in the Twin Cities. This project also includes perspectives of Indigenous people who have been dispersed from their original land in Minnesota.

Diaspora is a way to understand not only the impact that immigration has on the receiving community but also on the homelands that people leave behind. This lens provides not only insight into the current demographic changes in the region and the state as a whole, but can also be a frame for understanding much of the state’s history. This includes the diaspora of native peoples as well as the waves of immigrants who settled the region due to political, economic, and religious reasons. It also provides a gateway to understand a range of disciplines including language and culture, economics, political science, religious studies, literature, and world history.

The Normandale Diaspora Project is an initiative of the Normandale Community College International Experience Center. The videos were produced in collaboration with Kohler Productions, LLC.

This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Title VI-A Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Programs under Award Number P016A180006, Project 84.016A Customizing Internationalization to Reflect Community and Learning Environments (CIRCLE) in the amount of $147,747.