Mapping homelands through virtual spaces: transnational embodiment and Iranian diaspora bloggers



In this article I examine Iranian diaspora blogs in an attempt to understand how Iranian bloggers outside Iran create and occupy online transnational spaces. Although it is acknowledged that the internet does not make offline borders and bodies redundant, there is a need to understand how the awareness of bodily presence in offline locations and situations continually informs and shapes online expressions. Through content analysis of English language blogs by Iranians based in the USA and Canada, as well as interviews with diaspora Iranians who read and write these blogs, I advance a concept of ‘transnational embodiment’. The importance of physical travel to, proximity to, and sensory impressions of particular places within two bounded, politically distinct nation-states shows that diasporas rely heavily on embodied experience in constructing transnational spaces and not only on psychic ties and recalled memories. Members of the second-generation Iranian diaspora reveal unique types of embodied ties to a diaspora ‘home’ through their apparent search for authenticity.