Challenging the Concept of National Literatures: Transnational Aesthetics in the Age of Migration and Globalism

Dr. Elke Segelcke
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Although traditional literary scholarship in 'Germanistik' started to reorient itself to reflect the intercultural encounters of our changing migrant society, contemporary criticism in the field of German Studies still tends to read literary texts of intercultural authors primarily with the aim of furthering ethnic and cultural understanding, often excluding a more aesthetic analysis and thus by necessity stressing the otherness of 'Migrantenliteratur', making its eventual inclusion into one multifaceted German literature even more difficult to achieve. Within the context of current political and literary debates in multicultural post-unification Germany, this presentation intends to evaluate migrant literature as a constitutive part of contemporary German literature by analyzing the literary hybrid works of prominent German-Turkish writers whose texts reflect a new aesthetics of a 'nomadic' narrative strategy that is mediated through the experience of migration and travel thereby revising traditional notions of 'Heimat' and belonging.

Keywords: National Literatures, Migrant Literature, Transnational Aesthetics, Migration, Globalism, Travel, Post-Unification Germany, Intercultural Encounters, Hybrid literature, Criticism in the Field of German Studies
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies, Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Elke Segelcke

Associate Professor of German, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Illinois State University

Ref: H05P0566