Migration as Core Narrative of Plural Societies: Towards an Aesthetics of Postmigrant Literature by Markus Hallensleben

Migration as Core Narrative of Plural Societies: Towards an Aesthetics of Postmigrant Literature (Principal Investigator, SSHRC Insight Development Grant, 2019-2023)

Website: https://cenes.ubc.ca/news/dr-hallensleben-is-awarded-a-sshrc-insight-development-grant/

“My research project, situated within the wider context of the global mobility turn and critical European Culture Studies, investigates narratives of forced migration in contemporary German-language literature. Since the recent surge of asylum seekers into Europe, German-language literatures and cultural practices have changed dramatically and can thus be seen as exemplary in representing the transition of Germany towards a post-migration society of multeity (Terkessidis). The purpose of my research project is to utilize the sociological concepts of post-migration and superdiverse societies for an analysis of literary narratives as counter-narratives to Eurocentric, ethnically and nationally centred models of belonging. How do they perform transcultural and transnational identities, including memories of colonial history, genocides and wars that go across borders? My goal is to demonstrate how a trans-civic desire manifests itself in German-language literature and what its performative effects might be in understanding culture as an open transitional space, which allows for practicing civic diversity, gender and racial equality.

Methodologically, I have taken a turn to Indigenous centred research methods, such as storytelling (Archibald; Christensen; Kovach). By taking my positionality as privileged migrant and white settler who lives on unceded (stolen) territories into account, I am intrigued to find a relational approach in investigating literary narratives. My aim is to disrupt a colonial knowledge transfer that comes with literature and text as systemic ways of continuing hegemonic structures. ”

Research Partners
Markus Hallensleben, UBC
Moritz Schramm, SDU

I am also collaborating in the SSHRC funded research project on “Belonging in Unceded Territories.”