Migration As Core Narrative Of Plural Societies Towards: An Aesthetics Of Postmigrant Literature (SSHRC Insight Development Grant)

This collaborative research project, together with collaborator Moritz Schramm from South Denmark University, focuses on refugees and immigrants being explicitly seen as agents who enhance societies. We will therefore investigate refugees’ and immigrants’ narratives as playing a crucial part in questioning, changing and creating collective core narratives of belonging in plural societies where an increased diversity demands a change in integration policies. This includes the hypothesis that immigrants and refugees tell their life stories, whether past or present, biographical, documentational or fictional, aesthetically differently from representations in mass media and national politics, where they are often dehumanized and marginalized. Our research project is therefore two­fold: In a first step we will analyse recent German-­language literature that deals with diaspora, exile, flight, refuge and displacement. Through these case studies from a sociological informed cultural studies perspective, we will demonstrate how migrant narratives have become a driving factor for societal change. Our aim is to establish a set of criteria for a new transformative aesthetics that constantly challenges and renegotiates political perspectives, social and cultural identities. In a second step, we will then critically discuss the theoretical implications of an aesthetics of postmigration as a possible new turn in literary studies.

Principle Investigator: Hallensleben, Markus Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies, UBC, Collaborator: Schramm, Moritz Dr. Moritz Schramm, Department for the Study of Culture, SDU, Denmark