MIG745 Migration, Exile and Literature
[3–0, 3 cr.]
Literature by migrants - those not at home where they write - foregrounds many questions concerning cultural and linguistic identity, not least the relationships between identity, language and territory. Fundamentally, such literature challenges the categories according to which literary disciplines have traditionally (that is, since the late nineteenth century) organized their research. The seminar aims to overcome the limits set by national paradigms; to challenge conventional understandings of the relation between sending and receiving cultures; to highlight similarities and differences between and within the different national contexts; and, through this comparative, interdisciplinary and transnational approach, to work towards a provisional outline of the present state and potential development of literary migration studies. The seminar will investigate, primarily, the nexus between migration, nation, literature, cultural loyalties and social and personal identities. Within the last thirty years Western countries have undergone a radical change: increased number of migrants have migrated and settled in the West. The idea of the nation-state - one territory, one people, one language, one faith, one currency - is no longer coherent in practice, nor is it self-evidently desirable. The course wishes to explore literature by migrants, and by the children of migrants, as well as literature written by non-migrants that deals with migration as a theme; and to investigate whether and how migration affects national canons, national literary history and national culture in a broad sense.