The Border-Transgressing Self: Narrative and Cultural Identity in Autofictions of Migration
As migration has become an increasingly widespread phenomenon in a globalized world, we have also seen a growing number of literary representations of experiences of migration, in what is sometimes referred to as "migration literature". This project aims to investigate how narrative identity is constructed in autofictions of migration.
This project aims to investigate how narrative identity is constructed in autofictions of migration. As migration has become an increasingly widespread phenomenon in a globalized world, we have also seen a growing number of literary representations of experiences of migration, in what is sometimes referred to as "migration literature". A recurring question in these representations of movement between different cultural contexts regards personal identity. This applies in particular to autofictional migration literature, which mixes fiction and autobiography. The project is based on two different theories that shed light on different aspects of what it means to have an identity. One argues that the individual understands herself through stories and that the answer to the question "who am I?" takes the form of a story that clarifies how the different aspects and stages of one’s life are connected in a meaningful way. The other regards identity in terms of belonging to a certain context or community, which provides a meaningful framework for one's existence. The questions asked in this research project are about how these two types of identity interact: Can the narrative create context and meaning for an individual across cultural boundaries? And to what extent do different cultures carry different possibilities to provide a narrative context for one's identity?
Funding in SEK:
2 468 000
The purpose of this project is to analyze the construction of narrative identity in select autofictions of migration from the early 21st century, with a special focus on how they deal with transculturality.
The primary aim of the project is to gain a deeper understanding of the effort to construct a transcultural identity in these works of autofiction. Radiating out from this aim is the broader aim of contributing to an understanding of how humans in general are able to integrate their understanding of themselves across shifting cultural contexts with different opportunities for self-definition. As a part of this undertaking, I also aim to shed some light not only on autofiction and literature of migration more generally, but also on the relation between individual and collective forms of identity, and on how narrative identity can be culturalized and cultural identity narrativized.
A handful of relevant autifictions will be analyzed. The preliminary list of works is:
Nina Bouraoui, Mes mauvaises pensées (2005)
Teju Cole, Everyday Is for the Thief (2007)
Vassilis Alexakis, L'Enfant grec (2012)
Sami Said, Väldigt sällan fin (2012) och Monomani (2013)
Katja Petrowskaja, Vielleicht Esther (2014)