Chapter 7 From the Exclusion of Individual Authors to the Transnationalisation of the Literary Field: Immigrant and Ethnic-Minority Writing in Germany

In: Immigrant and Ethnic-Minority Writers since 1945
Wiebke Sievers
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and Sandra Vlasta
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In Germany, interest in immigrant and ethnic-minority writing first arose in the 1980s, when the writers themselves called attention to their works. Academic institutions have been active in supporting their first writing endeavours, amongst others by establishing, in 1985, the Adelbert-von-Chamisso Prize which was awarded annually up to 2017. Early research on immigrant literature was characterised by inventory-taking. The texts tended to be read as socio-historical documents rather than as literary texts. In the 1990s, the research focus shifted to analyses of single authors and the interest in German-Turkish literature grew. Moreover, works by immigrant writers were eventually perceived as literary texts and analysed accordingly. Impulses for theoretical approaches came from scholars abroad, who were the first to read these texts with postcolonial, post-structural or feminist theories. From the late 1990s, immigrant writing has been located in a German tradition which has come to be discussed in more transnational terms.

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