Contemporary Transcultural Auto/Biography and Creative Nonfiction Writing on the Neonomadic Frontier

In: Transcultural Studies

The present article suggests that a desirable model of creative writing in the era of digital communications and new media, growing transnational flows, neonomadic life patterns (both online and offline), and global mobility is transcultural auto/biography. By this term I identify a form of creative nonfiction particularly suited to recording and exploring the renegotiation of individual cultural identities and the re-shaping of ever more complex subjectivities and collective imaginaries in their efforts to adjust to a new age of digital communication flows, transnational processes, and cross-cultural encounters.

  • 1

     See, Rosalía Baena, “Transculturing Auto/Biography: Forms of Life Writing.” Transculturing Auto/Biography: Forms of Life Writing. Ed. by Rosalía Baena (London; New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. vii–xiii, ix.

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  • 5

    Brian Castro, Looking for Estrellita (St. Lucia: U of Queensland P, 1999); and J.M. Coetzee, Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life (London: Secker & Warburg, 1997); Youth (London: Secker & Warburg, 2002); Summertime (London: Harvill Secker, 2009).

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  • 6

     Cfr. Arianna, Dagnino, “Transcultural Writers and Transcultural Fiction in the Age of Global Modernity.” Transnational Literature Journal, 4.2 (2012): 1–14; and Arianna Dagnino, “Transculturalism and Transcultural Literature in the 21st Century.” Transcultural Studies: A Series in Interdisciplinary Research. Thematic Issue, ‘Transcultural Perspectives on Literature, Music, Cinema and Culturology,’ 8 (2012): 1–14.

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  • 7

    Brian Castro, “Auto/Biography.” Looking for Estrellita. By Brian Castro (St. Lucia: U of Queensland P, 1999), pp. 98–123, pp. 105–106.

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  • 13

    Jacques Attali, L’Homme nomade (Paris: Fayard, 2003), pp. 29–30.

  • 14

    Zygmunt Bauman, Globalization: The Human Consequences (Cambridge: Polity, 1998), p. 94. From an intercultural viewpoint, Michael Byram also makes a similar distinction between “tourists” and “sojourners” in the way these different subjects relate to different cultural and linguistic contexts. The tourist visits foreign lands with the idea of being “enriched” by encounters with other cultures and traditions “but not [being] fundamentally changed” by them. The sojourner, on the other hand, “produces effects on a society which challenge its unquestioned and unconscious beliefs, behaviours and meanings, and whose own beliefs, behaviours and meanings are in turn challenged and expected to change.” Michael Byram, Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 1997), p. 1.

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  • 20

    Ibidem, p. 22.

  • 22

    Rosi Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects, pp. 16–17.

  • 27

    Anthony D. Smith, “Towards a Global Culture?” Global Culture: Nationalism,Globalization and Modernity. Ed. by Mike Featherstone (London: Sage, 1990), pp. 171–92, p. 177.

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  • 29

    Robert Root, The Nonfictionist’s Guide: On Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction. (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), p. 46.

  • 32

    Ibidem, p. ii.

  • 35

    David Attwell, “Editor’s Introduction,” Doubling the Point: Essays and Interviews (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1992), pp. 1–13, p. 11.

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  • 36

    Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981–1991 (London: Granta Books, 1991), p. 12.

  • 38

    Alberto Manguel, A Reader, p. 152.

  • 39

    Alberto Manguel, A Reader on Reading, p. ix.

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