Diaspora and Memory

Figures of Displacement in Contemporary Literature, Arts and Politics


Experiences of migration and dwelling-in-displacement impinge upon the lives of an ever increasing number of people worldwide, with business class comfort but more often with unrelenting violence. Since the early 1990s, the political and cultural realities of global migration have led to a growing interest in the different forms of “diasporic” existence and identities. The articles in this book do not focus on the external boundaries of diaspora – what is diasporic and what is not? – but on one of its most important internal boundaries, which is indicated by the second term in the title of this book: memory. It is not by chance that the right to remember, the responsibility to recall, are central issues of the debates in diasporic communities and their relation to their cultural and political surroundings. The relation of diaspora and memory contains important critical and maybe even subversive potentials. Memory can transcend the territorial logic of dispersal and return, and emerge as a competing source of diasporic identity. The articles in this volume explore how, shaped by the responsibilities of testimony as well as by the normalizing forces of amnesia and forgetting and political interests, memory is a performative, figurative process rather than a secure space of identity.

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Table of contents
Marie-Aude BARONIAN, Stephan BESSER and Yolande JANSEN: Introduction
Carol BARDENSTEIN: Figures of Diasporic Cultural Production: Some Entries from the Palestinian Lexicon
Anette HOFFMANN: Comparing to Make Explicit: Diasporic Articulations of the Herero Communities in Namibia
Elif BABUL: Home or Away? On the Connotations of Homeland Imaginaries in Imbros
Melissa BILAL: Longing for Home at Home: Armenians in Istanbul
Esther PEEREN: Through the Lens of the Chronotope: Suggestions for a Spatio-Temporal Perspective on Diaspora
Andreas HUYSSEN: Diaspora and Nation: Migration into Other Pasts
Pascale R. BOS: Adopted Memory: The Holocaust, Postmemory, and Jewish Identity in America
Hanadi LOUBANI and Joseph ROSEN: Memory’s Exiles
Karolina SZMAGALSKA: The Refusal to Mourn: Confronting the Facts of Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne
Mariane HIRSCH and Leo SPITZER: Testimonial Objects: Memory, Gender and Transmission
Sylvie ROLLET: Imaginary Lands and Figures of Exile in Elia Kazan’s America, America
Saskia LOURENS: The Politics of Remembering and Forgetting in present-day South Africa: André Brink’s On the Contrary
Soko PHAY-VAKALIS: Memory and Forgetting: Traces of Silence in Sarkis
Silke HORSTKOTTE: Recollective Processes and the “Topography of Forgetting” in W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz
The Contributors
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