Transculturation and Aesthetics

Ambivalence, Power, and Literature


Editor: Joel Kuortti
This collection is a timely reflection on the momentous concept of transculturalism. With its historical roots in globalization, transculturation, oriented to (new) aesthetics, seeks new cultural formations, and, with its heterogeneous author- and readership, enlists active participation by the individual.
The volume focuses on the interplay between and lapses within interrelated domains of study – postcolonial, diaspora, and world-literary – which attend to the material and discursive circumstances of the literary work. The various readings argue for a situated mode of reading that attends to literary meaning emerging from transaction across, struggle between, and appropriation of cultures, both intra- and internationally, and, by definition, not tied exclusively to a colonial historical paradigm.
The overarching themes – ambivalence, power, and literature – are approached transculturally and aesthetically with four distinct concerns in mind: theorization of transculturation; diaspora and migration; the African legacies of colonial slavery and its global aftermath; and localized topics that diversify the interpretation and definition of transculturation and its relation to an (emerging) aesthetic that goes beyond nationally constrained (geographical, cultural, linguistic, literary, etc.) boundaries.
Themes range from literary representations of archaeological sites to the contest over meaning that follow efforts to exhume the past, from the ethics of queer love in diaspora to the effects of global literary marketing, from the development of transcultural identities in the colonial encounter to domestication and foreignization in the translation of Aboriginal texts.
Authors discussed include Michael Ondaatje, Vernon Anderson, Barry Unsworth, Salman Rushdie, Yvonne Vera, Chiang Hsun, Sally Morgan, Doris Pilkington, Sarfraz Manzoor, Sathnam Sanghera, Yasmin Hai, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Timothy Wangusa, Fred D’Aguiar, Amitav Ghosh, and Jack Kerouac.

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Table of contents
Erik Falk and Joel Kuortti: Introduction

I. Theorizing Transculturation
Gesa Mackenthun: Digging Far and Deep: Archaeological Sites, Dislocations, and Heterotopoi in Postcolonial Writing
Joel Kuortti: Salman Rushdie’s Transcultural ‘Jesture’ in The Enchantress of Florence

II. Diasporic and Immigrant Literatures
Erik Falk: Transculturation, Postcolonial Literature, and the Global Literary Market: The Case of Yvonne Vera’s American Literary Career
Fred Chih-Wei Chang: The Erotics of Queer Diaspora in Chiang Hsun’s Yu ai shu: xie gei Ly’s M (Epistles of Eros: Letters to Ly’s M)
Ulla Rahbek: Dual Lives? Constructing Individuality in Contemporary British Multicultural Memoirs

III. African Legacies
Dominica Dipio: Negotiating Transcultural Identities in African Literature: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s The River Between and Timothy Wangusa’s Upon This Mountain
Vicki Briault Manus: The Aesthetics of Indigenization in Post-Apartheid Black South African Literature
Željka Švrljuga: “In this time brown did not stick around”: Fred D’Aguiar’s Poetics of Slavery

IV. Localized Readings
Danica Čerče and Oliver Haag: Australian Aboriginal Literature on the European Market
Arnaud Barras: The Aesthetics of the Tide: The Ecosystem as Matrix for Transculturation in Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide
Michael J. Prince: “Whither goest thou, America?” Deterritorialization, Identity, and the Fellahin Ideal in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Notes on Contributors
Index Card
Collection Information