Trans-Culture: Literature and Migration in Europe since the 1950s

Project Directors:

Fridrun Rinner
Comparative Literature
Université Aix-Marseille, France

Myriam Geiser
Département d’allemand
Université de Grenoble, France

Jeanne E. Glesener
Institut de langue et de littératures luxembourgeoises
Université du Luxembourg

Helga Mitterbauer
Département de Langues et Lettres
Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Franca Sinopoli
Dipartimento di Italinaistica e Spettacolo, « La Sapienza »
University of Rome, Italy

Sandra Vlasta
Gutenberg-Institut für Weltliteratur und schriftorientierte Medien
Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany

The presence of migrants can be seen as an important factor in the historical and social features of the individual European nations and, more generally, the dilemmas of European culture, first and foremost its relation to otherness. Literature of migration explores vital issues, such as colonialism, racism, and ideas of cultural, political, and economic superiority and supremacy. It contributes to the definition of European collective identities and has become a part of common identity during the recent decades. The project deals with a genuine intercultural sector of literary studies, addressing the complex interrelationship among the European nations and beyond. What has been considered as lying outside Europe has moved well inside the core of European identity, in ways that can feel highly paradoxical to those who consider Europe and Other- than-Europe as radically separate.
The aim of our project is to offer a reflection on migration and literature in Europe from the 1950s onwards. This exploration of the evolution of literature of migration in Europe deals with the critical reception of the phenomenon in European scholarship, as well as its aesthetic and poetic imperatives. The project goes far beyond the frequently cited tensions between national and migration literature. Instead, the theoretical framework of the project includes a wide range of cultural studies themes; we do not work on a country-by-country basis but formulate pivotal questions and engage them through international group work.