In this course we reflect on the relation between literature and politics in two ways: firstly, we analyse how authors with their publications and with their public engagement can create social or political impact. Secondly, we think about the way in which literary texts – and their content, narratives, characters or aesthetic form – can be described as ‘political‘. A more theoretical approach on the different concepts of ‘littérature engagée’ vs. ‘subversive literature‘ will help to analyse different political forms of writing. Theoretical and philosophical texts by Theodor W. Adorno, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault and others provide us with terminologies and ideas that will help us in our analysis of ‘political literature’.
Our analytical model combines elements of literary studies with elements of cultural studies and helps us in our interpretations of different fields of political writing: inter-/transcultural literature (Zaimoglu/‘Kanak Sprak’), satire (Titanic), pop literature (Meinecke), neo-avant-garde literature (Jelinek) and ‘webliterature’ (@Neinquarterly). In addition, the students will discuss transculturality and the politics of translation with translator Els Snick (Gent) and with author Kathrin Röggla (Berlijn), one of the most imporant writers of contemporary Germany, her book Nachtsendung (2016).