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Migrant Identities of «Creole Cosmopolitans»

Transcultural Narratives of Contemporary Postcoloniality

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Edited By Nirmala Menon and Marika Preziuso

One defining question links the essays of this collection: How do aesthetic and stylistic choices perform the condition of dislocation of the migrant and, in doing so, also put pressure on the seemingly global promise of cosmopolitanism? Migrant Identities of «Creole Cosmopolitans»: Transcultural Narratives of Contemporary Postcoloniality offers a wide array of narratives that complicate the rhetoric of cosmopolitanism and the related discourses of «hybridity». Many such narratives are under-theorized migrations, such as Dalit narratives from India and inter-island migrations in the Caribbean. Collectively, the essays suggest that there are ways in which the forms of the migrant aesthetics, language, and imaginaries may offer new insights in the interactions between practices and discourses of hybridity and cosmopolitanism by examining their precise points of intersection and divergence. This inquiry is especially timely because it raises questions about the circulation, marketing, and consumption of narratives of migration, dislocation, and «diaspora.»
In addition, the collection addresses in at least two significant ways the question about «beyond postcolonialism» and the future of the discipline. First, by questioning and critically examining some foundational theories in postcolonialism, it points to possible new directions in our theoretical vocabulary. Second, it offers an array of reflections around disparate geographies that are, equally importantly, written in different languages. The value that the authors place on languages other than English and their choice to focus on the effect that multiple languages have on the present of postcolonial studies are in line with one of the aims of the collection – to make the case for a multilingual expansion of the postcolonial imaginary as a necessary imperative.
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Chapter 5. Migration Literature and Place: Aleksandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project

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Aleksandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project

SØREN FRANK

One of the most significant developments within the humanities during the last four decades or so has undoubtedly been the rise to prominence of concepts and phenomena such as migration and hybridity. Once thought of as mere (and highly suspicious) exceptions in a sedentary worldview that considered human life to be a matter of monoglot identity, unchanging essence, and rooted belonging, these concepts have now been elevated from a less considered to a highly valued status in much academic discourse. Surely, these days there are few scholars lamenting the demise of cultural unity, geographical fixity, and ethnic authenticity; instead most of us eagerly immerse ourselves in captivating new theories of transculturalism, network theory, and the complex flows of people, merchandise, and information across eternally changing national, political, and cultural sceneries. However, it also seems as if we are acting out an Ibsen play in which the ghosts of the supposedly deceased still come back to haunt us. Both chauvinistic patriotism and identity politics thus continue to hold a large degree of popular appeal, just as the concept and phenomenon of place—comparatively more neutral, yet by many associated with a reactionary and static worldview—have experienced a series of revivals since the 1950s.← 61 | 62 →

Back then, Martin Heidegger and Gaston Bachelard launched a critical interrogation of modernity’s tendency to analyze, describe, and deal with space as an abstract, geometrical dimension. As to Heidegger, the influential...

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