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Memory and Postcolonial Studies

Synergies and New Directions


Edited By Dirk Göttsche

In the postcolonial reassessment of history, the themes of colonialism, decolonisation and individual and collective memory have always been intertwined, but it is only recently that the transcultural turn in memory studies has enabled proper dialogue between memory studies and postcolonial studies. This volume explores the synergies and tensions between memory studies and postcolonial studies across literatures and media from Europe, Africa and the Americas, and intersections with Asia. It makes a unique contribution to this growing international and interdisciplinary field by considering an unprecedented range of languages and sources that promotes dialogue across comparative literature, English and American studies, media studies, history and art history, and modern languages (French, German, Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian-Croatian, Spanish).

Combining theoretical discussion with innovative case studies, the chapters consider various postcolonial politics of memory (with a focus on Africa); diasporic, traumatic and «multidirectional memory» (M. Rothberg) in postcolonial perspective; performative and linguistic aspects of postcolonial memory; and transcultural memoryscapes ranging from the Black Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, from overseas colonialism to the intra-European legacies of Habsburg, Ottoman and Russian/Soviet imperialism. This far-reaching enquiry promotes comparative postcolonial studies as a means of creating more integrated frames of reference for research and teaching on the interface between memory and postcolonialism.

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Writing food and food memories in Turkish-German literature by Renan Demirkan, Hatice Akyün and Emine Sevgi Özdamar (Heike Bartel)


Heike Bartel

Writing food and food memories in Turkish-German literature by Renan Demirkan, Hatice Akyün and Emine Sevgi Özdamar


This essay explores the role of food and eating in the autobiographical fictions of three very different female Turkish-German authors writing in German. It employs postcolonial theory to explore the complex relationship between gender, identity and memory in three close readings. Finally, it highlights the potential of research into food for meaningful intercultural exchange.1

Food and drink, their preparation and associated rituals, how, what, where and when people eat and drink – or not – bears great personal, religious, historical, political or socio-cultural significance. Who produces, prepares, pays for and finally consumes food and drink indicates social and gender roles, reflects power hierarchies, can confirm or challenge stereotypes and determine inclusion or exclusion in communities. Remembered food – be it tastes that accompanied certain situations, past feasts or experiences of food shortages and hunger – can also function as powerful personal or collective memory stores. Within national contexts in particular, food plays an important part in producing, confirming or contesting national or racial difference and in supporting forms of political and economic inequality. Culture, literature and art throughout national histories are full of examples: in the German-language context relevant to this essay,←335 | 336→ examples of derogative terms used for Turkish migrant workers who came to Germany in the 1960s, define these so-called Gastarbeiter [guest workers] through food. Closer analysis of the insults “Knoblauchfresser” [greedy,...

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