Narratives of Displacement: Forms and Functions
DozentIn: Jatin Wagle
Zeiten: Mo. 16:00 - 18:00 (wöchentlich)
Beschreibung: Pursuant to the Geneva Convention regarding refugees and so called stateless persons from 1951, an asylum seeker often needs to render her life in the form of a story as a sort of evidentiary testimony. The institutional mandate requiring the translation of experiential memory of displacement into a narrative enables as well as constrains this act and form of storytelling. On the other hand, humanitarian projects and nonprofits, such as, the Voice of Witness encourage and often engender personal narratives and life-stories with the explicit aim of “amplifying unheard voices” (https://voiceofwitness.org/). Thus, these narratives, especially those of travelers sans-papiers, take on many, occasionally contradictory, tasks: as proofs of identification, records of lives lived, testimonies to experiences of precarious and traumatic journeys, and furthermore, as the voices of the silenced, lending visibility to those who might have languished long in the shadows. In this seminar in American Studies, we will contextualize and examine some of these purported functions of the narratives of displacement. We will take up fictional as well as nonfictional narrative texts to explore questions of narrative capability and the construction of the self via life-writings.
This seminar will take up a challenging selection of theoretical, analytical, fictional and nonfictional texts that demand careful preparation and thoughtful discussion. Please note that this seminar is recommended for advanced master’s students since it builds upon their awareness and understanding of the advanced concepts and theories in literary and cultural studies.
A list of primary texts and/or required readings will be provided before the course begins.