Donnerstag, 27. April 2017, 18:00 - 20:00 iCal

Prof. Dr. Johan Schimanski (Univ.Oslo)

Lecture: Border Figurations in Migration Literatur: A Border Poetics Approach

EVSL, Abteilung Finno-Ugristik, HS 1
Spitalgasse 2-4/Hof 7, 1090 Wien


Johannes Anyuru’s 2012 novel En Storm kom från paradiset (A Storm Blew in From Paradise/ Ein Sturm wehte vom Paradiese her) describes the labyrinthical journey from Uganda to Sweden undertaken by the author’s father. Using this biographical fiction as a departure point, I will be examining how a short scenic description placed at the very beginning of the novel encapsulates a whole border landscape or borderscape. The scene can be analyzed as a border crossing on different scales (Tanzania-Kenya, Uganda-Sweden, Africa-Europe) and surfaces (topographical, symbolic, epistemological, temporal and textual), using the methods of border poetics. The analysis can then be used to isolate a series of central rhetorical and narrative figurations of the border.


These analyses around a single example shed light on the ongoing border turn in literary and cultural studies, and how humanities-orientated border theory and social science-orientated border studies can learn from each other. Border figurations in fiction and in autobiographical narratives about migration and cultural crossings are keys to understanding how different conceptions of the border enter into exchange across discourses. My reading of Anyuru’s text takes place against the background of research on border figurations in selected migration narratives published in Norwegian (Nasim Karim, Romeo Gill, Roda Ahmed, Maria Amelie, Amal Aden og Sara Azmeh Rasmussen) together with novels by Swedish authors such as Johannes Anyuru og Jonas Hassan Khemiri. The specific figurations shed light on the role of literacy and Bildung in the journeys of both migrants and readers.


Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


EVSL, Abteilung Finno-Ugristik


Wolfgang Müller-Funk
Philologisch Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
EVSL, Finno-Ugristik