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Migration and Transcultural Memory


Migration and Transcultural Memory: Literature, Film and the Social Life of Media

This project is interested in the intersections of media, transculturality, and memory. The research revolves around the question of how experiences of migration are represented in today’s literature and cinema, circulated across geographic and cultural borders, and thus potentially become the focus of a mediated transcultural memory practice. The project wants to combine memory studies (which has witnessed a ‘transcultural turn’ in recent years) with migration and diaspora studies and postcolonial studies, with a special focus on media theory and narratology. It has three main aims: 1) a detailed study of Anglophone novels of migration as media of transcultural memory: how do those texts represent individual and collective memory in a transcultural space? which narrative features contribute to their potential effect as a carrier of memory across established boundaries? 2) a detailed study of migrant cinema as a medium of transcultural memory; this, too, with a focus on media-specific forms of representation and their potential effects; 3) a consistent contextualization of novels and movies within the very social constellations, where they are used as media of transcultural memory. Taking the formula of the ‘social life of media’ as a point of departure, this part of the research is about the travels and the localisations of globally circulating texts and images, about their embeddedness within specific social and media contexts, in which they are actualized and fulfil certain (and possibly diverging) functions.

The project includes Astrid Erll, Erin Högerle and Jarula M.I. Wegner.

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