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Diasporic Writing

Diasporic Writing

This project belongs to the following research constellations:

Globalization and Migration

Identity

Coordinator:

Ieme van der Poel

Participants:

Staff: Ieme van der Poel

Postdoc: Fouad Laroui

PhD candidates: Yasmina El Haddad

, Marjan Nijborg

Description:

The highly-charged debate surrounding immigrant minorities in Europe has led to a growing interest in the literary production of these ‘new’ Europeans. Over the last decade, this has resulted in a powerful marketing of so-called ‘ethnic’ writers by the publishing industry, the media and the press. Also, an increasing number of scholarly publications have focused on the topic of diasporic or exilic writing. Most of today’s criticism tends to approach the writings of these newcomers as a more or less homogenous body of texts, stressing what they have in common – their communal displacement and ‘in-between’-ness – rather than the specific national and linguistic backgrounds of each individual group. This current practice may be considered Eurocentric in that, by problematizing the link between the representatives of these new literatures and their European host countries, the scholars working in this field unconsciously privilege the immigrant writer’s new background over the land of his or her ancestors. As a result, the writer’s bond with their country of origin, which often still forcefully exists, is glossed over, but also the relationship between immigrants who share the same roots but have settled, or at least have published in different European countries. Because these ‘new’ Europeans no longer use the same language of their country of origin and have become part of different cultural fields, their works are hardly ever studied in relationship to one another.

This project aims to take into account the multiple external connections of the three literatures concerned, instead of focusing solely on the immigrant-status or ‘postcolonial’ otherness of their makers. Paradoxically, by broadening the scope of our approach in this way, we will be able also to adjust its focus. For by concentrating on the ‘Morocanness’ of these authors, this project will effect a noticeable change with regard to the current practice concerning the study of Moroccan writing in French and Dutch.

Activities/Output:

Meetings every six weeks, 2 dissertations, 2 monographs