Dr. Markus Hallensleben has been awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2019-2021) for the project “Migration as Core Narrative of Plural Societies: Towards an Aesthetics of Postmigrant Literature.”
With collaborator Prof. Moritz Schramm from South Denmark University, Dr. Hallensleben will investigate refugees’ and immigrants’ narratives as playing a crucial part in questioning, changing and creating collective core narratives of belonging in plural societies. This includes the hypothesis that immigrants and refugees tell their life stories, whether past or present, biographical, documentational or fictional, aesthetically differently from representations in mass media and national politics, where they are often dehumanized and marginalized. The project’s aim is to establish a set of criteria for a new transformative aesthetics of postmigrant literature. In a first step, the research will analyze recent German-language literature that challenges and renegotiates political perspectives, social and cultural identities. The project will then, in a second step, critically discuss the theoretical implications of an aesthetics of postmigration as a possible new turn in literary studies. Placed within the wider context of UBC’s Excellence Research Cluster on Migration, the project will work towards a new international partnership that will include other institutions, cultures, and media. The longterm goal is to determine the sociopolitical function of immigrant narratives that talk back to Eurocentric concepts of culture, ethnicity, identity and society.