Conference “Migrant voices in popular German literature and the performing arts”, Dublin
The Panel: “Migrant voices in popular German literature and the performing arts” invites submissions for presentations for the 2023 annual meeting of the ASSOCIATION FOR GERMAN STUDIES IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND
Trinity College Dublin, August 29-31, 2023
No-one still doubts that Germany has become a multicultural nation: ‘Migrationshintergrund’ is not a mere statistical fact, but a trait that is consciously and visibly exhibited by a growing youth that has the potential to in fact become the demographic majority in many German cities. In Stuttgart, every second adolescent has a non-German background; in Berlin, the statistical numbers are equally strong. In Frankfurt, more than half of the citizens have foreign roots. Such demographic change, however, seems underrepresented, if not unrepresented in the production of literature. Though authors as Aras Ören, Feridun Zaimoglu, Rafik Schami, Zafer Şenocak, and Zehra Çirak have added to a more and more diversified literary canon, authors with foreign roots are still largely absent. Such statistics, however, are dependent on the exclusion of popular forms of literature in general, and in particular, on the marginalization of those literary and performative forms of popular art which are predominantly entertained by members of migrant communities. More recently, voices have been raised to include hitherto marginalized forms to the literary canon – as slam poetries, battles, and in number most relevant, popular street poetry such as hip hop, rap and drill lyrics. These genres are understood as “poetic voice(s) from the street” that engage in harsh social criticism, but also are important means of empowerment that serve to the constitution of individual and collective identities. What is in fact negotiated here is a different image of what it means to be German (“Wir sind nicht so wie ihr”; “Fremd im eig’nen Land”).
This panel is seeking to strengthen the visibility of migrant literature by strengthening the role of popular forms of literature and the performative arts in the scholarly debate. We are open to presentations on all aspects of the issue. We are especially interested in presentations that investigate the role of popular genre in constructing images and narratives of Germanness and otherness, and in constituting a dichotomic order that confines migrants to precarious social circles. We also seeks to clarify the role of popular literature within the institutionalization of an “other” Germany that bourgeois literature still has to come to terms with, and the possibility of a postcolonial culture that transcends such dichotomies by acknowledging and embracing hybridity and ambivalence.
Please send proposals for a 20-minute presentation to Hans Lind (hans.lind[at]yale.edu) by April 15, 2023.