NELK Congratulates Stefanie Kemmerer, the winner of GAPS Graduate Award

Stefanie Kemmerer, an Alumni of the Moving Cultures Masters programme, is the winner of 2022 GAPS (German Asocciation of Anglophone Postcolonial Studies) Graduate Award for her Masters thesis titled “Yogascapes: The Visual Politics of Transcultural Yoga as seen on Instagram“ (supervised by Dr. Pavan Malreddy & Prof. Dr. Schulze-Engler). Both NELK and MCTE proudly celebrate her achievement.

After finishing her Masters, she took up a position at Brill Germany as a Junior Acquisitions Editor. There, she is responsible for evaluating and editing incoming manuscripts, prepare contracts with authors, and catalogues advertising upcoming novelties.

Stefanie has studied Culture and Economy with a focus on Spanish Studies at the Universities of Mannheim and Alcalá de Henares (Spain). In her B.A. thesis she investigated representations of violence and power in the work of Spanish author Julio Llamazares. Before she resumed her studies, she worked as an HR Business Partner and HR specialist. In 2018, she joined Goethe University as an M.A. student in the Moving Cultures – Transcultural Encounters programme and studied Comparative Literature at the University of Utrecht.

She can be reached by email: stefanie.kemmerer@gmx.de

Posted by Moving Cultures-Team in General, News

NELK Book Club

AlterNatives by Drew Hayden Taylor

Thursday 31.03.2022 | 6pm on Zoom

A very liberal contemporary couple—Angel, an urban Native science fiction writer, and Colleen, a “non-practising” Jewish intellectual who teaches Native literature—hosts a dinner party. The guests at this little “sitcom” soirée are couples that represent what by now have become the clichéd extremes of both societies: Angel’s former radical Native activist buddies and Colleen’s environmentally concerned vegetarian / veterinarian friends. The menu is, of course, the hosts’ respectful attempt at shorthand for the irreconcilable cultural differences about to come to a head during the evening: moose roast and vegetarian lasagna.

For more information and if you would like to attend the event, please contact the organisers Silvia Anastasijevic (anastasijevic@em.uni-frankfurt.de) and Michelle Stork (m.stork@em.uni-frankfurt.de).

The meeting is open to all staff and students, just read the book and come along.

Posted by Moving Cultures-Team in Events

GAPS 2022 – Contested Solidarities: Agency and Victimhood in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures

32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Anglophone Postcolonial Studies (Gesellschaft für Anglophone Postkoloniale Studien / GAPS)

Contested Solidarities: Agency and Victimhood in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures

Goethe University Frankfurt | 26-29 May, 2022

Keynotes/Plenary Speakers/Writers:

Sinan Antoon (Iraq/USA) | Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) | Blessing Obada (Germany/Nigeria) | Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Kenya) | Michael Rothberg (UCLA) | Arundhati Roy (India)

If Anglophone literatures and cultures worldwide once sprang from a contested terrain of solidarities emerging in the shadow of colonialism, many of them have been struggling with the legacies of these solidarities, with ideals of liberation that turned into new forms of oppression, and with the clamorous or muted appeal of old and new victimhoods for more than half a century now. Ethnic, racial or national victimhood and solidarity have been invoked in a cynical politics of exclusion all over the globe – from an aggressive assertion of Hindu hegemony in India to the militant Buddhism in the guise of nationalism in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, the abuse of anticolonialism as an ideology of oppression in Zimbabwe. In a quite different setting, victimhood has also become a mainspring of the anxiety-infested xenophobia spawned by right-wing populism in contemporary Europe. At the same time, the oppression of minorities and the plight of political, economic and environmental refugees has generated new forms of sociality as well as solidarity.

While the 21st century has seen the exhaustion of ‘enchanted’ or ‘unconditional’ solidarities rallying around idealized images of oppressed ‘postcolonial’ or ‘third world’ collectivities, sections of academia continue to see ‘resistance’ as form of catharsis, or even a panacea for a myriad of victimhoods and grievances. Yet, Anglophone literary texts and cultural productions themselves have long since engaged in self-reflexive encounters that have undermined trite formulations of perpetrators and victims and have explored the tribulations of what Michael Rothberg has recently called ‘implicated subjects’ (2019): all modern subjects are involuntarily implicated both in the history of oppression and victimhood, often simultaneously – not only in the formerly colonizing, but also in the formerly colonized regions of the world. More often than not, these implications, which call for a ‘disenchanted’ or ‘conditional’ solidarity that holds the abuses of victimhood in the name of agency accountable, cut across habitual East/West or North/South divides: as large parts of the world are rightly admiring civil resistance against the current military rulers of Myanmar and deploring the overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi, the memory of how her own government was complicit with the persecution of the Rohingya minority in Burma seems to be waning. At the same time, European admonitions to respect democracy and protect the Rohingya refugees are timely but hardly beyond reproof given the background of calculated misery in its refugee camps in the Mediterranean and unceasing daily deaths at its external frontiers.

The 2022 Annual Conference of the Association for Postcolonial Anglophone Studies (GAPS) will engage in a wide-ranging reassessment of implicated subjects, of the uses and abuses of victimhood, of different forms of agency, and of the manifold implications of English as a medium of literary and cultural expression in anglophone literatures, cultures and media. Participants are invited to scrutinize fictional encounters with ‘internal’ forms of oppression, with the ‘enemy within’ (Nandy) and ‘the danger of a single story’ (Adichie), or the excessive display of wealth and power by local bourgeoisies (Mbembe). They are also encouraged to engage in a self-reflexive discussion on the role of ‘unconditional’ and ‘conditional’ solidarities in Anglophone literary cultures and on the role of victimhood in recent debates on globalization, world literature and the Anthropocene. Furthermore, participants may wish to tackle the new solidarities expressed through concepts such as cosmopolitanism (Appiah), Afropolitanism (Selasi), conviviality (Gilroy) or environmental justice and to explore the role of anglophone literatures and cultures as ‘resources of hope’ (Raymond Williams). Participants are further welcome to focus on transitions from a politics of victimhood to a poetics of agency in anglophone literatures and cultures and to scrutinize the role of English in plurilingual contact zones across the world.

Conference convenors: Dr. Pavan Kumar Malreddy and Prof. Dr. Frank Schulze-Engler, Institute for English and American Studies, Goethe University Frankfurt.

Contact: info@gaps2022.com

Please find out more on the conference’s website.

Posted by Moving Cultures-Team in General

New Publication by Moving Cultures Professor Emeritus Jürgen Erfurt: Transkulturalität – Prozesse und Perspektiven

Der Band befasst sich mit kulturellen Verflechtungs- und Austauschbeziehungen. Er geht davon aus, dass sich Gemeinschaften wie Individuen mit ihren Sprachen, Literaturen, Medien nicht in ethnisch abgeschlossenen, sprachlich homogenen und territorial abgegrenzten Räumen konstituieren, sondern durch Verflechtungen, die sich im Wesentlichen aus Migration, Mobilität und Kontakt ergeben. Er geht der Frage nach, was es bedeutet, wenn sich Kulturen in ihrer Verschiedenheit begegnen und der Kontakt zwischen ihnen auf Aushandlungsprozesse angewiesen ist. Anliegen des Buchs ist, einige der für Transkulturalität zentralen Forschungsfelder und Konzepte wie Hybridität, Translatio, migrantisches Schreiben, Erinnerung, Sprachbiographie, Diaspora, Kosmopolitismus u.a. zu diskutieren und hierbei die Bedeutung von Sprache, Sprachen und Mehrsprachigkeit im Kontext von Transkulturalität auszuloten.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Erfurt lehrte und forschte von 1996 bis 2020 am Institut für Romanische Sprachen und Literaturen der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main.

Please find more information on the publisher’s website or access the book via the university’s library.

Posted by Moving Cultures-Team in General

NELK Research Colloquium Guest Lecture: Anna-Leena Toivanen

Anna-Leena Toivanen (University of Eastern Finland)

Reading Postcolonial Mobilities: A Mobility Studies Perspective on Afrodiasporic Return Travelogues

Thursday, Feb 17, 2022 6-8 pm, c.t. CET | ZOOM

Based on the premise that mobilities are full of meaning, mobility studies is a field that places the very act of movement at the centre of analysis. Approaching the mobility studies framework from a “mobility humanities” perspective and putting it into dialogue with postcolonial literary studies, this talk focuses on portrayals of modes of transportation in contemporary Anglo- and Francophone Afrodiasporic return travelogues by Michèle Rakotoson, Teju Cole, Nimrod, and Noo Saro-Wiwa. The analysis draws attention to the ways in which different mobility practices and modes of transport contribute to producing the meanings of space (place of return) and subjectivity (the diasporic returnee).

Dr Anna-Leena Toivanen is an Academy Research Fellow at the University of Eastern Finland. She acts as the literary studies subject editor of the Nordic Journal of African Studies. She has published widely on mobility-related themes in African literatures and her most recent articles feature in Urban Studies, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Transfers, and Mobilities. She is the author of Mobilities and Cosmopolitanisms in African and Afrodiasporic Literatures (Brill 2021).

Posted by Moving Cultures-Team in Events, General

THE FUTURE OF RETURNS: 
Can works of fiction precipitate restitution?

SHIFT Δ SESSION #2

THE FUTURE OF RETURNS

Can works of fiction precipitate restitution?

by SHIFT collective (FR/GER) and Down River Road (KE)

Saturday, January 29th, 2022 | 5 pm EAT / 3 pm CET | online event | please register here

The last few years have seen seismic shifts in the thinking around the restitution of objects held in institutions of the North to African countries. Yet, few objects have actually physically moved. We ask ourselves if this inertia is due to more than just politics and economics. Perhaps it is due to a lack of imagination. How can stories about the fate and ghosts of return help us imagine a future of restitution? Reparation? Home?

How does the future look from a point of restitution? What do the objects find when returning home? What communities gather around them? What histories, narratives and new sociabilities do they trigger and provoke?

The event marks the launch of a new collaborative project by the SHIFT collective and Down River Road, one of the journals currently contributing to the vividness of the literary scene in Nairobi and beyond: an anthology of short stories by Kenyan writers imagining the return of cultural objects back to Kenya. The event will be centered around the reading of the first short story in the anthology, followed by a discussion on a future of restitution and the place of fiction in imagining alternative futures.

Guests:

Alexis Teyie is a Kenyan writer and publisher. Currently Managing Editor, Down River Road.They are a co-founder of Enkare Review (c.2016), and Nairobi-based imprint, Magic Door (c.2020). Books include:  Short Cut  (2015), and  Clay Plates: Broken Records of Kiswahili Proverbs  (2016).

Felix Omondi is a poet, writer, community journalist and a podcaster. A recipient of the 2020 NF2W9 poetry scholarship with poems published in the third issue of down river road magazine. He also translates work into sheng.

Greenman Muleh Mbillo is an Akamba philosopher, artist and traditional healer according to the ancient practice of ‘Kamuti’ or ‘of the tree’. Greenman inherited this practice from birth and was later trained by Kanukwa, a female Akamba philosopher, who delivered him to be educated by Spirit. He is also a partaker of contemporary Western education through both established institutions and private education arrangement. Greenman’s main interests are directed to the archeology 1. of ancient knowledge systems and especially that of the Akamba people, and more broadly, of the Khemetic people who established the African continent.

Ray Mwihaki. Ray is often considered weird but she’d like to assure the general public that it really depends on the hour. She is a writer, reader, artist, mother… living in Nairobi. Her work has been published by Down River Road, World’s Loudest Library, Creative’s Garage, Omenana, The Poetry Project, Arizona State University and UNICEF.

Michelle K. Angwenyi is a writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She was shortlisted for the 2018 Brunel Africa International Poetry Prize, and for the 2017 Short Story Day Africa Prize. She has a chapbook, Grey Latitudes, forthcoming from Akashic Books and the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) in 2020.

Down River Road is an online and print journal that publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and ideas. “We are interested in the margins, in the shifting centres and the new spaces that exist in what we’ve come to call the alternative. We are curious about how we can all imagine and create this world, build this world, shape this small corner of the Internet into a place we can claim.”

SHIFT (Sam Hopkins, Marian Nur Goni, Simon Rittmeier) is a transnational collective working on the intersection of art and research, particularly on issues related to African objects diaspora in the aftermath of colonialism and imperialism.

The event is part of the “Invisible Inventories” exhibition at the Weltkulturenmuseum Frankfurt / Germany

Posted by Moving Cultures-Team in Events, General

Student Assistant Position Available

Prof. Frank Schulze-Engler is looking for a Student Assistant to help with organizing editorial work for an international journal

Duration: 20 hours per month from February 2022 to March 2023
Qualifications: Excellent knowledge of English, advanced organisational skills, willingness to work with online editorial computer software.
Applications: Please send your application letter and CV directly to Prof. Dr. Frank Schulze-Engler (schulze-engler@nelk.uni-frankfurt.de).
Deadline: 24.01.2022

Posted by Moving Cultures-Team in General

New Frontiers in Memory Studies Lecture Series: John Sutton

John Sutton (Durham University)

Memory and Distributed Cognition: Inhabiting the Past Together – Notes on Place, Memory, and Re-enactment

Tuesday 30 November 6:15 pm | online via Zoom –> register here

Place and memory are deeply entangled. Their connections are studied in many disparate fields, which are often difficult to move between. After outlining a broadly ‘cognitive-ecological’ framework for understanding ‘place memory’ across distinctive contexts, this talk tries to open some pathways between distinct disciplinary sectors by sketching ideas on two related topics. First, how are the sciences of spatial cognition addressing deep embodied familiarity with places, with specific landscapes or cityscapes or taskscapes, as opposed to the navigation of new or artificial environments? Second, zooming in on social aspects of place memory, what differences does it make when people can collaborate in finding ways to inhabit old or new places together? Here, with reference to historical and contemporary examples from literature, architecture, and performance, I discuss some emotional and political challenges of dealing with historically difficult heritage, and some creative collaborative ways of doing so.

John Sutton‘s research addresses memory, skill, and cognitive history. He is author of Philosophy and Memory Traces: Descartes to Connectionism. His most recent co-edited volume, with Kath Bicknell, is Collaborative Embodied Performance: Ecologies of Skill, which will be published by Bloomsbury in January. Sutton is currently spending a term as Visiting Fellow at Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study working on their interdisciplinary project Representing Memory.

New Frontiers in Memory Studies is a lecture series by the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform.

Posted by Moving Cultures-Team in Events, General
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