Assembling the refugee anthology

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There has been a sudden proliferation of short story anthologies published in response to the refugee ‘crisis’ of 2015 and the US travel ban of 2017. This article focuses on two of these collections (The Displaced and Banthology, both 2018) in order to ask: what makes an anthology better equipped than a single authored piece of writing to respond to contemporary themes such as migration and displacement? The answer might lie in their heterogeneous form, which allows anthologies to be assembled and reassembled by various stakeholders during their production and reception so that they mean differently in different times and places. Conceiving of the anthology as assemblage brings Deleuze and Guattari’s original concept into dialogue with newer notions of queer curation and postcolonial reading, and reveals anthologising processes of selecting and fitting elements together to be deliberate tactics. In particular, these processes highlight the agentic role of the reader, which allows them to make their own assemblages from the multiple interrelations that emerge between the anthology’s composite elements. Through developing this concept of assemblage reading I extend the framework of what we think of as a ‘refugee anthology’ to encompass a much wider range of acts of collective creation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal for Cultural Research
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date25 Sept 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sept 2019


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