"Let me go back and recreate what I don't know": locating trans-national memory work in contemporary narrative

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Abstract

What are the narrative implications of working through aspects of an identity heritage that may have been partially or wholly lost through a family history of migration or diaspora? How do subjects access dislocated parts of their identity, and which strategies do they employ to (re-)create them within their stories? To explore such instances of what I term ‘by proxy’ diasporic experiences, I offer a comparative case study of three novels written by authors with family heritage from the Horn of Africa (Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, Dinaw Mengestu and Nadifa Mohamed), who are now active in different nations and languages. Highlighting the narrative strategies used to bridge the gap between past, present and future in the articulation of identity allows us to grasp the trans-national impact of diaspora mobility on memory work and privileges an awareness of the co-existence of different ‘pasts’ within national contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbermlo.v0i0.134
JournalModern Languages Open
Volume2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • Memory
  • Narrative
  • Identity
  • Diaspora
  • Trans-national

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