Ústav pro českou literaturu AV ČR Institute of Czech literature of the CAS
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Postmigrant Aesthetics: Autofiction and the Resistance of Subjectivity

LVF Katja Kobolt

An online lecture by Katja Kobolt (Institute of Culture and Memory Studies, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana) “Postmigrant Aesthetics: Autofiction and the Resistance of Subjectivity” will take place on May 16, 2023 at 5:00 pm. The lecture will be in English.

Watch the lecture at meet.google.com/jth-ttyv-pxt

Experience is at one always already an interpretation and something that needs to be interpreted. What counts as experience is neither self-evident nor straightforward; it is always contested and always therefore political.

(Scott, 1991: 797)


In this paper I will address discursivizing and representing of postmigrant experiences in autofictional writing by Dijana Matković (Ljubljana), particularly in her novel Zakaj ne pišem? (Eng. Why I do not write?), and in autofictional visual representations in selected lens-based and installation artworks by Anna Ehrenstein (Tirana/Berlin).

The term “postmigrant,” which originates in German cultural migration theory, encompasses cultural, political, institutional, structural, and social transformations at the core of “social negotiation processes that take place in the post-migration phase” (Foroutan, 2015). Operationalizing the concept of “postmigrant” for the study of autofictionality in slected writing by Dijana Matković and artworks by Anna Ehrenstein, I will pay attention to their modulations of postmigrant experience on the level of content, form and artistic subjectivity.

Following Erol Yildiz’s (2018) suggestion that postmigrant thinking is “a critical engagement with hegemonic knowledge production, a revision of what has been told and what has been left out,” I will, on the one hand, trace the identity constraints that both artists describe in their works—from gendering, migrantization, and also ethnicization, racialization to classism particularly. Second, I will reflect on “technologies of subjectivity in the textual [and visual] fabric” (Brinkler-Gabler, 1996: 401) as gestures of resistance. In other words, I will be interested in how the two artists, one a writer, the other a visual artist, present the pressures of identity politics and how they resist them. Productive over-identification seems to be a crucial component of their autofictionality. While autobiography as a genre relies on the assumption of identity between the extra-textual ‘I’ (author), the narrative ‘I’ (narrator), and the narrated ‘I’ (the narrated character) (Lejeune, 1994), autofiction, in contrast, acknowledges the gaps between the three narrative instances, opening up the space for a critical examination of the constitution of subjectivities and their resistance to the multiple pressures of identity violence.

Pozvánka Literárněvědné fórum Katja Kobolt