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Diaspora and Memory

Figures of Displacement in Contemporary Literature, Arts and Politics

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Experiences of migration and dwelling-in-displacement impinge upon the lives of an ever increasing number of people worldwide, with business class comfort but more often with unrelenting violence. Since the early 1990s, the political and cultural realities of global migration have led to a growing interest in the different forms of “diasporic” existence and identities. The articles in this book do not focus on the<I> external</I> boundaries of diaspora – what is diasporic and what is not? – but on one of its most important<I> internal</I> boundaries, which is indicated by the second term in the title of this book: memory. It is not by chance that the<I> right</I> to remember, the<I> responsibility</I> to recall, are central issues of the debates in diasporic communities and their relation to their cultural and political surroundings. The relation of diaspora and memory contains important critical and maybe even subversive potentials. Memory can transcend the territorial logic of dispersal and return, and emerge as a competing source of diasporic identity. The articles in this volume explore how, shaped by the responsibilities of testimony as well as by the normalizing forces of amnesia and forgetting and political interests, memory is a performative, figurative process rather than a secure space of identity.

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