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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Transgressive topographien in der turkisch-deutschen post-migrantenliteratur Lornsen, Karin


Over the past two decades the contribution of postmigrant literature to Germany's literary landscape has attracted significant scholarly interest. This study investigates selected prose of Turkish-German authors. Six primary texts are reconceived as "transgressive" as they intervene in contemporary spatial, especially urban and global discourses. They employ diverse "spatial tactics" by citing conventional dichotomies (local-global, West-East) in order to abandon and replace them subsequently with dynamic views on space and time. This thesis proposes a new theoretical model of literary analyses in order to grasp the multidimensional aspects of space. Thereby, Lotman's cultural semiotics is used as springboard to expand the model throughout the readings of the texts. By including additional theories on space from disciplines such as gender studies (Gleber; Weigel), urban geography(Lynch; Downs/Stea), cultural-historical psychology (Nora; Assmann) and postcolonial criticism (Said), this analysis focuses on narrative strategies that challenge physical and conceptual concepts of boundaries. The originality of this approach lies in a perceptive, thorough reading of textual productions of space that refrains from pinpointing the texts as homogenous minority literature. The theoretical model examines spatial motifs and themes inherent in the primary texts while disregarding the alleged "foreignness" of the authors. Each of the main chapters discusses two works focusing on the dimensions gender-space, memory-space and geography-space: Emine S. Ozdamar's Die Brikke vom Goldenen Horn and Aysel Ozakin's Die Blaue Maske are analyzed as novels transgressing gender-coded urban spaces. The Berlin settings in Aras Oren's Berlin Savignyplatz and Zafer Senocak's Gefahrliche Verwandtschaft are conceived as multi-discursive fragments shedding new light on German "realms of memory". Yade Kara's Selam Berlin and Feridun Zaimoglu's Zwolf Gramm Gluck are investigated in relation to "glocal" dislocations and Oriental imaginations. This dissertation makes two key contributions to German literary studies: First, it proposes an alternative reading to the common practice of categorizing postmigrant literature by cultural heritage and generation by putting forward the idea that writers adopt manifold perspectives on spatial configurations. Second, by reading literary spaces through an alternate disciplinary lens, this dissertation reads the texts as multilayered complexities of spatial presentations and advocates a comparative, text-centered method of literary analysis.

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