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Volume Published With Participation of Chemnitz University of Technology Takes Interdisciplinary Look at Narratives of Flight and Crises

English Studies scholars from Chemnitz University of Technology and Milan University present practical research results in a DAAD-funded publication

In recent years, migration, displacement, flight, and asylum have emerged as the most defining issues of our time. They shape various discourses and often trigger crisis narratives, such as the so-called "refugee crisis" of 2015. Since then, discussions from politics, society or the media about the challenges involved have increasingly taken center stage. These discussions are, moreover, dominated by xenophobia, deep-seated fears, or general skepticism. In light of these sometimes troubling developments, the long-standing collaboration between Chemnitz English Studies scholars and their Italian colleagues from Milan has resulted not only in a lively academic exchange with other international experts, but also in the publication of a new volume titled "Narrating Flight and Asylum". The editors are Prof. Dr. Cecile Sandten, professor of English Literatures at Chemnitz University of Technology, her research assistant Dr. Mandy Beck, and Claudia Gualtieri and Roberto Pedretti from the Department of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Mediations at the University of Milan. The volume is based on a 2019 conference and was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service as part of the University Dialogue with Southern Europe program.

"In the anthology, we want to shed light on how flight and asylum are narrated in literary, media, political, and legal texts or how they are represented in public institutions such as museums," says Prof. Cecile Sandten. The aim is to discuss which possibilities of intervention, questions of moral obligation or didactic approaches go hand in hand with this, she says. The various authors from literary and cultural studies, postcolonial and migration studies, education and legal studies deal with the question of how those affected by displacement, asylum seekers or refugees can be given a voice in order to tell their story. This potentially restores their identity in the public perception. "It is not uncommon for these groups of people to find themselves in situations where their identity is questioned, doubted or forgotten. For example, when they find themselves in limbo both spatially and temporally and must wait indefinitely for recognition and asylum," adds Mandy Beck.

The editors would like the volume to be understood as an inter- and transdisciplinary dialogue that explores diverse cultural narratives and seeks to capture the issues surrounding flight and asylum within and beyond Europe with new theoretical and methodological approaches.

Publication: Narrating Flight and Asylum. Eds.: Mandy Beck, Claudia Gualtieri, Roberto Pedretti and Cecile Sandten. Trier: WVT, 2022 Series CHAT: Chemnitzer Anglistik/Amerikanistik Today Vol. 11.

(Article: Matthias Fejes / Translation: Brent Benofsky)

Matthias Fejes

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