Memory and Diverse Belongings NUBS 1.13
Jul 05, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230705T1100 20230705T1230 Europe/London 3.1. Relationships and belonging NUBS 1.13 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
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Nations and emotions. Wartime love affairs in contemporary fiction
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
Love and intimate relations between German men and Norwegian women were a widespread phenomenon during WWII. Exactly how many women this includes, is uncertain; estimates vary from 30 000 to 120 000. These women were stigmatized, and their actions were strongly disgraced. Like in many other European countries, they were ostracized and humiliated after the war both by the government and by the civilian population. Many of these women, who were called 'tyskertøser' (whores of the Germans), were detained in internment camps, and some were even deported to Germany. The children of these unions received names like 'tyskerunger' (children of Germans) or 'naziyngel' (Nazi spawn). Women who married a German soldier lost their Norwegian citizenship, and as German citizens they were expelled from the country. In 2018, PM Erna Solberg officially apologized on behalf of the government for the offence of laws and human rights.

Contemporary literature and life writing have addressed this issue in different ways. I will primarily discuss the novel Blindgjengere (2019) by Atle Næss, who uses fiction to draw attention to the many conflicts and dilemmas that these wartime relationships provoked. The young man Sepp is a German solider sent to Norway, where he fells in love with the Norwegian girl Marit. They assume that their love can ignore and survive the war, but Næss leads them into situations where it becomes obvious that the national frames around their lives make individual choices and good intentions difficult, if not impossible. Sepp chooses to serve for Gestapo to get permission to marry Marit, an act that leads to the killing of her brother who is a resistance fighter. Marit chooses to go to Erfurt and his family with their child, but thereby loses her Norwegian citizenship and is denied return to her home country. In my paper, I will consider the concept of dispossession (Butler and Athanasiou 2013) and the politics of emotion (Ahmed 2005), to understand the tensions between national frames and personal emotions in times of war.
Presenters Unni Langås
Professor, University Of Agder
Memories of the Chilean Dictatorship from Exiles’ Children in Australia: Nostalgia and Identity
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
In this paper, I explore the memories of Chilean children who grew up in Australia due to the forced migration of their parents during the civic-military dictatorship led by Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). During 2020, as part of my doctoral research, I interviewed a total of 18 Chileans who were born in Australia or migrated with their families due to their parents' political affiliations. In the interviews, I asked them to tell me about their memories and experience of the dictatorship, which led us to talk about their upbringing in Australia and how they grew up with the knowledge that they were not in Chile due to political reasons. By analysing the themes and the affective dimensions of the interviews, I argue that the memories of children of exiles embody a tension between belonging and non-belonging. I argue this by exploring how these children grew up as being "Chileans in Australia", that is, with a sense of being Chilean and belonging to the Chilean community. This sense of belonging, however, was in tension with their everyday lives in Australia, as they were far from Chile and developed relations outside of the Chilean community, thus feeling Australians too. These tensions translated into an ambivalent sense of identity, of 'not being from here nor from there'; and into an acute nostalgia, as they spoke of a sense of disjunction from their (imagined) home in Chile. I conclude this paper exploring how families and communities mediate the memories of the dictatorship of the children of Chilean exiles in Australia. I argue that this mediation is crucial to understand the tensions involved in their identities and nostalgia, which may shed light on the role that communities play in the production of memories and belonging in contexts of migration, or in contexts where identity is not a given.
Presenters Nicolas Villarroel
PhD Candidate, Centre For Heritage And Museum Studies, Australian National University
Hopefulness in post-Yugoslav Yugonostalgia
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
In my paper, I will analyze two post-Yugoslav literary memory narratives, the (auto)biography My Parents: An Introduction/ This Does Not Belong to You (2019) by Aleksandar Hemon and the autobiographical novel Herkunft (2019) by Saša Stanišić. The two texts are selected as representative of the new shift in remembering the past in post-Yugoslav literature. This shift is analogous to the one happening in memory studies towards studying the future-oriented qualities of memory and going beyond the trauma paradigm (Rigney 2018). In the post-Yugoslav context, the link between trauma and memory has been particularly strong considering the recent wars of the 1990s and the ensuing historical revisionism that aims to obliterate Yugoslav history of antifascist struggle and solidarity and emphasizes (ethno-)national defeats and victimhood. My research comes from a recognition that the recent post-Yugoslav literary production brings new ways of engaging with the past, which has not been in this form theorized in the field of post-Yugoslav literary studies. 
The new way of approaching the past, I will argue, can be comprehensively described and explored through the concept of remembering hope by Ann Rigney, as well as the related theorizations of hope she builds upon, particularly Terry Eagleton's. However, I will also argue that in the post-Yugoslav context, hope cannot be disentangled from (Yugo)nostalgic perspectives, which have already been discussed as future-oriented nostalgia. Therefore, I will try to answer the following research questions: Is there hope in the Yugonostalgia of post-Yugoslav authors? What is hope for post-Yugoslavs/from the post-Yugoslav perspective?
After exploring the issue of how nostalgia informs hope, in the second step I will try to answer the question of how (Yugo)nostalgia informs a sense of identity for the two migrant post-Yugoslav writers? The way Yugonostalgia imbues belonging for the two authors, I will argue, is future-oriented and hopeful, albeit in ambivalent and complex ways. Both authors meticulously subvert all expectations of stable and coherent narratives of self and belonging, and the memory of the former socialist country is at the center of their projects. Their migrant positionality in the US (for Hemon) and Germany (for Stanišić), former Yugoslav identity, their parents' Yugoslav experience, their new family's/ partner's belonging, their present view on the post-Yugoslav region across the border, as well as on the host country – all of these mutually inform each other in multifarious ways.  
While working in post-Yugoslav studies I expect that my research will contribute to the field of transnational memory studies, and in particular to further development and affirmation of the relatively new and undertheorized concept of "remembering hope". Through my research, I will analyze whether and how is the memory of hope present in literary texts, which has not been previously explored and I will further bring the concept of hope together with the concept of (Yugo)nostalgia. Finally, I will engage with the imaginative power of literary texts to create new conceptions of identity and community.
Presenters Dara Sljukic
PhD Candidate, Central European University, Vienna
University of Agder
PhD Candidate
Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies, Australian National University
PhD Candidate
Central European University, Vienna
Jagiellonian University, Krakow
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