Niels Springveld | Europe Degree Zero: Community, Inoperativity, and Storytelling in Pieter de Buysser’s De keisnijders

29.1 The State of Europe

Abstract

This article considers Pieter de Buysser’s recent speculative novel De keisnijders (2012) from the perspective of the post-structuralist rethinking of the idea of Europe and the concept of community, as undertaken by Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy respectively. Set halfway into the twenty-first century, De keisnijders depicts a (pseudo-) utopian enclave in the center of Berlin, frequented by individuals from all over the world and from practically all social strata. Unlike traditional utopias, the community does not revolve around a political blueprint or shared essence, but around philosophical speculation and storytelling. The characters in De keisnijders seek to fundamentally rethink the possibilities for a common, transnational identity, while at the same time attempting to think community in a non-identitarian, non-organicist manner.

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June 26th, 2016

Talitha Hunnik | Countering European Aphasia of the Porajmos: Dites-le avec des Pleurs as Autoethnography

29.1 The State of Europe

Abstract

This article is concerned with European aphasia of the Porajmos (that is, the Nazi genocide of those labelled as Gypsies), the inability to link past antiziganism to the present, and how the Romani author Matéo Maximoff attempted to overcome this particular break with his semi-autobiographical novel Dites-le avec des Pleurs. Approaching Dites as an instance of autoethnographic expression, I argue that Dites mediates between Romani and non-Romani Europeans and between Europe’s past and present.

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June 26th, 2016

Anouk Zuurmond | Shared Stories and Creative Dissonances: How Can Literature Contribute to Current Reflections on European Identity?

29.1 The State of Europe

Abstract

Over the past years, European cultural organizations have initiated several transnational literary projects to reflect on what binds Europeans together. As part of a research project that examines what role these literary projects play in the debate on European identity, this article explores expectations held by the organizers of these initiatives. Drawing on discourse analysis, documents such as project plans are researched to examine discourses on European political and cultural identity, as well as the main argumentative strategies deployed by organizations to legitimize the literary contribution to the debate on Europe as a unity.

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June 26th, 2016

Susanne C. Knittel | The Ruins of Europe: Milo Rau’s Europe Trilogy and the (Re)Mediation of the Real

29.1 The State of Europe

Abstract

This paper takes Milo Rau’s Europe Trilogy as a prism through which to examine the potential of theater as a medium not only for political and social critique, but also for presenting an alternative European imaginary and community of memory. The Civil Wars (2014), The Dark Ages (2015), and Empire (2016) explore the foundations of European memory and identity against the backdrop of war and genocide, religious fundamentalism, exile and displacement. Structured around the points of intersection between the actors’ own lives and key events in recent European history, the trilogy troubles the distinction between reality and artifice, representation and reportage, and deconstructs the single narrative of European memory by multiplying voices and stories, emphasizing the transcultural interconnectedness of present-day Europeans.

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June 26th, 2016

Christoph Parry | Rethinking Europe: Overcoming National Confines in Twentieth-Century Literature

29.1 The State of Europe

Abstract

This paper deals with the relationship between national and supranational literary contexts drawing on Pascale Casanova’s idea of a “World Republic of Letters” with its give and take between centre and periphery. James Joyce and Joseph Roth are then discussed as cosmopolitan authors who for different reasons moved out of their national contexts in the first half of the twentieth century. Finally, attention is turned to the impact of migrant writers on European literatures today and the challenge presented by enhanced global mobility to traditional conceptions of what comprises European cultural identity.

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June 26th, 2016

Iain Chambers | Europe, Where Are We Now?

29.1 The State of Europe

Abstract

This short essay seeks to consider the present crisis of Europe in the light of its constitutive colonial formation. The argument is made that such a past is not over; rather it continues to shape the polity and culture of contemporary Europe. Both institutional and informal responses to modern day migration have rapidly revealed the facility with which that archive can be activated. Excavating and traversing that same archive with a diverse critical compass, and in the company of the contemporary postcolonial arts, makes the case for another Europe.

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June 26th, 2016