Tværfagligt valgfag, emne 6: Narratives of Migration after 1990


Migration as social, cultural and artistic phenomena. Transnational approaches to cultural and historical themes.


Theoretical approaches

Post-colonial concepts

Memory Studies

Migration Studies

Comparative literature

Reception studies


This course has the aim to provide a variety of case studies of migration narratives (e.g. from Germany, Italy, France, the Global-Anglophone world). The narratives will be contextualized historically and we will focus on similarities and differences between various migrant experiences and narratives.


Examples of cases would include:

  • German language literature:

Talking for the other: literature about migrants from Syria (JO);

Representing the East: literature by Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe (JO); Transnational circulation of war-time memory: Yugoslavian migrant literature 1 (JO); Writing immigration and racism: Turkish migrants (AS).

  • Literature in Italian:

Postcolonial identities, multiculturalism, migration and transnational intertextuality in works by authors with Algerian, Senegalese, Indian and Somalian roots. (PSL)

  • Literature in English and American:

London as represented by Indian, West Indian and African migrants (CL). Jewish migration to New York. Postmemory of migration (IBS). Transnational circulation of war-time memory: Yugoslavian migrant literature 2 (TA).


We will focus on common topics across our different cases and language areas


  • Racism and integration
  • Genre, style, narrative means of representation
  • Language as a meta-topic and means of agency
  • Identity
  • Transmission of (post)memory
  • Reception


The students will be presented for and work with defining the historical background and specific social conditions for migration within the different cases. On the backdrop of this knowledge, the students will analyze literary texts that are concerned with migration within the different contexts.

Engelsk titel

Interdisciplinary Elective Subject, topic 6: Narratives of Migration after 1990

  • Learn how to combine different disciplinary perspectives on migration (history, literary studies, and memory studies)
  • Understand the historic background for migration in different areas and social and cultural contexts, its challenges as well as popular and political reactions
  • Analyze artistic expressions about migration (produced by migrants or natives from the host country)
  • Learn how to compare case studies from different geographical, social and linguistic fields.

We will read some common texts that cover the different language areas (three to four novels and some short stories).

Students are requested to read texts in their primary language. Translations into English or Danish will be provided. The students will be invited to reader supplementary text in their own language.

In the first weeks of the course, we will establish a common theoretical background and define the central concepts for our analysis. These include relevant concepts from comparative literature, post-colonial theory, migration studies, reception as well as transnational/​transcultural methods of analyzing literature and memory beyond methodological nationalism.

After the introductory weeks, the course consists of a combination of lectures and seminars in which the different case studies will be presented.

Finally, the students will work in groups of minimum two with a self-chosen case. The students will present their chosen cases and methodological approach in turn.

The student’s independent work with a chosen subject theme is requested to have a comparative/​transnational aim. Nevertheless, it is also possible to choose one area as primary core of the project and point out similarities or significant differences to other narrative traditions.

Novels, short stories, theoretical articles and other text material. A sample of relevant articles will be available at Absalon in electronic form. The students may have to provide a couple of novels via the library or bookshop as well.

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