Heimat and belonging always were contested concepts and are especially currently so. On the one hand they are claimed in an exclusivist spirit by the identitarian movement and populist neo-nationalists. On the other hand it is discussed how they can be renegotiated in an inclusive manner to capture the experiences of migrants, be they new arrivals, second or third generation. The wider context of this renewed interest in Heimat and belonging is of course globalisation. One of the most important and least understood cultural effects of globalisation might well be the weakening of the relationship between place and identity. Drawing on cultural theories of globalisation, this lecture will examine how increased mobility and global connectivity impact on our sense of place and what consequences that might have on notions such as belonging, citizenship or agency. The lecture will take examples from Swiss contemporary literature to look at cultural and literary narratives of rootedness, migration, displacement and reembedding. It will juxtapose texts by Thomas Hürlimann from the centre of Switzerland in the Alps and Melinda Nadj Abonji, who came to Zürich as a young woman from the Vojvodina in then Yugoslavia.
Moderation: Sinah Kloß (Köln)
The event is public, guests are welcome.