Narrating Beyond the National. (Post-)Imperial Spaces in Eastern European Literature
The project examines comparable spatial structures in the cultural memory of the post-imperial and the post-socialist areas in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe (CESEE). The term 'empire' here refers to transnational structures in CESEE (Habsburg Monarchy, the Ottoman and Russian Empires, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, etc), as well as to the Soviet sphere of influence and former Yugoslavia.
Of special interest are phenomena manifesting themselves beyond national boundaries and which have recently re-gained attention – these transnational cultural memories are of crucial importance for the cultural self-image and the self-conception of a unifying Europe: its Eastern part is a source of comparatively recent transregional and transnational experiences.
Using this as the project's starting point means that it has, from the onset, a transnational perspective. The main focus is on literature's special ability to model the complex, multi-layered, even paradox and phantastic spaces of cultural memory. The texts are to be questioned on how their specific mediality constructs, reflects, imagines, but also thwarts spaces in the cultural memory, and which narrative strategies are used to do so.
The project is part of the Centre of Competence Cultural Topographies and is financed by the University of Basel Research Fund. It is supported by a closely cooperating international group of researchers.
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