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Helga Mitterbauer

Figurations of Migration (09.06.2015)

Migration in our contemporary globalized world is a phenomenon reaching far beyond the dichotomizing perspective raised by Georg Simmel in his essay on “The Stranger”. No longer, can concepts of identity be brought to the formula of a “person who comes today and stays tomorrow”. In contemporary literature, we rather find different forms of identity, such as diaspora, cosmopolitanism and nomadism as well as characters, such as the traveller, or the party girl as a new variation of Benjamin’s flâneur, etc.

The lecture will scrutinize these figurations of migration based on an intersectional approach that brings together these concepts of identity with theories of cultural memory (Halbwachs, Assmann, Erll/Nünning et al.) and which is based on Anglo-American Post Colonial Studies and the Francophone concepts of Métissage and Créolisation. The theoretical reflection will be exemplified by selected literary texts (published in German speaking countries for a German speaking audience) dealing with immigration from Central and Eastern European countries.


Prof. Dr. Helga Mitterbauer

Austrian Visiting Associate Professor at University of Alberta

Main Research Interests

  • Austrian and German Literature of the 18th to the 21st Century
  • Modern Novel, Literary Theory, esp. Transcultural Studies, Cultural Transfers
  • Relations between Austrian und (Central) European Literature, Migration in Literature.
  • Figurations of Migration

Publications (selected)

  • With Christa Gürtler: Elfriede Gerstl:Werke, vol. 1: Mittellange Minis. Graz: Droschl, 2012.

  • With András F. Balogh: Gedächtnis und Erinnerung in Zentraleuropa. Vienna: Praesens, 2012.

  • With Federico Celestini: Ver-rückte Kulturen. Zur Dynamik kultureller Transfers. 2. Aufl. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2011.

  • Postkoloniale Konzepte in der Erforschung kultureller Transferkonzepte. In: Diethild Hüchtker, Alfried Kliems (eds.): Überbringen – Überformen – Überblenden. Theorietransfer im 20. Jahrhundert. Cologne, Weimar, Vienna: Böhlau, 2011, 75-89.