Critical Collection: Passing Through home: Space as Process in U.S. Ethnic Narratives of Return (July 20, 2011)

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Universitat Pompeu Fabra
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Passing Through home: Space as Process in U.S. Ethnic Narratives of Return

Essays are sought for a critical collection that explores the ways in which practices of displacement and travel emerge as constitutive of cultural identity in contemporary U.S. ethnic narratives of return. Ethnic subjects’ “roots/routes” (Clifford), that is, their local social networks and practices, their family relationships across space, and their imaginary representations of space, configure mobile, transitive geographies which are an integral part of the construction and negotiation of identity, belonging and notions of “home.” Of particular relevance in these texts may be the nostalgic family narrative constructed around the “myth of return,” imbued with personal and collective meanings that may be problematized by cultural differences and the process of social adjustment in the original homeland. In addition, narratives of return may act as important socio-cultural resources in sustaining an emotional attachment to the family homeland of country of origin. The volume seeks to position and contextualize these issues within the growing awareness of the role that place and environment play in the literary and cultural construction of identity. Space will be understood here as a terrain of power and contestation which itself is actively produced and re-produced (Lefebvre). With the increased mobility across frontiers and the advent of globalization, texts dealing with “passing through home” necessarily cope with the attendant phenomena of “disembedding” (Giddens) and deterritorialization (Tomlinson) that characterize the “logic of late capitalism” (Jameson). In a world where “multiple anchorages” (Alexander) have become more and more common, and where “transnational” identities and geographies have emerged, it becomes more urgent than ever to delve into the strategies of identity-formation and identity-reformulation through processual space in narratives of return.

500-word abstracts are to be sent to Maria Antònia Oliver Rotger ( as email attachments no later than July 20, 2011. Final papers (6000-7000 words) will be due on November 30, 2011. Author names should not appear on the abstract; please list contact information in a separate attachment.

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