Migrants’ Literature in Postwar Germany

Author: Alfred L. Cobbs
Year:2007
Pages:204
ISBN:0-7734-5475-6
978-0-7734-5475-0
Price:179.95
The question of “identity” and “citizenship” in contemporary German society as a whole has resurfaced as an issue since unification, and the term “multicultural society” has became an important theme in the reexamination of the question of what it means to be “German,” not only for citizens of the former FRG and the GDR, for the newly emerging German Jewish community, but also for the foreign migrants who have lived and worked in the FRG since the early 1960s. This study discusses a selection of texts – by and about foreign migrants in the Federal Republic – in which the main characters assert their ethnic or cultural identity and/or oppositional political consciousness against that of the majority culture. Such an emphasis foregrounds the issues of “identity” and “citizenship,” which are central to a discussion of whether and/or to what degree the Federal Republic has become a multicultural society since unification.

Reviews

“. . . this study offers an important corrective to a current phenomenon in migrants’ literature studies that has singled out a fairly narrow body of texts as being particularly rewarding for literary analysis. It goes back to works of migrants’ literature of previous decades whose relevance for today’s debates has by no means been properly accounted for. Beyond that, it follows up on the problems of their current reception, thereby demonstrating that initial mistakes in policy-making still thwart even the best intentions. Hence, efforts to improve the current situation of migrant groups in German-speaking countries often fall short, but this study will help clarify how the present situation has come about and offers alternative ways of viewing it.” – (from the Preface) Professor Friedemann Weidauer, University of Connecticut

“ ... As a whole, this study is a convincing example of ‘German Cultural Studies’ and is to be recommended as an excellent introduction to the topic that also contains much information for the more advanced scholar and teacher.”– Professor Elke Frederiksen, University of Maryland

“Dr. Cobbs’ attention to the complex historical backdrop, especially Germany’s “Sonderweg” – the country’s late emergence as a nation-state and the consequent need for an identity based on a common language, ancestry, and culture, as conceived by Herder – will be of greatest interest to scholars of cultural studies and identity politics.” – Professor Kamakshi P. Murti, Middlebury College

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1 Ausländerpolitik and the Politics of Identity
2 Migrants’ Literature in the Federal Republic and Its Evolution
3 A Critique of Turkish Economic Reform as Reflected in the Berlin Trilogy Poems by the Writer Aras Ören
4 The Quest for Self in Akif Pirinçci’s Quasi-Autobiographical Novel Tränen sind immer das Ende
5 Alienation, the Antihero, and the Loss of Self in Adalet A?ao?lu’s Novel Die zarte Rose meiner Sehnsucht
6 The Themes of Integration, Assimilation, and Cultural Conflict in the Shorter Prose Works of Rafik Schami
7 Social Integration as Theme: The Satires of Sinasi Dikmen
8 Refugees and Seekers of Political Asylum in Germany (and Switzerland): The Films Drachenfutter and Reise der Hoffnung, and the Detective Novel Ein Mann, Ein Mord
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index