Advertisement

Migratory Angels: The Political Aesthetics of Border Trauma

  • Johan SchimanskiEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies book series (PMMS)

Abstract

Post-traumatic conditions are the result of wounds crossing bodily or psychic borders. At the same time, crossing territorial borders can cause traumas. How do migration narratives figure the traumatic effects of border-crossings? To answer this question, I apply a border aesthetics approach, arguing that the borderings of what may be sensed (cf. Jacques Rancière’s concept of the partage de sensible, the “distribution of the sensible”) in the borderscapes of migration narratives are often regulated by the epistemological borderings that take place in the fixations, substitutions and blind spots of trauma. I suggest that migration literature can combine different styles of presentation—for example, images and narrative—in order to create new forms of political aesthetics and counteract the desensitizing logic of media spectacle.

Keywords

Migration Borders Trauma Aesthetics 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank audiences and interlocutors for their highly useful comments at presentations of various versions of this material—at the “Traumatized Borders” kick-off seminar in Joensuu, the master’s and doctoral student seminar Wolfgang Müller-Funk and Anna Babka arranged in Vienna, the “Border Images, Border Narratives” symposium in Joensuu, and the “Borderscapes, Memory and Migration” workshop in Copenhagen. Thanks also to Mats Henricsson for confirming my understanding of Swedish phrases. My research was carried out as part of the NOS-HS workshop series “Borderscapes, Memory and Migration”, and is a product of work within the EUBORDERSCAPES project (FP7-SSH-2011-1-Area 4.2.1-290775).

References

  1. Ahmed, Roda. 2009. Forberedelsen. Oslo: Gyldendal. Original edition, 2008.Google Scholar
  2. Amelie, Maria. 2014. Takk. Oslo: Pax.Google Scholar
  3. Anyuru, Johannes. 2013. En Storm kom från paradiset. Stockholm: Norstedts. Original edition, 2012.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2015. A Storm Blew in From Paradise. Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles. London: World Editions.Google Scholar
  5. Baer, Ulrich. 2002. Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bal, Mieke. 1999. Introduction. In Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present, ed. Mieke Bal, Jonathan Crewe, and Leo Spitzer, vii–xvii. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  7. Barthes, Roland. 1981. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Translated by Richard Howard. New York: Hill & Wang/The Noonday Press.Google Scholar
  8. Benjamin, Walter. 1969. Theses on the Philosophy of History. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, 253–264. New York: Schocken Books.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1991a. Agesilaus Santander. In Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Schweppenhäuser, vol. 4, 520–523. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1991b. Über den Begriff der Geschichte. In Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Schweppenhäuser, vol. 1.2, 691–704. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  11. Brambilla, Chiara. 2015. Exploring the Critical Potential of the Borderscapes Concept. Geopolitics 20 (1): 14–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brambilla, Chiara, and Holger Pötzsch. 2017. In/visibility. In Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections, ed. Johan Schimanski and Stephen F. Wolfe, 68–89. New York: Berghahn.Google Scholar
  13. Caruth, Cathy. 1996. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Castillo, Debra A. 2007. Borders, Identities, Objects. In Border Poetics De-limited, ed. Johan Schimanski and Stephen Wolfe, 115–148. Hannover: Wehrhahn.Google Scholar
  15. Görling, Reinhold. 1998. Trauma and Remembrance: The Body as Rhetorical Figure. In The Poetics of Memory, ed. Thomas Wägenbaur, 305–311. Tübingen: Stauffenberg.Google Scholar
  16. Langås, Unni. 2015. Traumets betydning i norsk samtidslitteratur. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget/Landslaget for norskundervisning.Google Scholar
  17. Lichtenberg-Ettinger, Bracha. 1994. The Becoming Threshold of Matrixial Borderlines. In Travellers’ Tales: Narratives of Home and Displacement, ed. George Robertson et al. 38–62. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. rab. 2018. Relativ schrecklich. Der Standard, July 9, 1.Google Scholar
  19. Rancière, Jacques. 2004. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. Translated by Gabriel Rockhill. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 2010. Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. Translated by Steven Corcoran. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  21. Schimanski, Johan. 2006. Crossing and Reading: Notes Towards a Theory and a Method. Nordlit 19: 41–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. ———. 2017. Reading from the Border. In The Future of Literary Studies, ed. Jakob Lothe, 61–71. Oslo: Novus.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 2017/2018. Frontières de verre/Glass Borders. antiAtlas Journal (2): 1–27.Google Scholar
  24. Sebald, W.G. 2001. Austerlitz. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer Taschenbuch.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations