Philosophische Fakultät

Writing the Home

Subjectivities of Being in the Global South

Co-convened by the Center for Gender and Diversity Research, University of Tübingen

Thursday 16 July / 14:00 - 16:00 (CEST)

Conference Panel with:

Dr. Amina ElHalawani (Alexandria University)
Timo Stösser (University of Tübingen)
Tsangue Douanla (University of Koblenz-Landau)
Dr. Diego Amaral (Fluminese Federal University)

Moderation by Dr. Gero Bauer (University of Tübingen)

Acknowledging the importance of defining “home” in discussions on “wellbeing”, this panel builds on notions of “home” proposed and discussed at the International Workshop “Literatures and Cultures of Homes in the Making”, organized by the Center for Gender and Diversity Research and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Global South Studies at the University of Tübingen, along with the Faculty of Arts, Alexandria University in December 2019. This panel, extending on the conversations at the workshop, views home as more than just a location: as a feeling, a thought, an ideal, evoked through interaction between human beings and their surroundings. It thus aims to look at narratives of “home” as subjectivities of being. As such, the panel will bring together four different papers, which put into conversation reveal variable manifestations of home narratives

Douanla’s paper focuses on the different female subjectivities that are forged through the complex interplay between the different scales and dimensions of home depicted in Werewere Liking’s Amputated Memory. Drawing on Blunt and Dowling’s concepts of home as multidimensional and multi-scalar as well as Michael Rothberg’s concept of Implicated Subjectivities, this paper argues that, amid the ambivalence surrounding female negotiations of viable forms of life, the novel clears up a promising space for an alternative politics of home and postcolonial entanglements. 

ElHalawani’s paper moves a step further away from social entanglement and into individual subjectivity. Through a reading of John Hughes’ The Idea of Home (2004) and Nada Awar Jarrar’s Somewhere, Home (2002), it argues that “home” for displaced individuals can best be seen in a series of processes of writing and erasure, or recalling memories and forgetting, creating an imagined space of comfort.

Amaral's paper discusses the temporal dimensions implicated in the notion of "home" in Elia Suleiman's filmography. More specifically, it shall discuss the strategies adopted by Suleiman, a filmmaker in exile, to look at his former "home" and homeland. This discussion will be based on Suleiman's semi-autobiographical films Chronicles of a disappearance (1996) and The time that remains: Chronicles of an absent present (2009).

Stösser’s paper pushes the notion of “home” even further away from simple locatedness, suggesting that in our contemporary world home is an existential dual state, a “real” space and a “virtual ‘home’” (McLean 2010) in the digital space, as presented in a novel like Adichie’s Americanah, whose media-savvy blogging protagonist exposes a form of digital transnationalism, demonstrating how we are situated not only socially, but also digitally. 

Through studying the notion of ‘home’ in a variety of literary works from the Global South, beyond the prism of territoriality and/or postcolonial studies, this panel seeks to come up with a means of dealing with home narratives of the South which acknowledges the subjectivity as well as the complexity of both being and belonging.

Biographies of Speakers

Amina ElHalawani

Amina ElHalawani is a Lecturer of English and Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Arts, Alexandria University. Having finished her BA and MA in English Literature at Alexandria University, ElHalawani pursued her PhD in Comparative Literature within the framework of the Erasmus Mundus program "Cultural Studies in Literary Interzones" at the Universities of Perpignan in France and Tübingen in Germany with a dissertation entitled: “Staging Revolutions: A Comparative Study of Irish and Egyptian Theatre”. During the program, ElHalawani also spent research stays at the University of Bergamo in Italy and the University of Sydney in Australia. In 2012, before pursuing the PhD, ElHalawani also won a Fulbright Assistantship, where she spent an academic year in the United States teaching classes on Arabic language and culture, as well as comparative literature. ElHalawani’s current research interests include: modes of resistance and revolution in literature; performance as an act of subversion; 20th century drama; theatre of the absurd; trauma and memory; post-coloniality and the Global South.

Tsangue Douanla Didymus

Tsangue Douanla Didymus is a teaching assistant at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau since July 2018. He is also working on his doctorate titled ‘Narrating Entangled Homes in selected Cameroonian novels”. From 2016-2018, he taught Oral Literature, and English as a Foreign Language at the Higher Teacher Training College of the University of Yaoundé I and Communication in English at the Pan-African Institute for Development Africa, in Yaoundé, Cameroon. He is also one of the contributors and reviewers of the African team of Our Mythical Childhood International Project with headquarters in Warsaw Poland. He obtained his Masters in 2014 from the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon on Ethnicity and Equality of Opportunity in J. M. Coetzee’s Fiction. His research interests also include Mythology, Feminism, Gender Studies, Ethnicity, Biopolitics, Cultural Memory Studies, in (but not limited to) the fiction of J. M. Coetzee, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Chinua Achebe, and many Cameroonian writers among others.

Timo Stösser

Timo Stösser took his Magister in English and Comparative Literary Studies in Tübingen. His PhD research deals with digital literary annotation and how digital réecriture interacts with our ways of understanding texts. To this end, he turned to the Digital Humanities for seeking out ways to qualitatively study texts digitally. In the meantime, he taught courses on cultural nostalgia, popular culture in literature and other media, and the literature of the Thatcher Era.

Diego Amaral

Diego Amaral has a BA in Communications from Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) with a Master's Degree in Communications from the same institution. He successfully defended his PhD thesis "Resistance Time: An Atlas of Conflicted Temporalities" in a cotutelle between the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) and the University of Tübingen (EKUT). Amaral is affiliated to [LAN] Media Narratives Experimentation and Research Laboratory (UFF/CNPq).