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Often times, the so-called German ‘literature of migration’ has been the subject of general studies which regroup the works of several authors. This book, exclusively dedicated to the Syrian-born German author Rafik Schami (1946- ), intends to individualize his work and to consider it in its historicity and evolution. Building his novels and stories largely upon his ‘Oriental’ origins all-whilst writing in German, Schami instrumentalizes his prose, intertextual references and his own public and literary persona to connect himself to a certain lineage of discourse on the Orient and its Western reception. This book examines on the one hand the many postures of Schami’s intercultural authorship as they relate to storytelling between the East and the West, and on the other hand considers his work as an inquiry of power relations inherent to the interplay between the center and the periphery. Somewhere between popular literatüre and belles-lettres, the intercultural fictions of Rafik Schami are an attempt, even at times ambiguous, to introduce the Western reader to an elsewhere. This elsewhere, sometimes portrayed as the world of the worker or the immigrant in Germany, or as an Arab world vaguely defined and staged as an “Arabia”, and most frequently as Syria or Damascus, forms the core of Rafik Schami’s politico-cultural project which aspires to raise cultural awareness in his readers, and aims to interest them in the lives of the minorities.
Benoît Ellerbach is Assistant Professor of German Studies at Boğaziçi University since 2016. He is currently teaching German Literature and German Civilization in the Modern Languages Unit. He has written his Master’s Thesis on Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Theatrical Aesthetics (Sorbonne Université), holds an agrégation in German Studies and has completed his PhD in 2014 on Rafik Schami’s Works (Sorbonne Université). Between 2007 and 2012 he was a lecturer at University of Cologne (Germany), at University Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, at University of Artois and at Ecole Normale Supérieure – Rue d’Ulm (France). Between 2012 and 2015 he was a German Instructor at Boğaziçi University. His research interests include German Literature of Migration, Gastarbeiterliteratur, (Post-)orientalism and Postcolonialism in German Literature, Intercultural Authorship, Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Joseph Roth.
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