Closure of Conference project. Post-Conference Plans

Many many thanks to everyone who participated in the conference, to all those who presented papers, read their poetry or translations, contributed to discussions or just came to listen.

This blog will remain open as a record of the conference proceedings and will continue to include the programme, the abstracts of the presentations and the short biographies of the participants.

We have removed the conference papers from this site because we intend to include revised versions in a post-conference book. This book will not be a representation of the conference proceedings as such, however, but a volume of articles roughly reflecting the structure of the conference. The book will be edited by Ursula Philips, supported by a team of advisers (Urszula Chowaniec, Knut Andreas Grimstad, Kris Van Heuckelom and Elwira Grossman). It is expected that the volume will appear in 2013.

Should anyone wish to contact the authors of papers or read the original papers, please contact the conference organizer.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Kris van Heuckelom (Catholic University of Leuven)

Itinerant (Wo)Men. Migration and Inter-Ethnic Coupling in Recent Polish Prose
Throughout the 1990s, authors such as Manuela Gretkowska, Janusz Rudnicki, Krzysztof Maria Załuski, Izabela Filipiak i Bronisław Świderski have put much effort into coming to terms with the traditional commitments and expectations posed upon Polish émigré authors and in outlining the existential dilemmas and universal challenges faced by Poles living and working abroad in the post-89 era. The literary characters (and authors) embodying this new literary paradigm have been given manifold names: stipend-holders, cosmopolitans, semi-emigrants, transnationals, globetrotters, transmigrants, ...
New westbound migration waves in the years preceding and following Poland’s accession to the European Union seem to have consolidated and reinforced the topicality of migration-related issues in Polish literary and cultural discourses. The past few years have seen a remarkable outburst of creativity on the part of young – and not-so-young – authors providing fictional – and less fictional – accounts of their recent expat experiences. The list of books and authors involved includes, but is not limited to: Global Nation. Obrazki z czasów popkultury by Grzegorz Kopaczewski (2004), Własne miejsca by Ewa Tubylewicz (2005), Hotel Irlandia by Iwona Słabuszewska-Krauze (2006), Socjopata w Londynie by Daniel Koziarski (2007), Zajezdnia Londyn by Aleksander Kropiwnicki (2007), Przystupa by Grażyna Plebanek (2007), Dublin. Moja polska karma by Magdalena Orzeł (2007), Egri bikaver by Łukasz Suskiewicz (2009), Przebiegum życiae by Piotr Czerwiński (2009), Kara by Maja Wolny (2009), Polska szkoła boksu by Adam Miklasz (2009), Zielona wyspa by Mariusz Wieteska (2010), Karpie, łabędzie i Big Ben by Ada Martynowska (2010), and Nielegalne związki by Grażyna Plebanek (2010).
Most of the books involved feature narrators or protagonists in their twenties for whom the stay abroad takes on the form of a rite of passage. The immediate consequence of the departure is a detachment from familiar (parental/national) surroundings that seems to mark the transition from adolescence and immaturity towards adulthood and self-development. In this paper, I will investigate the way these recent migration/coming-of-age narratives deal with the issue of inter-ethnic coupling in the diasporic space. While the decision to leave the body of the nation can be seen as a first form of transgressive behaviour (especially in the case of women, whose traditional role as reproducers of the nation has tended to put limitations on their mobility), entering into a mixed relationship (and creating “hybrid” children) might be said to present an even greater challenge to traditional notions of Polishness. Therefore, this paper will look into the various rhetorical and representational strategies that are used in the literary construction of migration as a narrative of masculine and feminine identity.