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Prizeworthiness: Kinship Beyond Literary Nationalism (2024-)

State-funded literary prizes often (re-)produce normative notions of the nation as a community and concomitant conceptions of literary value (‘prizeworthiness’). This project, however, will focus on cases in which prizeworthiness eludes the boundaries of the ‘nation,’ making the latter porous both temporally and politically, or even calling it into question. ‘Nation’ is thus understood as a ‘nervous’ entity that is constantly overlaid and challenged by other imaginaries of community – transhistorical, transnational, or global ones. The project thus focuses on novel constellations of ‘kinship’ that emerge in the context of prizeworthiness debates. It focuses on Anglophone countries and/or literary debates, with controversies on immigration, migration and/or postcolonial social conditions playing a central role.
Relevant questions include: To what extent are books by, for example, members of indigenous communities, non-citizens and/or migrants considered prize-worthy in the 21st century, or how is ‘prizeworthiness’ constituted with regard to these authors? In which public and transhistorical metanarratives of rivalling community concepts – regional, transnational, or global ones - are they embedded? What narratives of new and/or transtemporal concepts of community emerge? These questions are posed intersectionally, i.e. immigration/migration/postcolonial conditions are intertwined with other markers of positionality (e.g. gender, race, class, queerness etc.).


Student Assistant