Creative Activism and Art, Three Myths of Migrant Literature, and Migrant Literature in Germany
- There were a few points that I knee-jerk disagreed with in Three Myths of Migrant Literature but marked to go back and think about. I’ve read several books that would fall under “immigrant writing” but I’d never thought about this characterization before. On the first page he says: “there is an odd urge to simplify the exoticism of style and technique which immigrant authors are ‘brave enough’ to ‘experiment with’, as if this quality is a talent one has brought along from one’s homeland. Finally, the most unsettling stance is granting the immigrant worldview (if such a worldview truly exists) too much credit, based simply on having an experience of multiculturalism more profound than eating in a Thai restaurant every second Tuesday.” It was surprising to me to learn that this is an issue or that there are “myths” of immigrant writing There was a lot here for me to think about next time I pick up a novel classified as “immigrant writing” in terms of how the novel is classified and described but also in my own reaction to it.
- On the second page, under myth 3 (regarding the “mother tongue” and language), I’m still trying to unpack my thoughts about this. This is one point I don’t know that I entirely agree with (though I’m not sure I’m in a position to disagree.) I do agree that one shouldn’t be given more “favorable critical judgement” simply for using a non-native language to write in, but I do think that we use language differently when not speaking in our native tongue. There’s a great deal of research on how how people think differently and even hold different opinions when switching languages. I feel that we somehow use a second language differently than a native speaker of that same language would. But then again, he’s speaking about his own fluency from a fairly young age. I was just particularly struck by this “myth” and point because ideas surrounding how we speak and learn different languages are a favorite topic. I would love to talk about this more!
- There are so many takeaways in the “Creative Acts in the Global City” reading but if I had to pick one particular quote that struck me, it would be on page 177 where he referenced Lefebvre, “who conceptualized space as a social category and understood the city as a spatial configuration.” The idea of space as a social category is really intriguing to me, and one that can be applied to all ranges of “space” (such as spaces within urban areas, country borders and the space within and surrounding, etc.) This ties in to how space is used to contain, control, and keep out as a form of power and I love the idea of art as a way of pushing back.