The latest issue of Gegenwartsliteratur, edited by Paul Michael Lützeler and Thomas W. Kniesche, focuses on the work of Emine Sevgi Özdamar and features contributions by several WiGgies, including Leslie A. Adelson of Cornell University, Beverly M. Weber of University of Colorado Boulder, and Claire Amanda Ross of Washington University in St. Louis. Find abstracts of their work below and the complete table of contents here.
LESLIE A. ADELSON, “Future Narrative as Contested Ground: Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s “Bahnfahrt” and Michael Götting’s Contrapunctus.”
Opening with Adorno’s 20th-century reflections “from damaged life” on exilic writing as a break in time, this essay analyzes innovative forms of radical futurity in little known 21st-century fiction by Emine Sevgi Özdamar, who holds emblematic status on Germany’s path from Turkish migration to transcultural Europe, and Michael Götting, who has authored the first sustained novel about Black German experience in contemporary Berlin. Minoritarian future-making in Özdamar’s “Bahnfahrt” (2008) and Götting’s Contrapunctus (2015) is illuminated in formal and social terms with the narratological concept of “future narrative” and Hannah Arendt’s philosophical insistence on a structural breach in the “heart of time.” The literary comparison demonstrates in turn Özdamar’s and Götting’s cutting-edge German-language contributions to future studies and narrative theory today
BEVERLY M. WEBER, “Precarious Intimacies: Politics and Solidarities in Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s Die Brücke vom Goldenen Horn.”
In this article I propose the notion of precarious intimacies as entry point into the representation of the political in Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s work. Through an analysis of Die Brücke vom Goldenen Horn, I explore intimacies as sites of transformation and political potentiality in the novel, as spaces that nurture political solidarities and spaces in which their loss is most keenly felt. Reading for precarious intimacies reveals aesthetic strategies that highlight the politically generative capacity of intimacy in the face of precarity, but also enacts a politics of interpretation that might challenge the conditions of precarity. I thus both examine the politics and aesthetics of intimacy as represented in the text, and consider the interpretive work of reading intimacy politically.
CLAIRE AMANDA ROSS, “The Avian Muttermund in Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s Das Leben ist eine Karawanserei.”
The mother-son narratives told by paternal grandmother Ayşe in Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s Das Leben ist eine Karawanserei, which draw on two versions of the mythic mouth-vulva analogy, perpetuate more often than undermine dominant phallocentric discourse on motherhood. Her regular stories celebrate mothers who brutally combat the threat that non-mothers’ vaginae dentatae (devouring sexuality) pose to their sons and fathers. Yet, in her outlier, a divine mother bird acquires a loving tongue, enabling a womb-like relationship with a boy. The intersubjective relationship between boy and bird, based on an organ (tongue) that is present as a possibility, even when absent, undercuts the phallocentrism of Ayşe’s other tales and the (protagonist’s) world, and invites a feminist reconceptualization of even the penis itself.