Johan Schimanski
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Seasons of migration to the North
Borders and images in migration narratives published in Norwegian
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This chapter brings together the concerns of border aesthetics and ‘post-national’ imagology. Setting out to map images of Northernness in contemporary migrant literature that features viewpoints originating from the global ‘South’, it discusses the border processes implied by stereotypical images of the other and of the self. It addresses a number of fictional or autobiographical public narratives written in Norwegian by migrants arriving in Norway as children or young adults, including testimonial narratives by the child refugee Amal Aden and ‘illegal’ migrant Maria Amelie, along with semi-autobiographical novels by Romeo Gill and Sara Azmeh Rasmussen. Migrant narratives negotiate discourses of arcticity, winterliness, nordicity etc., known from imagological research on Northernness. The chapter asks to what degree various topoi of Northernness contribute to the bordering processes in the texts, or whether these narratives produce new images of Northernness and new vocabularies for addressing the border-crossing. The narratives deploy chiastic switchings between North and South, circling disorientations, entropic white-outs and liberating and destructive verticalities in order to figure the border in new ways at different points of their physical and symbolic journeys. The ambivalence of these images shows that they are related not merely to borders but also to the epistemological borders negotiated.

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Border images, border narratives

The political aesthetics of boundaries and crossings


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