The concept of “Living between the cultures and literatures” in the context of contemporary comparative literature education

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Slavica Srbinovska


The study has an aim to analyze the cultural aspects that address the issue of “migration” in the contemporary culture and its relation with the education in the context of comparative literature. The concepts of understanding the culture of the Other through the literature and other forms of presentation the ways of adaptation and the way of life of people who are changed their linguistic, professional, ethnic or national coordinates and leave their country of origin is traditionally in the core of the discipline comparative literature. 

The category "between" in the title of the study is close to and always implies consequences related to the transfer from one culture to another and from one social context to another. The act of migration actualizes a series of phenomena that affect the relationship between the culture that has been left and the approach to the culture that is being inhabited. Although it seems that we usually speak only about spatial dislocations in the era of globalization, the way in which the problems of the law and rules in the right oriented cultural practices are activated raises the question of problems related to the possibilities of building the relations between immigrants’ culture and the culture of the domicile population including the topics of acceptance, resistance, setting borders, violence. Those concepts are historically constant in the sphere of comparative literature and culture as topics of conflict between the humanity and the retreatments of totalitarian systems developed in a way they are active in the past, especially in the twentieth century or in more rigorous modalities today.

In this context the culture and literature are understood as a systems of values bound to the humanity of a man, his rationality, ethical awareness, or his ability to take care of the Other and by that way for himself. It is not different function of literature, especially comparative literature in the past and in the present days. But, in these considerations, the classical notion of man and his humanity related to ethics, history, or sociology is problematized as ruined aspects of being in the world. Deleuze and Guattari's theory of "deterritorialization" shows that the contemporary world is neither nonhuman nor posthuman, but ahuman. How do we, think the

world – without – us rather than the world – for – us? Is a future coexistence possible or even desirable or should we succumb to a “cosmic pessimism” (G.Deleuze & F.Guattari, D. Haraway, R.Braidotti, E.Thacker, P. MacCormack)?

The topics in the comparative literature education in the study are related to documentary and fictional narrative texts that are relevant in the epoch of the twentieth and twenty – first century. They raise the question of different statuses in the social hierarchy of groups, of those who belong to a different race, class and nation and “to the positions between” them. The difference expressed as a feature of cultural practices and capital in financial and symbolic terms becomes the basis for re – examination of the mechanisms of psychological and sociological being who write, translate or work in the field of the “world republic of letters” (P.Casanova). 

These are the key topics in the education in the humanities that are marginalized today although the importance and the need of comparison in the presentations of human position in the world which goal is to become “a place of good life”. Also it is important to actualize the meaning of stigmatization of the "foreigner" as “nonhuman.”

 By analyzing the “process of migration” in the “new” cultural environment represented in the literature or other cultural products, the study is focused on the individual process of tirelessly seeking and trying to build her/his “own place.” This issue of the so – called the "between" of cultures is followed by a process of re – examination of the forms of traumatized life as a consequence of the conflicting status of the individual who is migrated from domestic community to other and different community and culture. The study analyzed narratives primarily from the perspective of sociological aspect and the law. At the end it is a method on which is based the understanding of contemporary comparative literature as a “world republic of letters.”

The status of people in the context of global and local cultural practices is often based on the elementary existential problems associated with the possibilities or limitations of life in unstoppable movement from one to another place or confinement in migration camps as places of bordered life related to deportation which points out to the totalitarian concepts of the past actualized in the contemporary culture as defense of the domicile culture in its national color and excluding the differences of the “foreigners”.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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