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Subjectivity Regained? German-Language Writing from Eastern Europe and the Balkans through an East-West Gaze

Dobreva, Boryana Yuliyanova (2011) Subjectivity Regained? German-Language Writing from Eastern Europe and the Balkans through an East-West Gaze. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This project uncovers the role of recent German-Balkan works in articulating transnational identity in and through literature. Drawing on social and political models of European identity representations as well as on studies on stigma, trauma, and diasporic cultures as distinct historical formations, I contend that migrant fictions from Eastern Europe and the Balkans not only illuminate the concepts and demarcations operative in European collective imaginations but also introduce an Eastern European/Balkan dimension regarding the formation of modern identities beyond a national focus. To investigate this process, I focus on three Eastern European expatriates: the Bulgarian-born German and Austrian writers Rumjana Zacharieva and Dimitre Dinev and the Russian-German Wladimir Kaminer. The dissertation begins with an overview of postcolonial and Western theories of subjectivity and hybridity within the context of German literary-critical discourse on alterity, migration, and Turkish-German writings to argue that the historical and cultural context from which Eastern Europe/the Balkans have developed as Europe's "Other within" requires a reconfiguration of present theoretical models. In historiographic fashion, this thesis emphasizes the role of Ottoman and Soviet legacies and Western domination on the formation of Balkan subaltern identities. Attending to a tradition of Balkanist discourse that engages the internal bipolar demarcation of Balkan identities as part Western, part Oriental, I reconsider in chapters 3 and 4 how Dinev and Zacharieva's writings negotiate the experience of migration from East to West and articulate particular kinds of Balkan identities as a response to competing representations of the Balkans and the West. In the fifth chapter, my application of the Russian discourse on itself and Europe in examining Kaminer's works transcends the discussion of migration and Balkan identities to offer a related, yet differentiated, account of the manifold processes that surround other Eastern European writings in German. By analyzing these narratives through an East-West lens, the study shows how thinking about identity and migration in literary and historical perspectives proves useful for understanding the shifting identities and borders in Germanic Europe and beyond.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dobreva, Boryana Yuliyanovabyd1@pitt.eduBYD1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee Chairvon Dirke, Sabinevondirke@pitt.eduVONDIRKE
Committee MemberMuenzer, Clark S.muenzer@pitt.eduMUENZER
Committee MemberLyon, John B.jblyon@pitt.eduJBLYON
Committee MemberHalle, Randallrhalle@pitt.eduRHALLE
Committee MemberAndrade, Susan Z.sza@pitt.eduSZA
Date: 25 September 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 18 April 2011
Approval Date: 25 September 2011
Submission Date: 26 July 2011
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Germanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: 21st century migration; alienation; Balkan alterity; cosmopolitanism and diaspora; East European intellectual expatriates; estrangement; stereotypes and cliches
Other ID:, etd-07262011-164634
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:54
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:47


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