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SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell

Unashamed Citizenship: Minority Literary Voices in Contemporary Scandinavia

Alternative title: Medborgerskap uten skam: Minoritetsstemmer i skandinavisk samtidslitteratur

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

This project will further academic understanding and public awareness of women?s minority voices as they claim social citizenship through literary activism. About the project: Migration to Scandinavia from outside Europe?s borders challenges perceptions of Scandinavian identity, resulting in novel forms of both national exclusion and inclusion. This has led a new generation of authors to speak up for themselves, gaining empowerment and claiming their right to social citizenship through literature. This project will analyze how especially minoritized woman writers make use of their personal and collective experiences. We will investigate how they compare to, and are inspired by, similar movements in other countries, past and present, including decolonizing movements and the American civil rights movement. We will also include literature written by indigenous peoples in our study. Finally, we will investigate how these voices are "canonized" in educational material in Scandinavian schools. The project is interdisciplinary, and includes scholars from the fields of literature, education, gender studies, and political science. Objectives: We will analyze literary activism from three main perspectives: 1. Gender and genre: How does women?s feminist and antiracist literary activism relate and compare to literary male activism among racialized and minoritized men? 2. International context: How does women?s literary activism in Scandinavia build on, compare and contribute to, similar movements in other parts of the world? 3. Canonization and education: How does feminist and antiracist literary activism affect the national literary canon(s) and Scandinavian perceptions of national identity? Our goal is to create and disseminate better understanding and awareness of the relationships between literature and democratizing processes. Doing so we will take into account questions of gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, generation, nationality, and globalization.

The Norwegian population is increasingly diverse and the idea of a homogeneous white nation is far from viable. Migration to Scandinavia from outside Europe’s borders, especially from Muslim countries and cultures, profoundly challenges perceptions of Scandinavian identity, resulting in novel forms of both national exclusion and inclusion. This has led a new generation of authors—especially women—to speak up for themselves, gaining empowerment and claiming their right to social citizenship through literature. Until now, however, this important literature has not been the subject of a thorough investigation. "Unashamed Citizenship" will analyze how these writers make use of and explore affect and politics, genre, and gender. Contemporary Scandinavian literature contains a significant number of young migrant, Muslim and other minoritized voices who critique social exclusion and racism. These writers work to redefine what it means to be Scandinavian and address the societal challenges of integration and migration head-on. Many of their works have entered the literature curricula at the secondary school and higher educational levels. This is especially the case in Norway in 2020, after the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training revised all subject curricula and new, more inclusive textbooks and educational media are entering the market in time for a new school term (Fall 2020). Through close and comparative textual analysis "Unashamed Citizenship" investigates contemporary minoritized literature in the Scandinavian countries, especially Norway, with a special emphasis on female writers and their depiction of identity conflicts, racism, and shaming. The project also examines the transnational aspects of this literature (regarding it as world literature) as well as its potential pedagogical applications.

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SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell