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Writing from an imagined diaspora

Rather than blurring the boundraries, cross-border writing makes them more transparent. The presentation discusses two interrelated projects: a dissertation in a literary form, and a novel trilogy written from an imagined diaspora, as if the author were an Argentinean exile in Sweden. Writing across borders is usually associated with the literal experience of exile: Writing in or from a diaspora, addressing the "host" culture, or the imagined "homeland" (which is often a temporal rather than spatial category). But borders can just as well be boundaries between genres, or disciplines, in which case exile and diaspora still appear as apposite metaphors. I am engaged with all these forms of transgression and my reflections upon their interrelations are based on two recently concluded writing projects: • An artistic research project investigating the role of fiction in the transition processes of South Africa and Argentina, and • A novel trilogy with strong thematic connections to the Argentinean case study. Whereas the first project in the end resulted in an academic dissertation, although in a literary form, the second project was informed by the academic research in a way that paradoxically emphasized its fictionality. Rather than blurring the borders, the transgressive efforts made them more transparent. In recent writing I attempt to merge academic and literary approaches in a cross-genre that I tentatively call ethnographic fictions. The Argentina Trilogy is written from an imagined diaspora, as if I were an Argentinean exile in Sweden, addressing experiences that obviously resonate more with an Argentinean audience than a Swedish one. Yet unless the trilogy is translated to Spanish, these potential connections will never occur. Language is the principal barrier that I am constantly and increasingly confronted with, and translation is crucial to all forms of transgressive writing.

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European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), Estonia (2014)