Slavic 170: Written in exile: an emergent post-Yugoslav literature?

MWF 12-1, Dwinelle 83. Instructor: Djordje Popovic.

Units: 3 Satisfies L&S Arts & Literature breadth requirement.

Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 170.

This course is designed as a comparative study of “post-Yugoslav literature,” a term that is increasingly used in reference to a diverse, transnational, and multilingual body of works produced over the last twenty five years by the people (and their descendants) who once lived in a common, socialist state of the former Yugoslavia. Today these authors live and write in various forms of exilic displacement, scattered throughout Yugoslavia’s successor states and around the world. What happens to communities, culture, and the literary arts following the experience of rising nationalism and the violent demise of a multicultural and multiethnic state? Is a shared historical experience enough to hold a post-Yugoslav cultural and literary constellation together? Does the emerging literature have its own aesthetic conventions, thematic concentrations, political and social aspirations? Are the ideals that once unified the nation preserved or lost to political fractures? These are some of the questions we will explore as we read the novels, short stories, and essays written by David Albahari, Daša Drndić, Aleksandar Hemon, Téa Obreht, Saša Stanišić, Pajtim Statovci, Igor Štiks, Dubravka Ugrešić, László Végel, and Goran Vojnović.

Class discussion and all readings are in English. No prior knowledge of South Slavic languages, literatures, or history is required.