2019 SAUTE Conference: Brexit and Beyond: Nation and Identity (May 3-4, 2019)

03.05.2019, 18:49 - 04.05.2019, 18:49
Department of English, Basel, Nadelberg 6, 4051 Basel

Prof. Dr. Ina Habermann, Alex Van Lierde & Alexandra Grasso, University of Basel

Debates about national identity have received new currency in recent years in a context of demonstrations of national self-assertion, which has resulted for example in the Brexit decision in Britain, in significant changes in American international policies, and the introduction of authoritarian measures in some member states of the European Union. Shortly after Britain will most probably have left the European Union, the conference will address the developments outlined above and the cultural discourses surrounding them. As regards Brexit, we argue that many attempts at explaining the Leave victory and current British Euroscepticism focus quite narrowly on economic, legal and political factors, underestimating more ‘fuzzy’ phenomena such as cultural myths, narratives and images which circulate in literature, travel writing, visual arts and other media, influencing people on a visceral level, sometimes against their better judgement. During our conference, we will examine the construction and negotiation of cultural identities in language, literature and the media with a focus on cultural memory and the cultural imaginary as well as stereotyping, mythmaking, people’s shared fictions and the impact of the resulting policies on people’s lives. We believe that literary studies and linguistics can make an important contribution to our understanding of current political developments, and to a critique of jingoistic populism.

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Prof. Dr. Ina Habermann

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