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Title:Geschichte(n) in globalisierten ZeitRäumen. Österreichische Romane nach 2000.
Author(s):Polzlbauer, Alexandra
Director of Research:Niekerk, Carl
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Niekerk, Carl
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Yildiz, Yasemin; Hilger, Stephanie; Johnson, Laurie; Murray, Bruce
Department / Program:Germanic Languages & Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Austrian Literature
Abstract:Since the millennium, a generation of well-established Austrian authors who were born between 1950 and 1970 and started to publish in the 1980s and 1990s have written novels that respond to changing perceptions of time and space in a global society with a variety of narrative techniques. Eva Menasse’s Vienna (2005), Marlene Streeruwitz’s Partygirl. (2002), Michael Köhlmeier’s Abendland (2007) and Josef Haslinger’s Jáchymov (2011) serve as representative examples of a new global Austrian literature that clearly distinguishes itself from previous generations with a very differentiated “ZeitRäume”-approach. Reflecting these societal and perceptional changes and the fact that time and space are vital categories in analyzing processes of globalization, in my dissertation I develop a new methodological framework that focuses on “ZeitRäume” (time-spaces) and strives for a new and much needed analytical vocabulary with the potential to describe globalization and literature’s role in it. Drawing on interdisciplinary research from sociology, economics, and literary scholarship/cultural studies, these new theoretical tools can be used to analyze thematic as well as narrative “ZeitRäume” in texts. This innovative approach enables a combined and integrated analysis of time and space and emphasizes the dynamic and processual nature of their interaction. Thus, it reveals how these two variables are intertwined and how space becomes individualized by connecting it to time. My project contributes to discussions of the spatial turn in literary and cultural studies and assumes a connection between socially constructed spaces and a new simultaneous temporality, a compressed present out of which literary “ZeitRäume” develop. These “ZeitRäume” here reflect a changed, accelerated and mobile spatio- temporal perception of a globalized world, always accompanied by a searching individual at the center. The literary search for the autonomous self is not only more international today, as some scholars claim, but it is glocalized; meaning that the global informs the local and vice versa. The local does not get lost or dissolved in the global but it is transferred and redefined on a more global and complex level. All texts discussed in this dissertation can be read as a farewell to isolated national history and propose a deeper look at the margins of history worldwide. In the protagonists’ global searches for their own and their relatives’ stories, they are all united by their attempts to find forms to narrate human lives in their glocal temporal and spatial contexts. A new global or rather glocal Austrian literature, as it has developed since the millenium, proves how the disorientation of globalization and its new temporal and spatial challenges lead to an urgent search for autonomy of the individual – especially in its attempts to come to terms with one’s own family’s past and the disastrous chapters in collective and personal histories of the 20th century. Thus, I argue for a new Austrian literature that provides not only responses to globalized uncertainties and confusions but also presents emerging temporal and spatial possibilities with the help of travelling, remembering and narrating in “ZeitRäume” that imagine reclaiming of agency in globalized worlds. The texts under consideration are remarkable examples of new literary approaches that endeavor to reconcile the fundamental human need to create sense with new spatio-temporal challenges of a globalized world and with the burden of an omnipresent past. In an age of rapid globalization, literature can be a form of self- empowerement.
Issue Date:2015-11-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Alexandra Poelzlbauer
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-02
Date Deposited:2015-12

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