Volume 8.1: Foreword
We are pleased to publish the first installment of texts in our 2012 issue, consisting of essays, translations, creative writing, and book reviews.
The first part of this installment is the result of a collaboration with freitext, a Berlin-based “Kultur- und Gesellschaftsmagazin” that publishes contemporary literature and essays from a transcultural perspective. In a prefatory exchange, the editors of freitext andTRANSIT discuss the aims of each journal and the function of current literary and academic publications on migration.
The editors of TRANSITfirst came across freitext in the context of last year’s semi-centennial commemorations of migration in Germany—“50 Jahre Einwanderung aus der Türkei,” or as a theater festival at the Ballhaus Naunynstraße put it,“50 Jahre Scheinehe.” Many of the performances at the festival were documented in freitext’s October 2011 issue “Vibrationshintergrund,” from which we are publishing five selections. Selim Özdoğan’s essay “Vibrationshintergrund,” which provided the title for the issue and the motto for the festival, interrogates the meaning of the term “Migrationshintergrund.” Özdoğan’s provocative intervention in recent debates over the term is to point out similarities between migrants and vibrators, and his playful engagement with expectations of autobiography calls into question assumptions about the authorship and authority of migratory experience. In similar fashion, the narrator of Özdoğan’s “Der den Klang der Wörter liebt” negotiates assumptions about his youthful participation in the German hip-hop scene and the eventual inclusion of his literary works under the more solemn umbrella of “Migrationsliteratur.” Expectations about integration and belonging are also taken up in “Wutvögel singen,” a transatlantic correspondence between two “Angry Birds” (Marianna Salzmann and Deniz Utlu) who reflect on activism, transnational identity, and the limits of telecommunications. Salzmann’s own essay, “Sie missüberschätzen uns,” examines the effects of assumptions about migration on the reception of Nurkan Erpulat’s playVerrücktes Blut at the Ballhaus Naunynstraße. “Der Besuch,” a play written by Hakan Savaş Mican and recently performed at the Ballhaus, dramatizes diverse experiences of migration across multiple generations, and challenges the common perception of a “migratory background” as one essentially marked by melancholy and desire.
Thanks to the editors offreitext, we are able to provide the full text of these selections, along with English translations, in a hypertext format that incorporates new multimedia content. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all of the freitextlerInnen for their patience and co-operation throughout the process of collaboration.
The second part of this installment features book reviews on the problem of “Orienting Europe” that emerged from Professor Deniz Göktürk’s recent seminar at the University of California, Berkeley. Practices of orientation and the construction of a European imaginary provide the critical backdrop for Isabel Dzierson’s review of Interkultur, by Mark Terkessidis; Alex Lambrow’s review of Tracking Europe: Mobility, Diaspora, and the Politics of Location, by Ginette Verstraete; and Özgür Yaren’s review of European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe, edited by Daniela Berghahn and Claudia Sternberg. These reviews are intended not only to introduce our readership to recent scholarship on migration and mobility, but also to spark further analysis of topics related to the problem of “Orienting Europe.” To this end, readers are invited to submit further analytical contributions to the topic, which will remain open indefinitely.
In addition to these two clusters of texts, we are pleased to publish selections from Zafer Şenocak’sZungenentfernung, translated by Jessica Nicholl and Martina Schwalm under the title “Fragments of Memory.”
Although our journal will continue to adhere to the traditional periodical format of academic publication, we hope to take even more advantage of the ability to update, augment, or revisit individual topics in the future. If you would like to submit an article related to “Vibrationshintergrund,” “Orienting Europe,” “Participatory Media and Public Memory,” or any of the other topics that have been discussed in previous issues of TRANSIT, please consult the submission guidelines on our website.
We hope you enjoy the first installment of our 2012 issue, and look forward to continuing the critical discussion.
Erik Born, on behalf of the editors of TRANSIT