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Title: Writing the In-Between: Transmediterranean Identity Constructions in the Works of Najat El Hachmi and Dalila Kerchouche
Author: Joan Rodríguez, Meritxell
Director/Tutor: Segarra, Marta
Rius Piniés, Mònica
Keywords: Identitat col·lectiva
Migració (Població)
Mediterrània (Regió)
Group identity
Migration (Population)
Mediterranean Region
Kerchouche, Dalila, 1973-
El Hachmi, Najat, 1979-
Issue Date: 29-Nov-2019
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] This dissertation aims to put forward a thorough reflection on contemporary processes of identity constructions, both individual and collective, which are criss-crossed by experiences of migration inscribed within the Mediterranean space, which I consider in its heterogeneity. Through two specific case studies, approached from a comparative and gender perspective, I look at subjects who understand themselves as tied to (physical and symbolic) experiences of displacement claim fluid subjectivities. The works by Najat El Hachmi (Beni Sidel, 1979) and Dalila Kerchouche (Bias, 1973) present different factual dimensions and textual fabrics and are of a polyphonic nature. Because they pay attention to the multi-layered consequences that enfold from population movements, their nuanced considerations represent a precious guideline of sorts in understanding the syncretic fabric that shapes our world. I use the literary texts produced by these two authors of Maghrebi origin who grew up in Europe in order to filter my analyses, for I believe that the attentive regard that literature enables is of great value when it comes to problematizing rigid understandings of identity. Both El Hachmi and Kerchouche inherited an experience of migration, initiated by their fathers, that led them to embody and undertake different interstitial positions in Catalonia and France, where they respectively live. In their works, they dwell on all these “in- between” positions that they, as writers, and the characters that they portray occupy. To do so, they use autobiographical essays first and, later on, fiction in order to delve into inherited cultural traditions, to contest clear-cut identity labels, and to explore the languages and experiences that have shaped their subjectivities. I thus read these texts as the tools that the authors use to enter into a dialogical relationship with their European societies, societies that, I argue, perceive them as an immigrant (in El Hachmi’s case) and as a harki (in the case of Kerchouche). As such, I critically consider El Hachmi’s and Kerchouche’s works as literary products and also as political artefacts that bespeak the authors’s agency. The thesis is divided into two sections, “In Between Labels” and “In Between Languages, Memories and Spaces” –each containing two chapters–, which account for the different elements playing a part in the construction of their individual and collective identities –a concept, that of identity, that I approach using epistemological cues borrowed from several disciplines, mainly those of postcolonial studies and the decolonial school, as I explain in the Introduction. In Catalonia and in France, El Hachmi and Kerchouche, and their characters, are encouraged to identify themselves as part of the societal tissue of these spaces. However, their belonging is hampered by the fact that they are perceived through the aforementioned “labels” of immigrant and harki, categorizations that place them in the terrain of alterity. At the same time, the familial communities of the authors and their characters want them to understand themselves in connection with their Maghrebi origins, which are differently nuanced in each of the cases. El Hachmi and Kerchouche have found in the literary space a mode of dwelling and a felicitous way to conflate the languages, cultural traditions and memories with which they interact. They use the written page to inscribe the imaginaries that conform them, which have to do with experiences that are traversed by manifold silences –connected with the Franco-Algerian war and its aftermath, in the context epitomised by Kerchouche. In such gestures of inscription the authors not only create ties of belonging within the communities they identify with but also put forward historical rewritings and counter- memories that aim at contesting the hegemonic historical discourses that, in Europe, disavow the subjects conceived as immigrants or harkis. Ultimately, the intricate works by El Hachmi and Kerchouche studied in this thesis, whose rich intertextuality I put in dialogue with the theorizations of authors such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Homi K. Bhabha or Hélène Cixous, galvanize us to understand subjectivities as hybrid and fluid; always in process of translation, always “wounded” and hence open to the incorporation of enriching difference.
[spa] Esta tesis reflexiona sobre procesos de construcciones identitarias contemporáneas, tanto individuales como colectivas, atravesadas por experiencias migratorias inscritas en el heterogéneo espacio mediterráneo. A partir de dos estudios de caso, analizados desde una perspectiva comparativa y de género, se analiza cómo los sujetos que se entienden a sí mismos como parte de experiencias de desplazamiento (físico y simbólico) reclaman subjetividades fluidas. La obra literaria de Najat El Hachmi (Beni Sidel, 1979) y de Dalila Kerchouche (Bias, 1973) –que comparten origen magrebí y el hecho de haber crecido en Europa– es el filtro de los análisis que se exponen en esta investigación. Los textos, autobiográficos y ficcionales, abordan las múltiples consecuencias que se desprenden de los desplazamientos poblacionales, y por ello son de gran valor para entender el sincretismo que vertebra nuestro mundo. Tanto El Hachmi como Kerchouche heredaron sendas experiencias migratorias de sus padres, experiencias que las llevaron a ocupar distintas posiciones intersticiales en Cataluña y en Francia, donde viven. Las autoras y sus personajes son instados a identificarse con el tejido social de estos espacios. Sin embargo, su pertenencia queda truncada por el hecho de que son leídos a partir de las “etiquetas” inmigrante (en los casos presentados por El Hachmi) y harki (en los presentados por Kerchouche), categorizaciones que los colocan en el terreno de la alteridad. Asimismo, las comunidades familiares de las autoras y de sus personajes quieren que sus procesos de identificación estén conectados con sus orígenes magrebíes. Es en el espacio literario donde El Hachmi y Kerchouche encuentran la manera de conjugar las lenguas, tradiciones culturales y relatos heredados con los que interactúan. Ambas autoras utilizan el medio escrito para inscribir los imaginarios que las conforman. En dichos gestos de inscripción crean lazos de pertenencia en las comunidades con las que se identifican, y plantean reescrituras históricas y contra-memorias. Estas tienen como objetivo cuestionar los discursos históricos hegemónicos que, en Europa, no tienen en cuenta a los sujetos concebidos como inmigrantes o harkis. Las complejas obras de El Hachmi y Kerchouche estudiadas en esta tesis –que hago dialogar con las teorizaciones de autores y autoras como Gloria Anzaldúa, Homi K. Bhabha o Hélène Cixous– nos animan a entender las subjetividades como híbridas y fluidas; siempre en proceso de traducción, siempre “heridas” y por tanto abiertas a la incorporación de una diferencia que enriquece.
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Facultat - Filologia

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