Professor Helena Wulff, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Accented Writings: Diaspora Fiction and Journalism in Sweden

In his book An Accented Cinema (2001), Iranian media scholar Hamid Naficy engages with the expanding film genre that focusses on experiences of expatriation in the West by Third World filmmakers. These films are “accented” as they combine voices from the cinematic traditions with voices from exilic and diasporic traditions. In the process, accented films open up new perspectives to a mainstream audience. This idea will be applied to a planned study of emerging diaspora writings by a generation of young exiles in Sweden. Their accented writings consist of both fiction and journalism. By uncovering often cruel experiences of exclusion in a country which boasts an inclusive policy, these writings have a Swedish as well as an international readership. Diaspora writers have an impact on political and cultural debate in Sweden, also because they take on the role as public intellectuals. A palpable case of this was Jonas Hassen Khemiri´s (2013a) open letter “Bästa Beatrice Ask” in Dagens Nyheter in March 2013, which was one of the most shared Swedish texts on the internet. It was translated into many languages and printed in The New York Times as “Sweden´s Closet Racists” (2013b). The overall aim of this study is to explore the social life of accented writings in Sweden in relation to issues such as translation, diversity and difference. 

Find out more about the Migration cluster at the Department of Social Anthropology.

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