About the Research Group
In our research we analyse how literature engages with matters of societal relevance, how such matters influence literary production, and how literature, in turn, shapes societies and cultures. The focus of our research is therefore twofold. On the one hand, our literary research contributes knowledge to understanding how complex societal processes that are informed by political, economic, religious, environmental, historical and socio-cultural factors transform societies and affect individual realities in specific and diverse geocultural contexts. On the other hand, we investigate how different aspects of literary production, including creativity, literary genres, literary histories, literary circulation, markets and literary translation, shape and are shaped by socio-cultural circumstances.
Research in Literatures in Ten Languages
Our group encompasses research in literatures produced in ten different languages, namely Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. One of the distinctive traits of our group is that our research does not only cover a very diverse range of literary and geocultural contexts, but that our close collaboration has produced solid and extensive research informed by methodological and theoretical perspectives that foster the study of how literatures and socio-cultural narratives are transformed through cross-cultural interaction.
We actively develop research collaborations and outreach activities that contribute to the dissemination of knowledge about the role of literature in society.
Our research clusters highlight specific areas of expertise developed collaboratively within the group. They also serve to foster collaboration nationally and internationally on these research areas of particular societal relevance. The aim of these clusters is to foster a dynamic research environment through conducting collaborative research activities, including peer-reviewed publications, workshops, lecture series, and joint research projects.
Migration, Narratives and Identities
Our research focuses on how literary texts engage with social and individual transformations effected by migration processes and how these, in turn, redefine national literatures and literary forms of expression. We analyse definitions of home and belonging, forced migration and refugee narratives, testimonial migration narratives, financial crisis and migration in literature, and the role of emotions in socio-cultural and literary narratives of migration.
As part of our research activities, we have participated in a workshop series on “Temporalities and Subjectivities of Crossing: Contemporary Public Migration Narratives in Europe,” funded by the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS) for the period 2019-2020 (extended until 2022). This project was led by Prof. Johan Schimanski and included participant researchers from the University of Oslo, University of Eastern Finland and Dalarna University.
Dystopian and Utopian Literatures
Our research activities centre around the study of utopian and dystopian literatures across a range of languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, German and English. We work closely with Falun public library on a public lecture series that explores dystopian and utopian literature, chiefly in contemporary fiction. Within the group, members have contributed journal articles and conference papers on different aspects of dystopian/utopian literatures.
Children’s and Young Adult Literature
The research activities focus on different themes and stylistics in children's and young adult literature, mainly in German and Arabic. Together and in separate projects the researchers in the group have explored themes of migration, loss, identity, stages of adolescense and space as found in children's and youth literature. They have further worked on literature didactics within the teacher training courses at the university and examined translation practices in children's literature. The researchers are also responsible for two courses on children's and YA literature taught in the German and Arabic departments and a course on the didactics of teaching children and YA literature in the German department.
Literature and Gender
Our research focuses on how literary texts from different countries and eras engage with questions of gender, gendered identity formation, and the construction and deconstruction of the understanding of gender in societies. We analyse literature, and the reception and dissemination of literature through the lens of postcolonial, feminist, queer, and masculinity theories. In the framework of the 2-year MA programme in Intercultural Literary Studies, the researchers are responsible for the course Literature and Gender: Literary Theory and Criticism.
Activities and Collaborations
As part of the collaborative projects led by the group, several collections of essays have been published:
- Transcultural Identities in Contemporary Literature. Eds. Irene Gilsenan Nordin, Julie Hansen and Carmen Zamorano Llena (Rodopi, 2013)
- Transcultural Identity Constructions in a Changing World. Eds. Irene Gilsenan Nordin, Chatarina Edfeldt, Lung-Lung Hu, Herbert Jonsson, and André Leblanc (Peter Lang, 2015)
- Narratives Crossing Borders: The Dynamics of Cultural Interaction. Eds. Herbert Jonsson, Lovisa Berg, Chatarina Edfeldt and Bo G. Jansson. (Stockholm UP, 2021)
LiS Open Lecture Series
The main aim of our research group’s open lecture series is to provide an open forum for focused discussion of research with national and international specialised scholars on topics of scholarly and socio-cultural interest. Each LiS open lecture series extends over the course of a year and is proposed and coordinated by a limited number of group members, who conduct research in the proposed theme.
- 2022/2023 – “Literature in Times of Crisis” - coordinated by Carmen Zamorano Llena and Lovisa Berg.
- 2023/2024 - Dystopian and Utopian Literatures (forthcoming)
Public Library in Falun and the Dalarna region
In 2022 the Dystopian and Utopian Literatures group began a public lecture series with Falun public library (Falu stadsbibliotek). Thus far, two public lectures have been given: “Dystopian narrative and modern Arabic literature” (February 2022), and “Tyskspråkig litteratur i skuggan av pandemin” (October 2022). A public lecture on “John Lanchester’s novel The Wall and British Dystopian Fiction” will be held in April 2023. This initiative has been expanded so as to include the research group Literatures in Society as a whole and as part of the ongoing work to strengthen the collaboration with Dalabiblioteken (public libraries in the region of Dalarna) and Litteraturens Hus Dalarna (non-profit association for the development and renewal of literature in the region). Thus, from autumn 2023, Literatures in Society, in collaboration with Dalabiblioteken and Litteraturens Hus Dalarna, will be running the LiS-Dalabiblioteken Public Talk Series, beginning with one talk per term.
Litteraturens Hus Dalarna
Since its inception in 2016 there have been numerous collaborations between literary scholars from Högskolan Dalarna and Litteraturens Hus Dalarna (LHD). More recently, and now under the stewardship of Chairperson and Emeritus Professor Bo G Jansson, LHD is planning a literature festival to coincide with Läslovet (mid-term break) during week 44 of the autumn term, 2023. Provisionally, LiS members will contribute to this event with a series of mini-talks on literary topics aimed primarily at children and young adults.