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  • 1.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för humaniora.
    Affect and nostalgia in contemporary narratives of transnational adoption2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper focuses on contemporary Scandinavian narratives of transnational/transcultural adoption from Korea. Recently there has been a surge in primarily autobiographical publications written by adoptees themselves, such as Maja Lee Langvad’s Hun er vred (2014), Sofia French’s På jakt efter Mr. Kim i Seoul (2005), and Astrid Trotzig’s Blod är tjockare än vatten (1996). It has been pointed out that the life writing of adoptees is the most “radical” literature in Sweden today, addressing the global inequalities at the heart of transnational adoption (Svenska Dagbladet, 18 October 2015). While recognizing the progressive impetus of these texts, this paper focuses on their retrospective aspects. The texts of Langvad, French and Trotzig all center on the writer’s return to Korea; a journey that is connected to an idea of the past as holding the key to a significant part of one’s identity. To the adoptee writers, the past is literally ‘a foreign country’ and the story of this past is riddled with gaps and uncertainties reflecting the adoptee’s unknown and often unknowable origins. My analysis suggests that nostalgia in adoption literature is closely related to various figures of maternity, and that the longing for the mother is often translated into a longing for the mother country and its culture. The texts articulate intense emotions, such as melancholia, anger, and a keen sense of loss, and the paper concludes by considering the role of affect in contemporary adoption literature.

  • 2. Ahlin, Lena
    African-American autobiography: from slave narratives to the Autobiography of an ex-colored man2004In: Nineteenth-century studies in Lund and Copenhagen: proceedings of a symposium organized by the Department of English, Lunds University, 9-10 November 2002 / [ed] Cecilia Wadsö Lecaros, Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 2004, p. 54-61Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    "All we wanted to do, now that we were back in the world, was forget": on remembrance and forgetting in Julie Otsuka's novels2015In: American Studies in Scandinavia, ISSN 0044-8060, Vol. 47, no 2, p. 81-101Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article considers Julie Otsuka's representations of the World-War-II internment of Japanese Americans in When the Emperor Was Divine (2002) and The Buddha in the Attic (2011) from the perspective of collective remembrance, thus highlighting the interconnectedness of remembrance, forgetting, silence and race. Remembering and forgetting are understood as contingent on one another, and on the ideological currents and countercurrents that affect the construction of collective remembrance. The article argues that the content and form of Otsuka's novels mediate the cultural silence of the internment. In addition, they illustrate the changing nature of the narrativized remembrance of the internment as accounts of the lived experience of the Japanese Americans who went to camp are being replaced by trans-generationally transmitted, imaginatively recreated memories. The historical silence of the incarceration and its aftermath is sometimes explained in terms of "Japanese culture," but such a description risks reducing the impact of the racialization of Japanese Americans, and obscuring its effect on resistance. Finally, the analysis demonstrates that in Otsuka's texts, remembrance of the internment is characterized by a negotiation between repressive erasure and restorative forgetting.

  • 4.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för humaniora.
    Between nullification and duplication in Jane Jeong Trenka’s identity narratives2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper deals with Jane Jeong Trenka’s The Language of Blood (2003) and Fugitive Visions (2009): two texts that detail the author’s childhood and adolescence as a Korean adoptee in the USA, and her subsequent repatriation to Korea. The starting point of the analysis is the recognition of “the relationship between writing and rights, and the extent to which … victimized individuals, can best express and protest their situation in literary and life writing representation” (Grice 2009). Tracing the intricate textual web of duplication and repetition that structure Trenka’s life writing, the paper argues that the texts function simultaneously as a “working through” of a family trauma and as a critique of transracial adoption. Furthermore, the joint narratives of gendered violence and marginalization faced by birth mother and daughter are seen as symbolic of the collective story of Korean womanhood.

  • 5. Ahlin, Lena
    Från Harlem till Köpenhamn: svart amerikansk identitet i Nella Larsens Quicksand1999In: Hjärnstorm, ISSN 0348-6958, no 67-68, p. 48-51Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 6.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för humaniora.
    Is silence always a virtue?: on collective remembrance and forgetting in Julie Otsuka’s novels2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Julie Otsuka’s novel When the Emperor Was Divine (2002), which has reached a large international audience and is widely taught in American universities and colleges, is about a Japanese-American family sent to an internment camp during World War II. Her second novel, The Buddha in the Attic (2011) also addresses the internment, albeit more briefly. This paper argues that Julie Otsuka’s novels impact the collective remembrance of the internment, as they bring together Otsuka’s own family past and the national past. In her texts, collective remembrance is the outcome of a negotiation between different groups with the purpose of “maintaining social cohesion and identity” (Whitehead 2009: 152), in which relations of power play a significant part.  Focus is placed on the interaction between remembrance and forgetting, which figures alternately as “a necessary and adaptive reaction to the alternative of painful or destructive memory [and as] the tacit ally of oppression and silence” (Conway and Singer 2008:279). Otsuka’s texts embody this tension, which is analyzed with emphasis on the racialization of the Japanese Americans.  The paper argues that forgetting of the incarceration has been vital to the American self-image and the maintenance of the ‘public virtue’ of equal rights for all citizens. By way of conclusion, the paper queries the possibility of resistance to the internment in relation to the category of race.

  • 7.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för humaniora.
    Kinship and text in contemporary narratives of transnational adoption2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the connection between life writing and kinship in a number of narratives by adoptees from South Korea to the US as well as Scandinavia, such as American Katy Robinson’s A Single Square Picture (2002), Jane Jeong Trenka’s The Language of Blood (2003) and Fugitive Visions (2009), and Soojung Jo’s Ghost of Sangju (2015); and Swedish Astrid Trotzig’s Blod är tjockare än vatten (1996), Sofia French’s På jakt efter Mr. Kim i Seoul (2005), and Danish Maja Lee Langvad’s Hun er vred (”She is Angry” 2014).

    I propose that these texts are examples of narrative kinning, an exploration and creation of kinship through text and between texts. Thus, my understanding of this term is twofold. First, for these writers, the texts provide a discursive space in which alternative modes of identity and kinship can be envisioned and embodied. Second, I suggest that the formal features of the texts are sufficiently similar to exemplify a form of narrative kinning, and that the Korean adoptee memoir could be considered a genre-in-progress. The paper traces similarities of voice, structure, themes and tone between American and Scandinavian narratives of transnational/transracial adoption. More particularly, the study shows how the first-person voice counters the parent-centric discourse of transnational/transracial adoption. Focusing on structure includes analyzing the search narrative and the home-away-home pattern, while themes like home and belonging; inauthenticity and adoption as consumption are probed. Finally, the analysis of tone suggests that the affective register of the memoirs ranges from melancholia to anger.

  • 8.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för humaniora.
    Nostalgia in contemporary narratives of transnational adoption2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There has been a surge of transnational adoption narratives--both American and Scandinavian-- in recent years, which raise a number of questions about identity, belonging and the role of the individual and historical past. This workshop presentation discusses how the past is represented in literature about transnational adoption, asking questions like: What is the meaning of yearning for a place (the birth country) and/or people one has very few memories of and yet feels connected to in a multitude of ways? How can we understand a nostalgia formed by what are often pre-verbal memories in these texts? To what extent is this nostalgia maternally coded?

  • 9.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    On the Legacy of Maxine Hong Kingston: The Mulhouse Book2014In: American Studies in Scandinavia, ISSN 0044-8060, Vol. 46, no 2, p. 97-100Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 10. Ahlin, Lena
    Renoverad mansroll2004In: Sydsvenska dagbladet, no 20/3Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 11.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    The British slave trade2008In: Encyclopedia of Blacks in European history and culture. Vol. 2 / [ed] Eric Martone, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press , 2008, p. 487-491Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 12.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    The doctor and the pastor: on love and evil in Hjalmar Söderberg's Doctor Glas and Bengt Ohlsson's Gregorius2012In: Forum for World Literature Studies, ISSN 1949-8519, E-ISSN 2154-6711, Vol. 4, no 2, p. 260-275Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för humaniora.
    The global subjects of contemporary Korean American adoptee narratives2018In: The global subjects of Korean-American adoptee narratives, 2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the first decades of the 21st century, a range of autobiographical narratives dealing with adoption from South Korea to the U.S. have been published, such as Katy Robinson’s A Single Square Picture (2002), Jane Jeong Trenka’s The Language of Blood (2003) and Fugitive Visions (2009), and Soojung Jo’s Ghost of Sangju (2015). Embodying two cultures and two races, the transnational/transracial adoptee can be seen as an example of globalization from within U. S. culture. This paper focuses on how issues of identity, race and belonging are negotiated in the life writing of transnational/transracial adoptees. Eng and Han (2000) suggest that the Asian adoptee suffers from “racial melancholia,” which stems from having to navigate Asianness and whiteness without the support of an immigrant community. The relationship between affect and belonging is further probed through the use of Sara Ahmed’s discussion of the melancholic migrant (“Multiculturalism and the Promise of Happiness,” 2007), and the arguments concerning anger made by critical race theorists, such as bell hooks (Killing Rage, 1996). Yet another aspect of the global scope of the literature are the similar types of narratives that are now being written in Scandinavia. The paper concludes by drawing parallels between the works of Danish Maja Lee Langvad and Swedish Astrid Trotzig, and the American adoptee narratives.

  • 14.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    The Harlem renaissance: depicting the "New Negro"2009In: African-American poets / [ed] Harold Bloom, New York: Bloom's Literary Criticism , 2009, New ed., p. 147-164Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 15.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Lunds universitet.
    The "New Negro" in the Old World: culture and performance in James Weldon Johnson, Jessie Fauset, and Nella Larsen2006Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis investigates the relationship between the “New Negro” moment of the early twentieth-century America and the Old World of Europe, as represented in James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912), Jessie Fauset’s There is Confusion (1924), and Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928). In the nineteenth century, Europe functioned as a symbol of freedom, education and art in the African-American literary imagination. It is my contention that these notions are questioned in the novels of Johnson, Fauset and Larsen.

    The episodes set in Europe are seen as a lens through which the role of the African-American in Western civilization can be studied. The African-American artist/protagonists are seen as cultural intermediaries, who bridge Euro-American and African-American culture, national and folk culture, high and low culture. Their performances are here understood as crucially related to the geo-cultural symbolism of Europe. Performance is considered as a vital part of African-American identity formation, tallying with the double consciousness that DuBois identified as characteristic of the African-American. I suggest that in these novels, the trope of performance (based on double consciousness) is used to critique the notions of race and culture, whereby conceptions of racial essentialism and cultural authenticity are questioned. The novels themselves are also considered as performative acts that helped form the concept of a New Negro in the 1920s.

    To approach the social meaning of these novels, they can be contrasted with vernacular African-American art forms, here represented by music, such as blues, ragtime and jazz.Music, which plays an important part in all the novels, is analyzed in relation to the European-derived novel. This is a discussion in which the notion of authenticity surfaces, with regard to what constitutes a black identity and a “black text.” I argue that music here functions as an index of cultural identity and a motif through which this identity could be re-imagined. However, instead of offering simple affirmations of a shared black identity, the novels initiate discussions of what can and cannot signify “blackness.” The texts of Fauset and Larsen are particularly ambiguous in this respect, indicating the authors’ sensitiveness to the combined limitations of race and gender.

  • 16.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    Uppror mot en svartvit världsbild2008In: Svenska dagbladet, ISSN 1101-2412, no 1/2Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 17.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    "We don't think of these things here": on teaching African American texts in Sweden2007In: European scholars teaching African American texts / [ed] Simcikova, Karla, Ostrava: University of Ostrava , 2007, p. 33-44Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 18.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för humaniora.
    ’White noir’ in Sàpmi: Lars Pettersson’s novels2019Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Lars Pettersson’s three crime novels Kautokeino, en blodig kniv (“Kautokeino, a bloodied knife,” 2012), Slaktmånad (“Slaughter month,” 2014), and Mörkertid (“Time of darkness, ”2016) are all set in the region of Sápmi, land originally inhabited by the Sami people, north of the Arctic Circle. The paper argues that Pettersson challenges the contemporary neo-romantic trend of Swedish crime fiction, which is generally constituted of works devoid of political or social critique, and set in isolated, idyllic rural landscapes (see Kerstin Bergman 2012, 2014). In contrast, Pettersson’s novels deal with crimes taking place in a setting characterized by snow, ice and wind; and the harshness and inaccessibility of the environment echo in the behavior of the characters. The concept of “white noir” is proposed in order to explore the cynicism and alienation of the inhabitants of this snowy region, and to draw attention to Pettersson’s representations of how the racialization of the Sami people continues to affect present-day relationships. Finally, the potential of fiction to serve as a complement to journalism when it comes to the documentation of sensitive social issues, such as the treatment of the Sami people in Sweden, is considered.

  • 19.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för humaniora.
    Whose Memory?: Contemporary Narratives of the Japanese American World War II Incarceration2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper addresses the contemporary surge of narratives about the post-Pearl Harbor incarceration of 120, 000 Japanese Americans. There are a number of incarceration narratives written by third-generation Japanese Americans, like Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine (2002) and Kimi Cunningham Grant’s Silver Like Dust (2011). These early 21st- century narratives no longer embody the lived memories of the generation that was imprisoned, but the mediated, imagined memories transmitted to the next generation in a way that resonates with Hirsch’s concept of “postmemory” (2008). In these writings, the personal and family past is often merged with the public past, as the unearthing of what actually happened at camp is closely linked to the search for identity and an answer to what it means to be a Japanese American. In contrast, the purely fictional works by non-Japanese authors, such as Sandra Dallas’ Tallgrass (2007) and Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky (2014), raise the question of the ownership of memory.

    An important starting point for my analysis is the recognition that literature has an important role to play in “creating shared narratives and hence in collectivizing memory” (Rigney 2012), which begs the question of who gets to formulate these shared narratives. What might be at stake when this historical trauma is depicted by authors who do not have the personal relationship to it that the Japanese American authors do? Are Dallas and others broadening national self-understanding, or do they commodify the incarceration as an exciting topic of historical fiction lending itself readily to motifs of secrecy, betrayal, and guilt? These issues are explored in relation to Landsberg’s theory of prosthetic memory (2004) and Levy and Sznaider’s concept “cosmopolitan memory” (2002).

  • 20.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    Whose memory?: contemporary narratives of the Japanese-American world war II internment2018In: History,memory and nostalgia in literature and culture / [ed] Regina Rudaityté, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018, p. 157-172Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 21.
    Ahlin, Lena
    et al.
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    Freij, Maria
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    Feedback and (self-) assesment2016In: Högskolepedagogisk debatt, ISSN 2000-9216, no 2, p. 79-86Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 22.
    Freij, Maria
    et al.
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    Going forward with feedback: on autonomy and teacher feedback2014In: Text analysis: culture, framework & teaching: conference proceedings from the Text Analysis Symposium at Kristianstad University, April 2014 / [ed] Jane Mattisson, Maria Bäcke, Kristianstad: Kristianstad University Press , 2014, p. 42-58Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Language teachers often complain that they are becoming “composition slaves” (Hairston 1986) spending an inordinate amount of work on giving feedback on students' texts. This might be particularly true of L2 teachers as several studies indicate that students prefer teacher feedback to peer feedback, particularly in L2 learning (Zhang; Hyland). While the ultimate goal of teacher-written feedback is an independent and self-regulating, the risk of “over-dependence on teacher feedback lower[ing] the students’ initiative” (Miao, Badger, and Zhen) looms large. This paper probes the limits and implications of teacher feedback focusing on the question of whether teacher feedback generates dependent students. Through a discussion of three cases, we ask: when does feedback go from being constructive to impeding development of independence? This idea of dependence is further considered in relation to current debates about the rise of “therapeutic education” in which students are discussed in terms of “vulnerability” (Füredi; Ecclestone and Hayes). We conclude by suggesting that the challenge for teachers is not to assume the role of therapists but to encourage reflective education through clarity about academic goals, and making explicit the crucial role of autonomy for successful student progression — in and beyond the university setting.

  • 23. Freij, Maria
    et al.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Going forward with feedback:: on autonomy and teacher feedback2014Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 24.
    Freij, Maria
    et al.
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    (Re-)examining the essay: alternative approaches to writing assessment2016Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 25.
    Freij, Maria
    et al.
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    Stating the obvious: teaching the “third language” from the bottom up2015In: Högskolepedagogisk debatt, no 1, p. 61-83Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper takes the position that there are features of academic language that are intricately tied to an academic practice. We discuss academic language as the key to 1) Belonging in the academic community; 2) Becoming a writer with a scholarly identity; 3) Understanding writing as a meaning-making practice; and 4) Performing scholarly practice and -identity (adapted from Wenger 1998).

    As we see it, student needs are often related to the subskills of not just academic writing, but to an overarching approach to academic practice. We argue that it is increasingly important to teach explicitly this “third language” and focus here on identifying some of the most pertinent aspects of academic skills. We find that our students need to be able to, as we have argued elsewhere “approach writing in a manner that makes explicit the connection between practising and practice” (Freij and Ahlin 2014). By making explicit expectations and subskills or micro-objectives of academic practice, we are more honestly inviting students to participate in the scholarly environment. Our primary interest lies in how the teaching–learning dialogue may be shaped to improve students’ independence, and we see that a crucial component of that climb is to make visible the steps of the ladder. We support, then, a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach in the quest better to equip students more aptly for the tasks at hand.

    Finally, we suggest that we, and our students, may benefit greatly from a curriculum that constructively aligns subject-specific content, and that we integrate subskills related to writing and reasoning into our courses and programs more systematically.

  • 26.
    Mattisson, Jane
    et al.
    Kristianstad University, Research environment Learning Design (LeaD). Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap.
    Fjelkner, Annika
    Kristianstad University, School of Health and Society, Avdelningen för Ekonomi.
    A guide for teachers and students in a cross-cultural context2014Report (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    A Guide for Teachers and Students in a Cross-cultural Context addresses important aspects of cross-cultural education primarily in relation to China and Sweden though much of what is written here also applies to other nationalities. Our observations are based in part on our experience of teaching Chinese students both in China and in Sweden and on six workshops held at Linnaeus University, Sweden, Kristianstad University, Sweden, and Beijing Normal University, China.

    Our handbook is divided into three sections: practical information; oral interaction in the cross-cultural classroom; and writing in the cross-cultural classroom. The three sections point to potential problems and misunderstandings between China and Sweden and provide practical advice and tips for students and teachers.

    We welcome Chinese and other international students to Kristianstad University. They enrich our classrooms and stimulate new thinking as well as new teaching practices. It is our hope that readers of our handbook will contact us, providing comments and suggesting additions to the three sections. All comments and suggestions can be sent by e-mail to the contributors.

1 - 26 of 26
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