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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 Humaniora.
    African-American autobiography: from the slave narratives to the Autobiography of an ex-colored man2001Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper analyzes James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man as a response to the call of the nineteenth-century slave narratives, arguing that in Johnson’s text we can discern a changing concept of African American subjectivity. The analysis proposes that this changing concept of self is linked to a changing form for the story of that self.

  • 4.
    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.

  • 5.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    "And we knew it would only be a matter of time until all traces of us were gone": Julie Otsuka and the Japanese-American internment during World War II2013Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In her two novels When the Emperor Was Divine (2002) and The Buddha in the Attic (2011), Julie Otsuka explores the experiences of Japanese immigrants in the US before and during World War II.  In this paper, her works are considered as narratives of cultural remembrance employing certain motifs that articulate the experience of ‘relocation,’ or internment, of Japanese Americans during the war. The paper argues that the tropes of disintegration, guilt, imprisonment and dislocation are critical to Otsuka’s representation of the internment.  Furthermore, these tropes are most significantly mediated through gender and narrative perspective. The collective point of view, used partly in When the Emperor was Divine and throughout The Buddha in the Attic, resonates with Otsuka’s conception of the Japanese as a “communal people” allowing her to “tell everyone’s story.” This notion forms part of my examination of how the collective voice underscores the themes of collective remembrance and social critique.    

    Finally, the paper considers When the Emperor was Divine and The Buddha in the Attic in relation to Anne Whitehead’s observation (in Memory 2009:14) that “forgetting […] shapes and defines the very contours of what is recalled and preserved; what is transmitted as remembrance from one generation to the next.” Otsuka’s texts are regarded as memory work revolving around the tension between remembrance and forgetting. Silence and forgetting are a significant part of the practices of remembrance of the Japanese-American internment, suggesting the simultaneous resilience and vulnerability of the Japanese Americans.

  • 6.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    "And we knew it would only be a matter of time until all traces of us were gone": remembrance and forgetting in Julie Otsuka’s novels2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    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.  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.
    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.

  • 8.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    From Harlem to Copenhagen: African American authors in Europe2000Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper deals with images of Europe in African American fiction from the 1920’s. What are the implications for an African American author of including a European episode in her or his fiction? More specifically, I will look at how the European setting affects the representations of race and identity in African American women’s fiction from the inter war years. Special focus is placed on the works of Jessie Fauset’s There Is Confusion (1924) and Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928). In their different ways, these novels highlight many of the larger issues that are characteristic of the 1920’s, such as primitivism versus civilization, questions of cultural ‘belonging,’ the black artists’ relationship to modernity, and the establishment of an African American artistic tradition.

    I argue that the representations of Europe are symbolic geographies, allowing for criticism of social and historical conditions in America. Through the fictional encounters with European life, Nella Larsen and Jessie Fauset provide us with a lens through which we can see what we call “Western civilization.” The travels in Europe become a way of interrogating the role of the African American in the construction of this civilization. Performance is hereby an important trope, which relates to the authors’ understandings of culture, race and historical agency.

  • 9.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    ”From the pale calm of Copenhagen  to the colorful lure of Harlem.”: Europe and the literary representations of ‘race’ in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand2001Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper deals with the representation of Europe in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928). Furthermore, how does the European setting affect the representations of race and identity in the novel? I discuss how the spatial change affects the protagonist Helga Crane’s notion of “race” and self, as the encounter with the European setting highlights the dialectic process of identity construction. Leaving America Helga thinks she will find relief from limiting notions of “blackness,” but instead she only finds re-articulations of the concept of “race” in Europe. In compliance with her Danish family’s expectations of exotic primitivism, Helga emphasizes her difference and, I suggest, passes for “black” The performative aspect of passing is discussed in relation to Larsen’s understanding of culture, “race” and historical agency. In her complex ways of conceiving culture and “race,” Nella Larsen still speaks to the present moment, and the late twentieth century debates concerning difference and identity politics.

    I read Larsen’s representations of Europe as symbolic geographies, allowing for criticism of social and historical conditions in America as well as Europe. Through the fictional encounters with European life, Nella Larsen provides us with a lens through which we can see what we call “Western civilization.” Helga’s travels in Europe, here told in a reversal of the conventions of the travel narratives of the white, European, male narrator, become a way of interrogating the role of the African American in the construction of this civilization.

  • 10.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    From the pale calm of Copenhagen to the colorful lure of Harlem: on being an African American in interwar Europe2000Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 11. 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)
  • 12.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education.
    Going forward with feedback: On autonomy and teacher feedback2014Conference 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 1995; Ferris 1995; Hyland 1998). While the ultimate goal of teacher-written feedback is a student who is able to assess her own work critically and successfully edit her own text,  there is an obvious risk that the “over-dependence on teacher feedback [will] lower the students’ initiative and lead to fewer self-initiated corrections” (Miao, Badger and Zhen 2006). This paper probes the limits and implications of teacher feedback focusing on the question of whether teacher feedback generates dependent students. When does feedback go from being constructive to impeding development of independence? The 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 2004; Ecclestone and Hayes 2009). To what extent should not only the cognitive but also the emotional needs of the students shape the nature of teacher feedback? The paper concludes 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 a sense of progression throughout the various stages of education.

  • 13.
    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.

  • 14.
    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.

  • 15.
    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?

  • 16.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    Nostalgia, motherhood and adoption: two contemporary Swedish examples2019In: Humanities, ISSN 2076-0787, Vol. 8, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the notion of nostalgia in two recent Swedish narratives of transnational adoption: Christina Rickardsson’s Sluta aldrig gå, 2016, (published in English as Never Stop Walking in 2017), and Cilla Naumann’s Bära barnet hem (“Carrying the Child Home”, 2015). The two narratives deal with adoption from South America to Sweden, include autobiographical content, and enable a comparison between an adoptee memoir (Rickardsson) and a parent-authored text (Naumann). Both texts center on maternal images, but the analysis suggests that Rickardsson’s narrative echoes the borderland nostalgia characteristic of adoptee writing. The adoptee memoirs, being reflective in mode and restorative in purpose, occupy a borderland between the two forms of nostalgia described by Boym (2001), while interrogating the temporal, spatial and affiliative boundaries of transnational adoption. Naumann’s nostalgic enterprise incorporates the mirrors, doubles and ghosts of reflective nostalgia. These representations are a fruitful means to represent the “other” family, and the alternative lives that were left behind in the process of adoption. Ultimately, her text suggests the limitations of the autobiographical mode and illustrates the capacity of fiction to provide a symbolic register in which to articulate the unspeakable aspects of adoption.

  • 17.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    On nostalgia in contemporary narratives of transnational adoption2018In: Once upon a time: nostalgic narratives in transition / [ed] Niklas Salmose & Eric Sandberg, Trolltrumma Academia , 2018, p. 26-40Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 18.
    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)
  • 19.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för humaniora.
    (Re-)examining the essay: alternative approaches to writing assessment2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As teachers of English, we guide our students through various courses in which the essay is often a privileged form of examination. Building on previous work (Freij & Ahlin 2014) in which we have argued for the importance of indirect feedback as key to encouraging critical thinking about and engagement with the text, as well as an important aspect of the acculturation into academia (see Freij and Ahlin 2014, 2015), we explore here non-traditional ways of examining skills pertaining to critical writing and -thinking. We have previously, inspired by the work of Diane Pecorari on the sequencing of micro-objectives (“Reverse engineering an essay,” 2014), argued that lecturers may find it increasingly important to structure tasks and assessment items in a manner that takes into account the multiple skills needed to complete them successfully, in order to avoid becoming what Hairston, already in 1986, called “composition slaves”. We see the teaching of transferable skills as crucial for the creation of autonomous students. In addition, central to the process of essay writing and the acquisition of transferable skills are clear identification and sequencing of the micro-objectives involved. Thus, students may practice the skills that they need, while building on gradually acquired/previous knowledge.

    This paper continues our previous work, and takes the first steps toward creating a bank of exercises that train the subskills of critical writing and -thinking. By moving away from the essay as the be all and end all of assessment, we are taking further steps towards identifying common ground: the hope is that our suggestions are not limited to the humanities, but can be used across the curriculum to strengthen the base on which students’ knowledge is built.

    Notably, as we are not merely concerned with students’ completion of individual tasks, but in their meta-cognition, which includes “reflection, self-knowledge of strengths and weaknesses, learning strategies, and monitoring learning” (Billing 2007, p. 486), the exercises presented here are not to be seen as a ‘remedy’ or a ‘quick fix’; rather, they are to be used as stepping stones and preferably integrated into a context that allows for progression over a substantial period of time.

    In other words, we argue that student autonomy and metacognition should be developed from the very beginning of our study programs. To reach this goal, our approach includes teaching students the “third language” from the bottom up (Freij and Ahlin 2015), which means viewing the tertiary experience as manifold. Returning to our adaptation of Wenger’s theory, we will discuss academic language not just from a point of view of producing the end result, but 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).

  • 20. Ahlin, Lena
    Renoverad mansroll2004In: Sydsvenska dagbladet, no 20/3Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 21.
    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)
  • 22.
    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)
  • 23.
    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.

  • 24.
    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)
  • 25.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education.
    The myth of colorblindness in contemporary Korean American adoption narratives2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In the first decades of the 21st century, a range of autobiographical narratives dealing with adoption from 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). These texts all share one or more of the following motifs characteristic of the transracial/transnational adoption narrative:  the search for roots and a return to Korea, including the reunion with parents and siblings; the revelation of hidden facts or distorted truths surrounding the adoption; and a critical look at the patriarchal structure of Korean society. In addition, color is an important theme and this paper discusses how the myth of colorblindness and the discourse of rescue—two common adoption myths—are debunked in the narratives.

    My analysis shows that while well intentioned, the notion of colorblindness rests on the erasure of racial identity which, as Eng and Han (2000) have shown, may lead to “racial melancholia.” Furthermore, rather than invalidating the significance of the color line, colorblindness has often served to reinforce racial divisions (see for example Arissa Oh, 2015). In other words, the denial of the adoptee’s difference hinges on upholding the ideal of whiteness. The paper concludes by considering how these observations relate to the adoptees’ negotiation of an Asian American identity and sense of belonging.

  • 26.
    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.

  • 27.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    The Past in the Present: contemporary representations of the Japanese-American internment during World War II.2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper focuses on literary representations of the incarceration of about 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent after the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. After the attack Japanese Americans on the West coast of the U.S. were rounded up and “evacuated” (as the contemporary, euphemistic term was), or sent to prison camps. How does the memory of the internment help articulate a national identity in the early 21st century? In seeking to answer this question, the paper considers the work of third generation Japanese-Americans, like Julie Otsuka and Kimi Cunningham Grant, who are uncovering their own family past in their narratives, in relation to the work of Sandra Dallas, as a representative of the current interest in internment fiction by non-Japanese authors.  What might be at stake when the internment is depicted by authors like Dallas who do not have the same kind of personal relationship to it that the Japanese American authors do?  The question of guilt and the potential of fiction to generate “imagined” or “prosthetic memories” are key issues examined in this analysis.

  • 28.
    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.))
  • 29.
    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)
  • 30.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    When Washington was in Vogue and the African-American literary tradition: a re-definition of the Jazz Age?2005Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper deals with the Harlem Renaissance, but also with the present, in an attempt to explore how these two historical periods relate to each other and to the text of Edward Christopher Williams. It is thus centered on two related topics or lines of inquiry: the first is to introduce the book, When Washington Was In Vogue, which was originally published as a series of articles in the years 1925 and 26, and only published as a book in 2003. How does this “novel” differ from other, well-known Harlem Renaissance texts when it comes to the use of place, subject matter, and the kind of black life it represents? Second, how does it affect our understanding of the period? The paper suggests that When Washington Was In Vogue intervenes into the general understanding of Harlem Renaissance novels by presenting an example of a first-person epistolary novel which amount to an assertive affirmation of black subjectivity. The ‘I’ of Davy Carr’s fictional letters is a stable central consciousness with ample power to put his experiences into words. The confident and positive black voice we hear in this novel forms an example of how ongoing present research has an effect the description of the past: how the individual talent rewrites tradition. Davy’s perspective provides a vantage point that makes possible the assertion of a slightly different 1920s than we have been used to seeing in contemporary African-American fiction. The paper concludes by briefly considering the re-publication of Williams’s work in relation to the role of the literary critic and researcher—and of the literary marketplace.

  • 31.
    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.

  • 32.
    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).

  • 33.
    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)
  • 34.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humaniora.
    Writing and Identity in Jane Jeong Trenka’s Life Narratives2017In: International Adoption in North American Literature and Culture: transnational, transracial and transcultural narratives / [ed] Mark Shackleton, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, p. 121-142Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter explores the connection between writing and subjectivity in Jane Jeong Trenka’s two memoirs, The Language of Blood (2003) and Fugitive Visions (2009), suggesting that the two texts participate in a dialogue in which questions that were raised in the first work are revisited and reconsidered in the second. The result is a multilayered and at times conflicted life narrative, which offers no simple solutions to the complex questions of identity raised. While Trenka’s texts address the unspeakable aspects of adoption and the inability to recover parts of the past, they also address the materiality of adoption. Common adoption myths, such as the discourse of rescue, and the myth of color-blindness, are debunked. The chapter argues that there is a tension in the texts between the representation of adoption as trauma with individual as well as societal implications, and adoption as a productive site generating questions of identity and origin of universal relevance. Placing the form and act of narration in focus, the analysis suggests that the adoption narrative may function as an empowering imaginative space for the production of identity. In addition, the paper traces how sensory experiences are used to re-enact the past—or even instill new memories to replace the perceived gaps in the narrative of the past. The two texts suggest that an engagement with and translation of the non-verbal aspects of identity into text can provide acts of self-authorization that demonstrate the restorative potential of the transnational adoptee’s life narrative.

  • 35.
    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)
  • 36.
    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-)assessment2016In: Högskolepedagogisk debatt. Tema: återkoppling, ISSN 2000-9216, no 2, p. 79-87Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 37.
    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.

  • 38. Freij, Maria
    et al.
    Ahlin, Lena
    Going forward with feedback:: on autonomy and teacher feedback2014Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 39.
    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)
  • 40.
    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.

  • 41.
    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 - 41 of 41
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