Transcultural satire in German fiction of Turkish migration: Self-deprecation, ethnic impersonation, intertexuality
My dissertation presents a study of satire in contemporary German Fiction of Turkish migration. Engaging with a body of works hitherto neglected in scholarship, I examine how satirical texts, films, and plays intervene critically in discourses on post-unification German national identity. Drawing on the seminal work of scholars such as Leslie Adelson, Tom Cheesman, B. Venkat Mani, Petra Fachinger, and Deniz Göktürk, my dissertation expands the scholarship of Turkish German Studies by linking a discussion of satire as a critical rhetoric to the question of how we talk about what it means to be German.
Chapter one offers a novel framework of the satirical vis-à-vis standard conceptions of satire and deconstructionist theories of reading. I understand satire as a form of rhetoric that creates moments of ambiguity by bringing together intersectional categories like gender, ethnicity, race, religion, in order to challenge the audience’s practices of interpreting cultural otherness. Chapter two examines the use of ethnic self-deprecation as one such strategy in Osman Engin’s short stories and his first novel, Kanaken-Ghandi through the lens of Bakhtinian polyphony and Judith Butler’s work on hate speech. Engin, I argue, employs ethnic selfdeprecation as a narrative strategy to straddle the line between deconstructing and re-affirming cultural stereotypes. Investigating the role of ethnic impersonation in Hussi Kutlucan’s film Ich Chef, Du Turnshuh, the third chapter turns to the question of ethnicity as a visual signifier for the negotiation of cultural inclusion and exclusion in post-1990 film. In dialogue with Katrin Sieg’s work on ethnic drag and Amy Robinson’s theory of passing, I show how the film challenges ethnically-coded narratives of Germanness. In the final chapter on Nurkan Erpulat and Jens Hillje’s play Verrücktes Blut, I discuss how intertextuality and adaptation (Hutcheon, Genette) of different story and character worlds are used to create moments of ambiguity and overdeterminacy in the play, in order to challenge the audience’s perception of what an inclusive German society might look like.
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