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054- Identity and Otherness: A Comparative Overview of Basque and Georgian Literatures

 

Organized by: Martin Artola & Garbiñe Iztueta

English, French

 

 

IDENTITY AND OTHERNESS: A COMPARATIVE OVERVIEW OF BASQUE AND GEORGIAN LITERATURES

 

Identity and otherness are concepts that have driven human self-conception(s) at least ever since the Renaissance and have consequently also contributed to social and cultural change. Especially since the postmodern era identity is conceived as dynamic, shifting, fluid, multiplistic, fragmented, (Berzonsky, 2005), configured inextricably in relation to the other(s) and to power (Lyotard 1979) and further intersectional (Crenschaw 1991).

Both concepts, of great tradition in comparative literature (Skulj 2000), are also concepts of great relevance in Basque and Georgian literature. National and gender identity, for example, and consequently otherness, have undergone a strong evolution in Basque contemporary literature. Some of the main issues related to the topic identity/otherness are the contrast between modern and postmodern Basque identity (Kortazar, 2007; Esparza 2017), the literary critical approach to cultural memory as a central contribution to the critical reflection on Basque identity (Olaziregi, 2018, 2019, 2020), the diverse literary approaches to the Basque conflict (Ayerbe, 2019), and the representation of Basque identity in the Basque Diaspora (Totoricagüena 2004). All of them and furthermore have contributed to this process of construction of identity and renegotiation with the other.

In the case of Georgia, after independence and the Civil War, its literature has experienced a new flowering. In this new literature, the redefinition of the Georgian national identity, which differs substantially from that inherited from the korenizatsiya, stands out. Georgia is approaching Europe and the United States at the same pace as it is moving away from Russia, confronting self-perceptions and the idea of the other. Finally, the unresolved territorial conflicts that Georgia is facing are also noteworthy. Their imprint, as in the Basque case, can also be perceived in literature and in the two concepts we are dealing with.

This panel seeks to discuss key issues related to identity and otherness in Basque and Georgian literature in order to establish a dialogue between them. On one hand, this panel will aim at identifying and comparing the most relevant milestones in both literatures as to the conceptualization and eventually renegotiation of Basque and Georgian identities. On the other hand, we are interested in debating the contributions made by Basque and Georgian authors to a critical approach to the Basque and Georgian cultural identities respectively. Furthermore, the reciprocal reception of Georgian and Basque identity in the translated literature can offer a further perspective on the topic of the panel.

 

We are thus interested in hosting presentations which focus on these and related issues, outlining new fields of inquiry and scholarly discussion

 

This group session is sponsored by the Etxepare Basque Institute