Dr., Associate Professor, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark and University of Freiburg, Germany.
During his AIAS Cofund Junior Fellowship, Associate Professor Jan Alber will be working on the project "Ideology and Form: The Experimentalism of Recent Australian and Indian-English Prose Narratives".
This project concerns the ideological underpinnings of formal experiments in Australian and Indian-English prose narratives that were written between 1980 and 2010. As far as Australia is concerned, the project will concentrate on the conflict between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Unfortunately, negative stereotypes and constricting policies have continued to take their toll over the past decades; poverty is rife in indigenous communities, and movements to improve the situation of Aborigines have resulted in a huge polarisation in the public eye around questions of race, entitlement, and reparations for past injustices. With regard to the situation in India after 1947, the project will not only deal with the relationship between the British colonizers and the colonized but also address forms of oppression that have to do with class, caste, gender, religion, and ethnicity. In this context, the term 'form' denotes the idea of "an ordered whole defined by a grid of interrelations" (Margolin 2005: 182), while formal experiments draw attention to the used processes and materials. On the one hand, the term 'experiment' refers to the fact that some narratives make the "process of world-making" more difficult than others (McHale 2012: 146). On the other hand, formal experiments have to do with the fusing of "disparate elements […], be it a mixing of genre (literary, autobiographical, historical, artistic) or of mode (words, drawings, sculptures, photographs)" (Gibbons 2012: 240). The experiments that will be discussed concern elements of the narrated world but also beginnings; endings; narrative embeddings; intertextual references to other genres; the use of satire or parody; issues of language and style; and the typographical representation of the narrative.