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Jan Alber


Current position: Professor, Department of English and American Studies, Aachen University, Germany.

During his AIAS-COFUND Junior Fellowship, Jan Alber worked on the project "Ideology and Form: The Experimentalism of Recent Australian and Indian-English Prose Narratives".

Project at AIAS

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.

Project title:

Ideology and Form: The Experimentalism of Recent Australian and Indian-English Prose Narratives

Area of research:

Philology, Litterature, Art and Ancient Sciences

Fellowship period:

1 Oct 2014 – 30 Sep 2017

Fellowship type

AIAS-COFUND Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow

This fellowship has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 609033 and The Aarhus University Research Foundation.