Excerpts from the World Waltz : Contamination as literary genre and anthropological research method
Paper short abstract:
To what extent can the academic and literary practices truly converge and fuse into new genres? I explore the trans-genre contamination as a congenial form for interrogating contamination as a subject - the purity/impurity discourse; creolization- with South Africa as my principal case.
Paper long abstract:
To what extent do the academic and literary practices truly converge? Is it even desirable that they fuse into new genres? These are questions that I have struggled with the last decade in my double capacity as literary writer and academic researcher. I am currently exploring a cross-genre that I at first, for lack of a better term, called ethnographic fiction (Hemer 2015; 2017). I have however lately decided to opt for the term contamination, based on the tradition outlined by Appiah (2006), going from Roman playwright Publius Terentius Afer, whose fusions of comedy and tragedy were called contaminations, to Salman Rushdie, the supposedly foremost contemporary successor. Appiah does however not present a more specific definition of this tradition of contamination; in fact, Terence and Rushdie are the only names mentioned. I take it as an open and intriguing suggestion for a trans-genre in the borderland of art and academia, in which I inscribe my own work. Contamination as a genre is a congenial form for exploration of contamination as a subject - the purity/impurity discourse (Douglas 1966); creolization (Glissant 1990; 1997; Hannerz 1986; 1996; Gutiérrez Rodríguez 2015; Erasmus 2017) - with South Africa as my principal case (Hemer 2012). I think a "migratory aesthetics" may fit well to frame my work in progress, which I would be happy to present to this panel.
Anthropological border crossings and migratory aesthetics