Overheating seminar with Oscar Hemer: Writing Impurity/Methodologies of Contamination
Oscar Hemer is Professor of Journalistic and Literary Creation at Malmö University. He holds a Dr. Philos. degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Oslo (2011).
Oscar Hemer (Photo: Aron Hejdström)
My seminar will have two interrelated foci that both, indirectly, relate to overheating. Firstly, I will discuss the relation between literary and academic writing. Drawing from my own experience as a literary writer and academic I will discuss how these writing practices may inform each other, and whether or not they can be merged. I will more specifically discuss a cross-genre form that I tentatively call “ethnographic fiction”.
Secondly, and subsequently, I will present the outlines of the research project I have recently embarked on; an open-ended interrogation, by different means, of the discourse of purity and impurity, with South Africa and Europe as (main) comparative cases. I claim, by way of hypothesis, that the current resurgence of nationalism and right-wing populism in Europe, as well as the continued obsession with race and the outbursts of xenophobia in South Africa, can be explicated by this discourse, which is not sufficiently theorised. One aim of the project (and seminar) is to trace the possibilities of a politics of impurity or contamination, as opposed to the still pervasive and apparently rising politics of purity.