As part of: &NOW 2018: A Festival of New Writing
(An) Alternate Notion(s) of Home
Shira Dentz, Mary-Kim Arnold, Allison Grimaldi Donahue, Johannes Göransson, Diana Khoi Nguyen
Even if traditional, socially-normative notions and representations of home ever truly reflected lived experience, it is clear they no longer can accommodate the social, cultural, and political realities of contemporary American life. In this interdisciplinary, cross-genre panel, five authors, including two translators, interrogate and deconstruct these limited, commercially-driven ideas of what constitutes home through formally experimental narratives, to offer alternative notions of home. As Wittgenstein famously wrote, “the limits of our world are the limits of our language.” If language is a kind of home, then these writers, whose experiences fall outside existing codifications of belonging, are compelled to employ collage and juxtaposition across medium and genre to invent new formal means of expression. Approaches that traverse boundaries between, within, and across genres—allows these authors to address complicated themes such as transnational identity, adoption, loss, gender, and language through an expansion of given forms. These complex narratives often explore cultural, political, and personal realities. Authors draw from research, biography, criticism, art, popular media, and philosophy to create culturally-relevant artworks that challenge received social norms and push the boundaries of language. Presenters discuss how in crafting (an) alternate notion(s) of home, hybrid forms also invite the critique of social categories in our family-centric culture.