Anna Meera Gaonkar

Anna Meera Gaonkar

PhD fellow

I am interested in migration, postmigration, nationalism and coloniality as formative contexts of art and culture. My PhD research considers affective implications of migrancy in modern and contemporary Europe – the Scandinavian countries in particular.

Keywords: migration, postmigration, racialized migrancy, affect theory, affective biopolitics, nationalism, technologies of citizenship, legal and emotional belonging, heimat, homesickness, regulation of kinship, coloniality, adoption studies, globalization.


Current research:

In my dissertation, I analyze a selection of postmillennial Danish-language works by writers, documentary filmmakers and visual artists who, in various ways, engage with expressions of homesickness through their own migrant ancestries, experiences of othering or anticipations for the future.

Informed by these works, I set out to complicate a prevalent understanding of homesickness as a binary emotion constituted by a temporal then/now and a spatial there/here. This entails taking a closer look at the historical ranking of homesickness as a clinical term pathologizing the inability or unwillingness to acclimatize or assimilate.

Instead, I suggest that unpacking homesickness in the context of contemporary European society – within the so-called postmigrant condition – can offer insight into personal implications of migrancy and producers of unhomeliness such as affective biopolitics, regulation of kinship, technologies of citizenship, racialization and migrantization.

I thereby want to argue that cultural representations of homesickness can be critically productive. In this sense, one may be homesick not because one is sick for home, but because one is sick of home. The dissertation will also consider the homesick rhetoric of Danish anti-immigration discourse on ‘Good Old Denmark’, and how different modes of homesickness are related.


Teaching and supervision areas:

–      migration, postmigration, nationalism, globalization

–      postcolonial theory, coloniality, decoloniality

–      (queer feminist) affect theory, affective biopolitics

–      othering, racialization, racism 

–      belonging, regulation of kinship (repatriation, 24-year rule)

–      critical perspectives on the portrayal of honor-related conflicts

–      cross-cultural perspectives on art and culture

–      media representation (in newspapers and documentary films)


Current courses:

Spring 2019: Migration, Postmigration and the Arts: Contemporary Literature and Film, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Section for Modern Culture and Comparative Literature, University of Copenhagen

Spring 2019: Kulturteori- og analyse with Mikkel Bolt and Henrik Reeh, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Section for Comparative Literature, University of Copenhagen (four sessions on feminism and gender, psychoanalysis, coloniality and decoloniality as well as posthumanism).

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