Accepted abstracts: Identity and otherness: a comparative overview of Basque and Georgian literatures

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


From July 24-29, 2022, Tbilisi State University will host the 23rd Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA).

The TSU’s Basque Language and Culture Lectureship, together with the Etxepare Basque Institute have organized a panel for the congress under the title “Identity and otherness: a comparative overview of Basque and Georgian Literatures”.

The dadline for submitting proposals ended on January 13 and the organisers have made the accepted papers public.

Identity and Otherness: A Comparative Overview of Basque and Georgian Literatures

Chairs: Martin Artola (TSU University) & Garbiñe Iztueta (University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU-Etxepare Euskal Institutua) 

Key-note speakers: 

  • Izaro Arroita Azkarate: Conflicting memories and families in conflict: Identity and otherness in contemporary Basque literature. University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU 
  • Paulo Kortazar: "National identity in a global world; otherness in a country without a state. The case of Basque Contemporary Literature". University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

 Accepted abstracts: 

  • Aitzpea Leizaola: Basques, Mi’kMaqs and Inuits: Transoceanic First Nations encounters in comic and graphic novels. University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
  • Monika Madinabeitia: Frank Bergon´s Fiction: From Black To White. Mondragon Unibertsitatea / Universidad de Mondragón.
  • Eneko Bidegain: Laxalt family’s Basque American correspondence after Sweet Promised Land. Mondragon Unibertsitatea / Universidad de Mondragón.
  • Kepa Matxain: Transformation of Identity in the ‘Bertso-Event’: Three Experiences of Crisis. University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
  • Dato Turashvili: "If the sky in Basque Country looks like the sky in Georgia?". Writer and TSU University
  • Marian Chkhartishvili: Process of National Identity Forging: We vs Others in Nineteenth Century Georgian Literary Fiction (specific title in progress) TSU University
  • Zurab Targamadze: Process of National Identity Forging: We vs Others in Nineteenth Century Georgian Literary Fiction (specific title in progress) TSU University
  • Sopio Kadagishvili: Process of National Identity Forging: We vs Others in Nineteenth Century Georgian Literary Fiction (specific title in progress) TSU University

Mariam Chkhartishvili, Zurab Targamadze, Sopio Kadagishvili : Process of National Identity Forging: We vs Others (According to Nineteenth Century Georgian Literary Fiction)

Identity and otherness are concepts that have driven human self-conception(s) at least ever since the Renaissance and have consequently also contributed to social and cultural change. Especially since  the postmodern era identity is conceived as dynamic, shifting, fluid, multiplistic, fragmented, (Berzonsky, 2005), configured inextricably in relation to the other(s) and to power (Lyotard 1979) and further intersectional (Crenschaw 1991).

Both concepts, of great tradition in comparative literature (Skulj 2000), are also concepts of great relevance in Basque and Georgian literature. National and gender identity, for example, and consequently otherness, have undergone a strong evolution in Basque contemporary literature. Some of the main issues related to the topic identity/otherness are the contrast between modern and postmodern Basque identity (Kortazar, 2007; Esparza 2017), the literary critical approach to cultural memory as a central contribution to the critical reflection on Basque identity (Olaziregi, 2018, 2019, 2020), the diverse literary approaches to the Basque conflict (Ayerbe, 2019), and the representation of Basque identity in the Basque Diaspora (Totoricagüena 2004). All of them and furthermore have contributed to this process of construction of identity and renegotiation with the other.

In the case of Georgia, after independence and the Civil War, its literature has experienced a new flowering. In this new literature, the redefinition of the Georgian national identity, which differs substantially from that inherited from the korenizatsiya, stands out. Georgia is approaching Europe and the United States at the same pace as it is moving away from Russia, confronting self-perceptions and the idea of the other. Finally, the unresolved territorial conflicts that Georgia is facing are also noteworthy. Their imprint, as in the Basque case, can also be perceived in literature and in the two concepts we are dealing with.

This panel seeks to discuss key issues related to identity and otherness in Basque and Georgian literature in order to establish a dialogue between them. On one hand, this panel will aim at identifying and comparing the most relevant milestones in both literatures as to the conceptualization and eventually renegotiation of Basque and Georgian identities. On the other hand, we are interested in debating the contributions made by Basque and Georgian authors to a critical approach to the Basque and Georgian cultural identities respectively. Furthermore, the reciprocal reception of Georgian and Basque identity in the translated literature can offer a further perspective on the topic of the panel.

This group session is sponsored by the Etxepare Basque Institute.

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