Public defence in Comparative Literature: Nafiseh Sadat Mousavi

Title: The Art of Repeating Oneself. Migratory self-adaption: media choice, self-location and authorship
Subject: Comparative Literature
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Date: 19 March 2021
Place: Zoom webinar:

External reviewer: Prof. Moira Inghilleri, University of Massachusetts
Examining committee:
Prof. Jens Schröter, Universität Bonn
Prof. Jan-Noël Thon, Norwegian University of Science and Technology 
Lecturer Golnar Nabizadeh, University of Dundee
Chairperson: Prof. Liviu Lutas, Linnaeus University
Supervisor: Prof. Liviu Lutas, Linnaeus University
Examiner: Prof. Jørgen Bruhn, Linnaeus University
Spikning: 26 February 2021. Electronical spikning in Diva.


For those who can't join via Zoom, the public defence will be broadcast from a room at Växjö campus. Please contact for further information.


NB: Click the title above to read the full thesis.

This thesis studies the process and products of migratory self-adaptation: the practice of a migrant author recreating their own work in a new medium, and the baggage it brings with itself. Migratory self-adaptation is developed and analyzed in this research through a comparative and processual analysis of two cases of adaptation: Persepolis, a French autobiographical graphic novel written and drawn by Marjane Satrapi, the Franco- Iranian artist and writer, later turned into an animation movie co-written and codirected by Satrapi herself; and The Patience Stone, a novel written in French by Atiq Rahimi, the Franco-Afghan author, which is adapted to a homonymous film in Dari- Persian, co-written and directed by the author.

With their intercultural position, migrant authors face particular challenges of positionality, visibility, inclusion, and survival. Various strategies have been developed to address these challenges and migratory self-adaptation, as is argued and demonstrated throughout this research, brings several of these strategies together. The research argues that the authorship constructed through migratory self-adaptation is multi-directional, transmedial, and transcultural. This multi-dimensional authorship is analyzed through the extended case studies, which include contexts as well as texts and processes alongside the products.

Both works engage with narratives of violence, trauma, and oppression, respectively in Iran and Afghanistan, and address home and host cultures at varying degrees. In their multiple trajectories across media, languages, and geographies, they occupy different positions and offer varied possibilities for interpretation. As this study illustrates, transmedial movements, translational practices, borderworks, and memory acts are various facets of migratory self-adaptation materialized in Persepolis and The Patience Stone.

The study adopts an interdisciplinary approach in theory and methodology and develops a transmedial understanding of migrant authorship and a multi-layered understanding of adaptation. In doing so, it joins the disciplines of intermediality and adaptation studies with literature and cinema of migration and also integrates theories of authorship, translation, border, and memory. By discussing various faces of adaptation in the migratory situation and the interconnection between different cultural mechanisms, this research addresses some of the fundamental questions regarding authoring in migration, including but not restricted to translational communication, cultural difference, dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, and survival.


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