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von Koenen, Katharina

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Nach 6-jährigem Studium an der Universität Freiburg und verschiedenen Auslandsaufenthalten (Großbritannien, Spanien, Mexiko), legte Katharina von Koenen im November 2008 ihre letzten Prüfungen für das Staatsexamen mit den Fächern Englisch und Spanisch ab. Ihre wissenschaftliche Arbeit trägt den Titel „The Representation and Transformation of the Aztlan Myth in different Forms of Chicano Art“ und dient als Ausgangspunkt für ihr Dissertationsprojekt. Katharina ist seit Sommer 2007 abwechselnd als Teaching Assistant und Hilfskraft am Lehrstuhl für Romanische Literaturwissenschaft Prof. Dr. Andreas Gelz tätig und arbeitet in diesem Rahmen besonders an dem FRIAS-Forschungsprojekt zum Skandalbegriff in der spanischen Kulturgeschichte mit.
Seit Januar 2009 ist sie Stipendiatin des Graduiertenkollegs „Geschichte und Erzählen“.


From “cosmic race” to post-identity transpositions   A historical approach to the study of Aztec mythology in transitional periods of Chicano literature

My project is situated in the realm of Chicano literature, an interdisciplinary field embracing both Hispanic and American Studies. The art and culture of the ever-growing number of Mexican-Americans living in the United States has been the object of investigation since the notion of “ethnicity”  massively entered the academic discourse in the 1960s. However, research has so far mainly concentrated on those pieces of writing produced during the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, leaving aside Chicano art before 1959. I attempt to fill in some of the blank spaces that remain in the field of pre-movement Mexican-American literature in order to provide a historical perspective on the present discussions in Chicano studies. A particular focus hereby will be on the use of Aztec mythology as a means of establishing the spiritual backbone of Chicano literature through the glorification of an idealized indigenous past. The findings of this analysis I will then compare to the use of cultural symbols in present-day Mexican American art, as to establish a perspective of ante quem and post quem with respect to the political struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. Looking at these transitional periods of Chicano literature will bring about new insights into the vital importance of myths and cultural icons, which are a type of “narrative”, transporting collective identity from antiquity to our modern times.


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