Toward postmigrant realities in Leila Aboulela's Elsewhere, Home

Lena Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
137 Downloads (Pure)


The number of migration narratives published in recent years in the form of short stories, novels, poetry, and nonfiction has been considerable, particularly by writers connected with the African continent. Previous studies on this body of work have included investigations of identity and otherness, transnational connections, and cosmopolitan aspirations. Despite this abundance of perspectives on the literature, there have also been urgent calls for new ways of theorizing migration (Fasselt, 2019; Kraler, 2011; Edmunds, 2006). Postmigration is just such an intervention, a concept that aims to go beyond previous meanings of migrant and migration, to critique instances of othering and the gap between the margins and the majority society (Römhild, 2017), and to focus explicitly on trajectories relating to the future. Postmigration, as outlined by Roger Bromley (2017: 39), is not a concept solely tied to temporal distinctions, but is also ideological in its attempts to construct “a new set of emergent spaces of plurality”. The present article argues that Leila Aboulela’s short story collection Elsewhere, Home (2018) manifests such spaces, particularly through its representations and negotiations of gender, family practices, generation, and religious belief and practice. My analysis shows that Aboulela subverts tropes regarding gendered and religious identity and mobility. Elsewhere, Home is no longer primarily occupied with the displacement of individual characters but moves toward seeing migration as interaction and participation instead of integration (Moslund and Petersen, 2019), and as transcultural (Petersen and Schramm, 2017) instead of transnational.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1–17
JournalJournal of Commonwealth Literature
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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