My paper will give a presentation of a project titled ”Father in New Fatherland, Mother in New Mothersoil“, which is currently being plannedat the Swedish Migration Center in Karlstad, Sweden. Thisis a project within the field of Comparative Literature thataimsto study portrayals of familyin contemporary Swedish fictionwhere one or both of the parental figures have migrated to Sweden. The material consists of fifteen Swedish novels publishedin the last ten years2004–2014. To portrayparents with immigrant backgrounds –fathersespecially –isthus somewhat of aliterary trendat the moment.
The projectwill analyze theimages of migranthood and parenthood conveyed in the novelsand answer questions such as:How is being a parent in a different country from where you havegrown up described? Whatparental roles are representedand how are the relationships between parents and children depicted?Some of the specific themes that will be discussed in the project are, for example, the questionof mother tongue,that is to say what happens when parent and child do not share the same primary language and when the child has to take on the role of translatorfor the parent. Another theme is the question of homeland, that is to say the individual’sfeelingof national belonging and what happens when parent and child do not share the same feelingin regard to this.
Parallel to the research part of the project, there are plans to also produce educational materials for schools and an exhibition based onliterary quotes and excerpts accompanied by photographic interpretations. My hope with this paper is both to receive and to give some ideas about ways to use literature and fiction in migration research and in communicating about migration with a broader community.