The German concept of Heimat carries a rich set of cultural and ideological connotations that combine notions of belonging and identity with affective attachment to a specific place or region. At a time when regional realms have regained significance not only in sociopolitical life but also in cultural and literary discourses, critical engagement with recent studies of spatiality is potentially highly productive. Yet studies of Heimat rarely consider these new discourses on space, while studies on literary representations of space seldom include approaches to Heimat. This article is thus guided by two main questions: how can Heimat as a term of literary analysis profit from more deliberate and nuanced considerations of space and place, and what can literary representations of Heimat contribute to transdisciplinary discourses on space and place? Some traditional representations of Heimat bring to the fore manifestations of place that were historically and politically among the most regressive, static, and exclusionary. Yet there are also narrative renderings of Heimat that can serve as rich case studies for multidimensional textures of place—as theorized in cultural geography.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.