A Staged Migration to Europe: Özdamar's Perikizi and Transgenerational Trauma


  • Jocelyn Aksin University of North Carolina at Greensboro




Jocelyn Aksin’s research is based in Turkish-German studies with a focus on transnational memory. She has published on the role of Turkish newspapers in Die Brücke vom Goldenen Horn and Bitteres Wasser by Emine Sevgi Özdamar, and received her Ph. D. from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014 with a dissertation on representations of memory in Turkish-German novels by Zafer Şenocak, Aras Ören, Feridun Zaimoğlu, and Emine Sevgi Özdamar. Jocelyn began studying Turkish as a graduate student in the German program at Washington University, and was awarded a fellowship from the American Research Institute in Turkey for advanced Turkish language study at Boğaziçi University (Bosphorus University). After spending nearly eight years in Istanbul where she completed her dissertation and worked as a language teacher, Jocelyn relocated to Greensboro, N.C. and joined the German Program at UNCG as a lecturer in 2018.

Author Biography

Jocelyn Aksin, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

This paper examines the nexus of migration, language, and trauma in Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s play, Perikızı (2010). More specifically, it posits that Özdamar uses medial elements unique to the theater to position migration as both a source of trauma and a catalyst to engage with multigenerational traumatic family histories. In doing so, Özdamar uses the play to comment on the role of the theater as a medium that allows for modes of embodied storytelling in response to failed, misunderstood, or stolen language. Embedded as it is within the larger framework of Homer’s Odyssey, the play suggests that the eponymous narrator’s perilous experience of migration serves as both a source of trauma and an access point to her family’s traumatic history. The theater gives voice and vision to this complexly layered multigenerational story as it unfolds across generations, cultures, and geographical boundaries.




How to Cite

Aksin, J. (2020). A Staged Migration to Europe: Özdamar’s Perikizi and Transgenerational Trauma. Konturen, 11, 63–82. https://doi.org/10.5399/uo/konturen.11.0.4811