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Gangway #40 – Expatriations: The expatriat edition

Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Peter Porter, Germaine Greer, Paul Bowles, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Eugene Ionesco, Milan Kundera… all expats.

This issue is dedicated to expatriates and expatriation in all its forms. From the Latin expatriare, ex (out of, from) and patria (pater/father; paternal; fatherland), the word ‘expatriat’ literally demonstrates the bond that the subject has to the old land, the “pater” land, even as he/she is ex – out of it. The expatriat is someone who must recognise their “fatherland” and their separation from it. The bond and the refusal of the bond is the expatriate’s struggle. In this way, expatriation is not the same as exile or emigration, just as the expatriate is not an emigrant, refugee, wanderer or foreigner – although the expatriate may relate to these states as well.

Submissions are welcome from expat poets, writers, scholars, thinkers and artists on the theme of expatriation – with only one caveat: insofar as expatriates are not tourists, this is neither an issue devoted to travel writing or tourism, nor to tales of extended trips, vacations or gap years.

The following questions might serve as beginning points: How long does it take to become an expat? What is the difference between an expat and a refugee or an immigrant? Is the expat inevitably a position of privilege? Do you need to a new passport to be an expat? Can you be an accidental expat? Or is it deliberate – something you must “choose”? What is it about the word, expatriate, that binds the expat to the “fatherland” – that designates a kind of relationship that cannot be severed? How does the “fatherland” figure in the writing of the expat? How does the the expat relate to the adopted land? When is an expat not an expat – can the expat ever return? Is there a writing or thinking specific to expatriation? How does the expat's experience differ from those who refuse it?

Helen Lambert
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