Flânerie and the Transnational Deterritorialization of 9/11 in Teju Cole’s Open City
Keywords:flaneur, mourning, collective memory, memorialization, post 9/11 novel
Even though Teju Cole’s debut novel, Open City, has often been analyzed within the spectrum of themes such as racialization and ethnicity, its relevance in the post-9/11 canon is worthy of attention. As such, this contribution seeks to examine the salience of September 11 and the role of the protagonist, as post-9/11 flâneur, considering how Cole’s novel reframes the political and transnational implications of 9/11 drawing from flânerie to offer a wider viewpoint on the national and interracial implications of the attacks. As the article aims to show, the narrative adopts flânerie as a strategy to ponder on the post-9/11 phenomenon memorializing the attacks in New York and consequently reterritorializing terrorism in Brussels to engage in an international perspective. Aligning with the contention that post-9/11 narratives have been concerned with revising the city as the origin of a discussion on the attacks, the essay aims to show how Cole leans toward a universalist view of the event so that the novel engages with the transcontinental impact of 9/11. This article's ultimate intent is to consider the flâneur as the thread that guides to a broader challenging discussion on the significance of 9/11 respatializing the consequences of the terrorist attacks beyond the United States.
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