Call for Papers

‘Representation of refugee experience in 21st century literature and cinema’
ACLA Annual Conference, Utrecht University, Netherlands: July 6-9, 2017.

Organizer: Marta Marin-Domine
Co-Organizer: Colman Hogan

The massive movement of refugees in the 21st century, predominantly
from the Middle East and Africa to Europe but also to the US and
Canada, is challenging the notion of the border predominant in the
Western world during the 19th and the 20th centuries that linked in a
positive manner (albeit not without tensions) to concepts of
assimilation, acculturation, nostalgia, exchange, mixing, third
spaces, rhizomes, etc.

The politics of borders in the Western world, and above all in Europe,
are increasingly subject to changes stemming from an economic logic
and decision making that have reanimated in ‘host’ populations the
archaic apprehension of the foreigner, and mobilized social memories
that once justified genocides, pogroms, ghettos and permanent

In parallel, the experience of those seeking refuge in the West is no
longer declined from a utopian perspective; the longstanding link
between utopia and exile appears to have dissolved away, pulverized.
What now seems to most characterize the experience of refugees in the
West – transnational mafias, geopolitical interests, inter-ethnical
conflicts – has, in the majority of cases, forced individuals to face
new spaces of exclusion or zones of waiting that are in fact “cities
of exclusion” within marginalized spaces: the “Calais jungle”,
Lampedusa, semi-official waiting zones such as Idomeni, or points of
attempted crossing such as Gibraltar.

In response to these challenges a significant body of work has been
produced in recent years by writers and filmmakers, including Marc
Isaacs, Hakan Gunday, Romain Puértolas, Paola Pigani, Pascal
Manoukian, Abdulmalik Faizi, Ben Rawlence, Paola Pigani, Arnon
Grunberg, Angeles Caso, among others.

This panel seeks contributions on the representation of refugee
experience in contemporary literature and cinema; that explore the
theory of border crossing tensions; and/or that query the reactions of
¨host¨ societies confronted with the migration of individuals and
families fleeing mass violence.

We are especially interested in knowing if these works challenge what
are considered the canonical epistemologies of exclusion (Foucault, de
Certeau, Agamben, Butler) and if so, in discussions of new
epistemologies arising from the body of artistic representations that
give voice to this experience, be it first hand or through vicarious

To respond to this call, please visit the ACLA site and submit your
proposal between Sept. 1 and Sept. 23, 2016.

Call for Papers: Representing Perpetrators of Mass Violence

Conference: Representing Perpetrators of Mass Violence
Utrecht University, 31 August–3 September, 2016

Organizers: Susanne C. Knittel and Uğur Ümit Üngör

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Alexander Hinton (Rutgers University)
Milo Rau, International Institute of Political Murder (

Many recent films, novels, and television series dealing with perpetrators of mass violence and genocide question the simplistic dichotomy of good versus evil. At the same time, in public discourse and the media such binaries often persist, particularly in the context of the “war on terror” and in the popular memory of the Holocaust and other major atrocities of the recent past. In both cases, the question of representation is of central importance.

This conference aims to explore the questions and problems that arise in the context of the representation of perpetrators in the media, public discourse, in cultural representations, as well as in education and academic scholarship. The conference title refers to all forms of representation, including but not limited to self-representation (in social media, auto-documents, interviews, testimonies), representation in the news and the media, fictional representation (in literature, film, and the arts), legal representation (either contemporary or historically), representation in the accounts and testimonies of their victims and survivors, and representation in academic scholarship of various disciplines (including history, sociology, anthropology, political science, literary and cultural studies, media studies, philosophy, law, criminology, religious studies, etc.).

We invite papers that address ethical, cultural, philosophical, political, legal, and aesthetic dimensions in the representation of perpetrators of political mass violence and genocide in any historical or geographic context. We also welcome contributions that take a meta-discursive approach, i.e. examine the representation of perpetrators within or across disciplines. In general, contributors should seek to combine case studies or specific examples with broader theoretical, methodological, philosophical, and/or ethical questions.

Please send an abstract (max. 300 words), and a short bio (max. 100 words) to by 30 April 2016. The conference is open to scholars, including PhD students and early career academics, educators, and curators of sites of memory or museums. The conference language will be English.

Susanne C. Knittel is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University.

Uğur Ümit Üngör is Associate Professor of History at Utrecht University and Research Fellow at the Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies (NIOD) in Amsterdam.

This conference is the second international conference organized by the Perpetrator Studies Network. For more information please visit us at

Support for this conference comes from Utrecht University and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Perpetrator Studies Network