‘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.