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Posted on 30/05/2012

An international, interdisciplinary postgraduate conference, 27 April 2012

Humanities and Arts Research Centre, Royal Holloway, University of London

Keynote speakers: 

Professor Robin Cohen (Emeritus Professor and Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme-funded Oxford Diasporas Programme, University of Oxford)

Professor Stephane Hemelryk Donald (Dean of Media and Communication at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia and Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the Centre for World Cinemas, University of Leeds)

With accelerated inter- and intra-national mobility, the concepts of place and displacement, and their impact on individual and collective identities, have received unprecedented scholarly attention in disciplines as diverse as Geography, Politics, Music, Film and Media Studies, English, Postcolonial Studies and Migration and Diaspora Studies. The growing importance of multi-locality, transnational (and 'post-national') communities, cosmopolitanism and various forms of flexible citizenship call binarisms which posit ‘the stranger’ as ‘the Other’ of the indigenous community, as the ‘guest’ who is welcomed by the hegemonic host society, into question. Contests around notions of ethnic essentialism and cultural purity have given way to a widespread acceptance of diversity and the celebration of hybridity. In music, literature, and film, the contributions of artists with transnationally mobile and/or ethnic minority backgrounds to the aesthetic traditions of western hegemonic cultural productions have resulted in innovative creative synergies of the local and the global and have enjoyed considerable cross-over appeal. On the other hand, many ‘strangers’ have not been welcomed, their voices have been silenced, and their artistic expressions have been marginalized. The exponential growth in informational technologies and the mobility of global capital, which once promised to fulfil McLuhan’s vision of a global village, has been accompanied by many unforeseen challenges. Restricted mobility of labour, asylum legislation, and new security challenges pose a threat to the ideal of global identities and a cosmopolitan society. 

The conference committee invites proposals for papers from postgraduate students working in or (in)between the fields of Geography, Politics, Music, Film and Media Studies, English, Postcolonial Studies and Migration and Diaspora Studies. In particular, we are interested in papers addressing the following issues: 

The impact of displacement and transnationalism on artistic practice in literature, film and music

Hybridity, creolisation and artistic innovation

Representations of migration and diaspora in literature, film and television

Stereotyping strangers

Cosmopolitanism and identities at the margins

Transnational mobilities, citizenship and bordering practices

Migrants of calamity: financial crisis, terrorism, and environmental change

Migration, politics, law, territoriality

(Inter)disciplinary approaches to hospitality

Producing and performing locality

Transnational flows, transnational connections

Emotional and social constructions of ‘home’

‘Stranger again’ – returning to the country of origin

Please send your 200-word abstract, together with a brief biographical note, 4 key words, and 4 bibliographical references to the conference committee no later than 31 January 2012. 

Email: WelcomingStrangers@rhul.ac.uk

The Conference Committee:

John Abrahm (Politics)

Richard Bater (Geography)

Prof. Daniela Berghahn (Media Arts)

Lia Deromedi (English)

Stephanie Vos (Music)

Deniz Yardimci (Media Arts)


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