Routes of Difference: Migration in Artistic, Academic and Media Discourses

6th Graduate Conference in Culture Studies

School of Human Sciences

Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon

24-25th of November, 2016


Although migratory movements have always existed throughout history, migration is nowadays usually associated with globalization and the resulting increase in the global mobility of people and information. In contrast to other forms of movement, migration normally refers to a relatively permanent displacement of individuals or groups from one region or country to another. However, migration describes a variety of experiences, referring to different groups of individuals, such as refugees, economic or environmental migrants and cosmopolitan elites with distinct social, political and legal status.

While traditional essentializing and stabilizing notions of identity have long proven problematic and scholars have, thenceforth, developed positive concepts of exile (Said) and (cultural) hybridity (Bhabha), migrants and their descendants often continue to be marginalized and translated as culturally “other”. The sudden explosion of visibility of the so-called “refugee crisis” in Europe that we have witnessed over the past months illustrates the power of media and artistic representations in fostering social awareness of migratory groups. However, it also reveals that visibility does not necessarily challenge existing power relations. In fact, it often seems difficult to overcome binary identity positions that are closely related to the genealogy of terms such as “home” or “belonging”. Therefore, it is necessary to ask how artistic and cultural images and narratives of present and past migratory movements (in literature, cinema, theatre, music, visual culture, or academic discourse) negotiate processes of othering. How does migration influence representations of difference? Should the theoretical framing of “in-betweenness” be re-conceptualized?

The conference aims at exploring how representations of migration reflect, construct or challenge notions of difference and cultural hybridity by bringing together researchers from diverse disciplinary fields. We welcome contributions addressing representations of migration in different historical and geographical contexts.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

• aesthetics and rhetorics of representations of migration and the migrant condition

• different discursive traditions of migration: diaspora, exile, forced displacements

• reception of artistic expressions of migration by the public

• impact of migrant condition on artistic production

• representation of migration and reconfiguration of visual modes

• diasporic and borderland writing

• migration and transnational literature / cinema

• migration and translation

• transcultural / transnational memory and migration

• collective / cultural memory in migratory settings

• migration and alterity within official histories

• transgenerational memory and migration

• discourses of return

• transculturality and identity politics


The conference language is English. Speakers should prepare for a 20-minute presentation followed by questions. Please send a 250-word abstract, as well as a brief biographical note (100 words) to by 30th April 2016. Proposals should list the paper title, name, institutional affiliation, and contact details. Notification of abstract acceptance or rejection will take place by 31st May 2016.

%d bloggers like this: