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10.03.2019 14:44 Alter: 76 days

Imagining Migration, Knowing Migration

Call for Papers

Theme: Imagining Migration, Knowing Migration
Subtitle: Intermedial Perspectives
Type: International Interdisciplinary Conference
Institution: Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg
Location: Würzburg (Germany)
Date: 19.–21.3.2020
Deadline: 20.4.2019

In view of the current socio-political and economic prevalence of
global migration movements, modes of representation, medialisation,
and interpretation regarding individual and collective migration have
been discussed controversially. Whether and how the experience of
flight, exile, or everyday migratory realities – often determined by
traumatic and violent contexts – can be conceptualised is as
contested as the question of what influence such representations have
on the formation and distribution of knowledge about migration.
Artistic approaches to phenomena of migration – within literary
texts, visual and experimental art, or theatre and film – are usually
considered within the conceptual parameters of articulation,
reconstruction, and critical reflection. Less common, however, are
studies that address the interplay between artistic imaginations of
migration and specific migration knowledges.

What assumptions are being held about the forms, causes, and effects
of global migration? Is knowledge about migrants and migration merely
coded or rather produced? How can we grasp the relationship between
processes of recording and acts of creating migration knowledges?
Which role do the different media and aesthetic practices play in the
regime of situated migration knowledges? Despite the breadth of
studies from various disciplines within the humanities, the complex
interplay between artistic approaches to migration, their specific
medial contexts, and their epistemic foundations have not yet been
sufficiently explored. It remains unclear how artistic-imaginative
portrayals of migrants and migration and the construction of
knowledge about migration interact and how imagination relates to the
lived realities of migration more generally.

The international and interdisciplinary conference Imagining
Migration, Knowing Migration: Intermedial Perspectives focuses on
this gap and thus offers an important contribution to the
investigation of the forms and effects of the migration imaginary and
its cultural representations. It will feature keynote lectures by
Professor Mieke Bal and Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir and a
reading/performance with Olumide Popoola.

We invite contributions from the fields of art history, literary and
cultural studies, film, performance and theatre studies, and media
studies to address the following or related questions:

- Which kinds of aesthetic, imaginative approaches to migration can
be distinguished, and what are their epistemological causes and

- What role does the medium of representation (text, image, film,
stage, etc.) play and which possibilities as well as restrictions are
linked to these different representational processes?

- What is the significance of language and non-linguistic expression
within different medial representations of migration?

- How can we approach the relation between a specific medium and how
certain spaces (‘home’, ‘exile’, ‘here’, ‘there’), memories, and
experiences (taking refuge, cultural conflict, marginalisation,
xenophobia) are imaginatively constructed? Which figurations of
migration (‘the refugee’, ‘the asylum seeker’, ‘the migrant worker’)
are linked to a specific medium?

- Which procedures, such as intervention, reflection, and subversion
are connected to the imagination and artistic representation of

- To what extent do knowledges about migration come to matter within
artistic-imaginative forms of representation of migration, and how
can we conceptualise the influence these forms of representation
exert on processes of knowledge formation? 

- Which forms of knowledge (popular vs. scientific, inductive vs.
deductive, empirical vs. prejudiced, etc.) can be differentiated with
respect to aesthetic and rhetorical engagement with migration?

- How can we theoretically and methodologically approach the
relationship between imaginations and knowledges of migration within
their respective historical and cultural contexts? How can we address
related issues of ideological and socio-cultural categories such as
‘gender’, ‘race’, ‘class’, ‘age’, ‘ability’, and ‘political and
religious affiliation’?


Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words and a short
biographical note

The costs and expenses for invited speakers (travel, accommodation,
meals) are expected to be covered entirely.

Closing date: Saturday 20th April 2019.

Conference Organisers:
Jennifer Leetsch (JMU Würzburg)
Frederike Middelhoff (University of Hamburg)
Miriam Wallraven (JMU Würzburg)

Conference website: