CFP: ‘Displacements. Forced Migration and the Arts’, Aarhus/Denmark 3-5 October 2013 (deadline 15 April)

Call for Papers
Deadline for proposals: 15 April

Displacements: Forced Migration and the Arts
Aarhus University, Denmark
October 3-5, 2013

Displacement is and has always been one of the fundamental forms of human existence. Throughout history and all over the world people are moving or being moved under the pressure of forces ranging from destitution to persecution and war. Lives are displaced by the forces of man, the forces of technology and the forces of nature.

This seminar wishes to explore how processes of forced displacement are and have been reflected in works of art and other forms of cultural expression throughout the world: from the lamentations of the exiled in the Old Testament through slave narratives, representations of war and contemporary renderings of the migratory flows following from climate changes. But while we aim to engage in the aesthetic forms and history of displacement, we also wish to address the underlying, theoretical and methodological issue of how art works and criticism might help us to better understand and change the intricate relationships between power and movement that cause displacement.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • T.J. Demos, Reader, Modern and contemporary art, UCL
  • Madeleine Dobie, Associate Professor of French, Columbia University
  • Hamid Naficy, Professor of Radio-Television-Film and the Al-Thani Professor in Communication, Northwestern University
  • Parvati Nair, Director, United Nations University Institute in Barcelona and Professor of Hispanic, Cultural and Migration Studies, University of London

Topics of reflection and discussion:

Slavery and trafficking and its impact on aesthetic expression both in a historical and contemporary perspective.
Artistic expressions of the refugee condition and the concepts of flight, shelter and asylum.
Articulations of the experience of war and trauma in relation to migration.
Artistic reflections on the relationship between poverty and migration.
The representation of ecology, natural disasters and climate change as forces of displacement.
Exile, the camp and diaspora as aesthetic forms and topics and as conditions of artistic production.
Figurations of the concepts of right and freedom in relation to forced migration.


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