Thinking the Globe: On Migration
Border-crossing today implies dealing with a dynamic and complex panorama, which may at first appear exclusively as a topic of current popular concern, yet it originates from a very ancient human trait. Migration might also partly explain our success as a species, since moving through different spaces and climates has allowed us to survive constant threats and changes within our environments, and even today seems a determining factor for the survival of communities navigating the difficulties of geopolitics and global capitalism. This is true of displaced peoples throughout our world today, moving in search of better conditions and escaping imminent dangers by traveling beyond national borders. If, indeed, their activities break contemporary laws, it is also true they respond to a trait that has shaped relatively recent nations as well as the oldest ones.
Migration has long determined how we have come to perceive the integrity of our territories, to the extent that it is even possible to map human progress according to the increasing intensity and complexity of traveling networks. The idea of modernity is often traced to commerce and colonization, which made it possible for the Western world to gradually acquire not only a more accurate mental representation of global dynamics, but a keener image of its own existence as well. The more significant variations in why and how we travel will dictate the transit from nomadic to sedentary communities, but also from the Early Middle Ages to the Renaissance, or even from Modernity to Postmodernity. Despite the particularity of the sense of movement and dispersion which it conveys, migration can be observed as determinant within the definition of a more comprehensive understanding of the interactions between peripheries and centers at many levels: it tells of the struggle of different peoples who have resorted to it as the most promising–if not the only–means of survival, but also of those who have the privilege to dismiss borders on the basis of their status and assets.
Such a phenomenon expresses a preoccupation that includes both academia and the world of the present. It asks about both the vagabonds and tourists of the industrialized world we inhabit together, with a sense of urgency for a better understanding and reading of the dynamics of dispersion across many different human epochs, both as a pressing and a very ancient matter. We invite proposals that think of immigration within a broad scope of possible approaches and itineraries. We accept academic articles, creative essays, poems and works on visual art that contain, among possible others, the following topics:
- Current and historical debates about territorialization and deterritorialization.
- Border crossings between different ‘disciplines’ such as ‘literature,’ ‘learning,’ and ‘history’ from their break during the mid nineteenth century to the present.
- Discursive arenas that challenge notions of centers and peripheries, power(s) and subjugation(s).
- Cultural, political, social, religious, and literary approaches that explore the concepts of liminality and alterity in a world of global differences by bringing together different conceptualizations into critical dialogue.
- Different conflicts between local, national, and international communities or groups, including not only limits within the states, but also within cities, home and other spheres.
- How boundaries affect positively or negatively the fates of indigenous people, ethnic minorities, and mainstream populations.
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