Tales of the Border: Migration Narratives and Border Studies in the Trump Era (NeMLA 2018)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Donald Trump's election as President of the United States on an openly anti-immigrant, and indeed anti-Mexican, platform constitutes a challenge for the field of border studies: What is border culture when the leader of the most powerful country in the world insists on closing the border? This panel aims to map the current state of the discourse(s) on and from the U.S.-Mexico border, including literature, film, journalism, and music. Papers in English and Spanish will be considered. 

As an interdisciplinary field that seeks to examine the ways polities, cultures, identities, and subjectivities merge and constitute each other at junctures that are deemed "borders" in the geographical or, rather, geopolitical sense, border studies has been a vital area of scholarly reflection and research in the last three decades. Specifically, academic work about the U.S.-Mexico border has been influential in positioning the notion of transnational migration as being not just a "social problem" but also a productive dynamic that shapes our world. Our time is marked, however, by the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States on a platform that prominently featured an overtly anti-immigrant, and actually anti-Mexican, discourse, to say nothing of the antisemitism, islamophobia, plain racism, and rampant misogyny of his campaign. As a result of this event, NeMLA published a statement in support of diversity and regretting the current bigotry and racial/ethnic violence in the United States, as well as reminding the public of the classic academic principles of truth, inclusiveness, and peaceful relations. In other words, this election and the distorted reality into which it has seemingly inserted the whole political discourse on migration, international relations, and human rights makes it more urgent than ever that we take border studies seriously and talk about its issues in a more prospective way. 

Please submit a 300-word abstract and brief biographical statement by September 30, 2017 directly through NeMLA's system: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/17035

The 49th Annual NeMLA Convention will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 12-15, 2018.