Across the Shadow Lines: Diasporas in the Age of Transnationalism (ACLA, Toronto, 4/4-4/7/13; deadline, 11/1/12)
As the movement of peoples across state borders, diasporas are both literal and imaginative insofar as they entail the concomitant crossing of cultural forms. Diasporas forge and decimate local communities, call into question the boundaries of the nation-state, and reconfigure international relations. Ideally, they can result in the creation of new modes of social relations by producing opportunities for education and work and also encouraging the cross-fertilization of peoples, ideas, and arts. Yet migration has historically often been the result of forced labor, persecution, war, environmental degradation, decolonization and neo-imperialism, and the unrelenting spread of global capital. In response, the modern nation-state, obsessed with securing its borders against external threats, polices boundaries through a proliferation of documentation (passports, visas, identity cards, birth certificates).
Against the backdrop of this tumultuous history, this seminar is particularly interested in exploring all incarnations of the contemporary migrant: exile, expatriate, alien, refugee, and undocumented worker. We are interested in how diasporic communities have been imagined and represented in literature or visual arts during the last century. Possible topics may include the following: How do diasporic communities re-configure national boundaries? How do networks of global capital, trans-nationalism, and cosmopolitanism put pressure upon, undermine, and/or complicate the creation of diasporic communities? In what ways are diasporas inclusionary or exclusionary and how do those within the diaspora negotiate integration, assimilation, and/or multiculturalism? How can we read the "feminization" of contemporary diasporas? And how do migrants deal with complicated ideas of home and belonging while crossing state lines?