ACLA 2013 Seminar: Migrant Cartography: (Dis)Placing South Asia (DEADLINE: November 15)

full name / name of organization: 
Nida Sajid / Rutgers University
contact email: 

With more than 14% of the world's refugee population, South Asia, as a region, hosts the fourth largest concentration of refugees. Displaced on account of religious, ethnic and political conflicts, refugee communities force us to experience the fluidity of borders from within the cartography of nations. From the refugee cross-border migrations during the Partition of India in 1947 to the more recent Tamil refugee crisis in Sri Lanka, the influx of Afghan war refugees in Pakistan, and the relocation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, modern South Asia has repeatedly witnessed the pain of people in a state of statelessness. By juxtaposing individual and collective trauma, refugees unsettle the differences between the self and the other, and, in so doing, force us to re-imagine rigid notions of borders and boundaries. This panel aims to examine narratives of displacement and trauma from South Asia, narratives that engage with topics such as belonging, borders and statehood. Relocating the discourse of displacement beyond the framework of the nation, we seek to raise the following pertinent questions: How do narratives of displacement help us locate, albeit partially, spaces of refuge and the possibility of vocabularies for representing pain? Do the uncompromising borders of territorial self-preservation preclude the ethical dimensions of human security? How should our perception of South Asia be remapped in the context of dislocated communities and the porous borders of their lived experiences? How does forced migration create new conceptual networks/routes for linking personal memory with the cartographic imagination of South Asia?

Kindly submit the abstract (max. 250 words) electronically at the ACLA website: