5th Global Conference: Strangers, Aliens and Foreigners (September 2013: Oxford, United Kingdom)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Rob Fisher/ Inter-Disciplinary.Net

5th Global Conference
Strangers, Aliens and Foreigners

Thursday 5th September – Saturday 7th September 2013
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Presentations
This multi-disciplinary project seeks to explore the crucial place that strangers, aliens and foreigners have for the constitution of self, communities and societies. In particular the project will assess world transformations, like phenomena we associate with the term 'globalisation', new forms of migration and the massive movements of people across the globe, as well as the impact they have on the conceptions we hold of self and other. Looking to encourage innovative trans-disciplinary dialogues, we warmly welcome papers from all disciplines, professions and vocations which struggle to understand what it means for people, the world over, to forge a sense of self in rapidly changing contexts where it is no longer possible to ignore the importance of strangers, aliens and foreigners for our contemporary nations, societies and cultures.

Presentations, papers, performances, panels and workshops are invited on any of the following themes:

1. Seeking Otherness
– Does one ever want to disown the self and willfully adopt otherness?
– When collective self-identity of the group one belongs to becomes morally burdensome
– Seeking otherness under duress (e.g. situations where ideological differences can be detrimental for self- preservation politically/ psychologically etc.)
– Does the promise of material gain ever merit giving up one's cultural self-identity?
When does one become an Other in one's own home?

2. Performing Otherness / Strangeness
– What are the characteristics of arenas in which otherness/ strangeness is staged or performed such as museums, cultural villages, the world wide web, (twitter, facebook) etc.?
– Is the performance of otherness (such as in museums) ever value neutral?
– Who decides what constitutes strangeness?
– What notions of power are embedded in displays of strangeness / otherness?
– Is strangeness / otherness always contextualized in time and space?
– Is a decontextualized Other always a target of acquisition?
– What do we miss/ gain by creating displays or enacting performances of collective selfhood / otherness in real or virtual spaces?
– What are the moral/ ethical dimensions of displaying strangers, aliens, and foreigners in isolated idealistic spaces?

3.Imagining/ Framing the Future Depictions of Collective Self-hood
– How does increased/ diminished access to economic resources motivate one to project images of Self for future audiences?
–Can the past be erased and a new identity of the self constructed and preserved for future generations? –How do memories of past greatness influence current and future attitudes towards the self?
–What are the practices of revitalizing the self?
–Can we create a past for the future?

4. Internal Others / External Selves
–What role does gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, geography, disease etc. play in creating internal others?
–Is the self in a distant past an internal other?
–Does globalisation simultaneously create internal others and external selves?
–Are our friendly Others the same as us?
–Are our internal critics strangers or aliens?

5. Localising Strangers and Aliens
– What are the motivations behind embracing strangers and aliens as one of our own?
– Are there any limits in our friendship with strangers and aliens?
– A stranger once embraced is a stranger no more but is s/he a friend?
– What are the rituals through which we embrace strangers and aliens?

Presentations will be considered on any related theme.

What to Send:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 22nd March 2013. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 21st June 2013. 300 word abstracts should be submitted to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords
E-mails should be entitled: Strangers5 Abstract Submission

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

Hassan Bashir: hassan.bashir@qatar.tamu.edu
Rob Fisher and Ram Vemuri: saf5@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Diversity and Recognition research projects, which in turn belong to the At the Interface programmes of Inter-Disciplinary.Net. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore discussions which are innovative and challenging. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference are eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be invited to go forward for development into a themed ISBN hard copy volume.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.