CFP: [Cultural-Historical] Displacements: Borders, Mobility and Statelessness

full name / name of organization: 
Erin Goheen
contact email:

Displacements: Borders, Mobility and Statelessness 7-
9 March, 2008

2008 Taylor Conference
Hosted by the Department of English and Cultural Studies
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

FEATURED PARTICIPANTS: Maroussia Ahmed (French, McMaster University),
Barbara Jackman, (Immigration Law, Toronto), Morteza Jafarpour
(Settlement and Integration Services Organization, Hamilton), Peter Nyers
(Political Science, McMaster University)

             In a world described as increasingly on the move, refugees,
displaced or stateless persons, and immigrants (forced or voluntary)
constitute a large portion of the world’s population. The distinctions
between those who have the option to migrate and those who are forced
into displacement (at home or abroad), between those who are allowed
access at border points and those who are not, between those who are
privileged with citizenship and those who are refused it – these
distinctions have become pressing issues for academic and socio-political
work. This conference brings together academics, activists, advocates,
artists, and other cultural workers to examine the narratives and lyric
portrayals as well as the politics of movement for Indigenous, refugee,
non-status, undocumented, and other displaced persons and communities.
Human encounters with borders produce variant narratives, depending on
whether those encounters are welcoming or unwelcoming, ones of
recognition or denial. What roadblocks stand in the way of peoples’
attempts to find better ways of life, if not the bare means of survival,
in another place? And what of the blockages produced when borders are
constructed to divide places where people already live?
              In these various forms of displacement, how do people denied
access to state provisions respond and thus constitute themselves? To
what extent do various stateless persons see themselves as being part of
a community that is being threatened? How is the life growing in
displacement described? How are communities either created or destroyed
in the processes of displacement? How do intergenerational, gender-based,
ethno-racial tensions evolve through the experiences of migration, land
expropriation, and statelessness? What are the cross-border identity
politics that inhibit or allow self-determination? How are narratives of
accidental and formal citizenship complicated and refracted as the rules
that determine borders change? What are the constructive/positive
transformations that take place despite forced displacement? What
creativities does it engender?
Recognizing that the least permeable of borders do not necessarily
parallel those of the nation-state, what other kinds of borders produce
blockages for stateless persons? Are borders inherently oppressive? Are
there some examples of the necessity for boundaries for communities whose
way of life has been historically embattled? To what extent do
boundaries and borders reflect the dynamics at the “hearth” of a
nation/community? How are specific scholarly, artistic, or activist
communities involved in re-drawing borders and re-narrating
statelessness? Finally, how are some populations “stateless”
economically, politically, and socially while retaining the material
signifiers of statehood (i.e. passports, citizenship documents)? For
example, how are some people economically or environmentally displaced?

“Displacements: Borders, Mobility and Statelessness” is the 2008 Taylor
Conference sponsored by the Department of English and Cultural Studies at
McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The conference format will be
diverse, including paper presentations, panels, round-table exchanges,
artistic performances and readings. We encourage individual and
collaborative paper and panel proposals from across the disciplines and
from community activists.

Paper Submissions should include (1) contact information; (2) a 300 word
abstract; and (3) a one page curriculum vitae or a brief bio.

Panel Proposals should include (1) a cover sheet with contact information
for chair and each panelist; (2) a one-page rationale explaining the
relevance of the panel to the theme of the conference; (3) a 300 word
abstract for each proposed paper; and (4) a one page curriculum vitae for
each presenter.

Please submit individual paper proposals or full panel proposals via e-
mail attachment by September 15, 2007 to with
subject line “Displacements.” Attachments should be in Word or rtf
formats. Submissions should be one document (i.e. include all required
information in one attached document).

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Received on Thu Aug 16 2007 - 18:02:27 EDT

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