En Route: Travel, Transport, Transit
Accounts of migration and displacement often focus on the bounded terrains of specific cities and the navigation of certain rooted sites, places of origin and/or destination. At the same time, cartographic and spatial terminology (e.g. “mapping,” “space,” “place,” “orientation”) are used in increasingly metaphorical ways, at the possible expense of more historical and/or materialist approaches to theorizing the global, the planetary, and the transnational. This panel invites contributors to examine the affective as well as material dimensions of being ‘in transit,’ the enabling condition of more familiar narrative tropes of exile, migration, travel and displacement.
How are concepts of mobility enmeshed in processes of national and cultural identity formation (e.g. the road trip as a particularly American rite of passage)? How do modes and technologies of transportation transform existing economies, cultures, social networks, and, by implication, ethical imaginaries? What might it mean, for instance, to place Foucault’s remark that the ship is the “greatest reserve of the imagination” in conversation with the image of “la barque ouverte” in Glissant’s Poetique de la Relation, or with Paul Gilroy’s emphasis on the centrality of the slave ship — “a living, microcultural, micro-political system in motion” — to the enterprise of Black Atlantic studies, or with the contemporary and ongoing crisis of migrant boats? What nomadic or otherwise less rooted modes of subjectivity and/or sociality emerge within or as a result of temporary or transitory spaces such as detention centers, airports, bus and train stations, and hotels?
Possible topics include but are not limited to:
New mobilities (e.g. Massey, Cresswell, Adey)
Indian ocean narratives
Black Atlantic studies