Travel Writing in Cases of Political Asylum and Refuge

deadline for submissions: 
January 19, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Society for the Study of American Travel Writing
contact email: 

After 6 years of terrible violence, the war in Syria grinds on, and after surviving harrowing journeys, millions of people remain displaced, trapped in camps, between “borders,” tangled in bureaucratic processes. Meanwhile, anti-refugee campaigns have gained traction in certain wealthy nations best suited to mitigate the suffering of innocent people. Though a refugee crisis of this magnitude and duration is rare on the world stage, such catastrophes are not new and, today, not limited to Syria. 

The Society for the Study of American Travel Writing invites paper proposals on the theme of escape, asylum, and refuge in travel writing for the American Literature Association’s 2018 conference. Questions for consideration may include: What must refugees leave behind? How do refugees become trapped on frontiers, both territorial and political, between places, and while trapped, how do they make do while on the move and within camps where provisions may be wanting? What effects do such instances of liminality or deterritorialization have on people’s identity and sense of culture? How do refugee migrants cope with the uncertainties of their complex displacements? What traumas may they experience, both in evacuation and in migration, and what might be the lasting consequences of such traumas, particularly on youth? What misconceptions and prejudices might refugees face at various stages along the way of their migrations? In what ways do people who are in positions to help let refugees down, and what are the ethical, moral, and political ramifications of such failures? Other lines of inquiry on this theme as well as papers examining texts from all genre representing travel, including non-fiction, fiction, poetry, film, and web-writing are welcome. This CFP is meant to resonate with the SSATW’s other call for ALA 2018, Travel Writing and Travel Bans.

Submit proposals to Andrew Vogel ( by January 19. 2018 

The American Literature Association’s 12th annual conference will meet at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on May 24-27, 2018 (Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend). The deadline for proposals is January 30, 2018. For further information, please consult the ALA website at or contact the conference director, Professor Leslie Petty, at or the Executive Director of the ALA, Professor Alfred Bendixen of Princeton University, at  with specific questions.