SCMS 2019 Panel: Representing Refugee “Crisis” in Film and Media

deadline for submissions: 
August 26, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
SCMS 2019

Please email paper proposals to Magda Yuksel ( by August 25, 2018. Proposals should include a tentative title, an abstract no longer than 300 words, 3-5 bibliographic sources, and a short bio (50 words). 


Today, in 2018, refugees are defined in terms of mega-crises, where the numbers of displaced people exceed those from the end of World War II. The scale of displacement has been often described in terms of “crisis,” but this crisis has been associated with the host countries’ “problem” with accommodating migrants rather than with the refugees’ plight after leaving the warzone/area of conflict. In relation to the discourse of this “crisis” many international institutions referring to the spreadof violence that needs to be containedhave elicited biological language, where the analogies to disease (e.g. metastasizing cancer, spreading violence, etc.) and viruses were manufactured in association with these wars and people fleeing their areas. Likewise, the use of vocabulary that connotes disease has been appropriated by those writing about (war/conflict) culture, with epidemiology occupying chief position. This phenomenon incorporates network analysis to create analogies with contagion, which can also be seen in the film and media representations of refugees. Consequently, this panel is interested in the manner that refugees represent themselves and the ways they are represented in other media. Possible topics include but are not limited to representations of the refugee’s body; the asylum seeker as a displaced human; activism; refugees in relation to their networks; refugees in relation to their collective/group. 



In this panel, we will consider both how film and media treat refugees and how this treatment is reflected in the use of various communication technologies. Are humanitarian actions and responses mediated in relation to the fearful/hateful (building walls/nationalistic movements/Islamophobic/racist reactions) language elicited in the direction of the refugees? How does the body of a refugee figure in media representations? What language of “crisis” manufactures the possible responses to the refugees? What is the relationship between conflict/war and asylum?