CFP: Migration and Intercultural Identities in Relation to Border Regions, 27-29 May 2010

26 May 2009

The Centre for the History of Intercultural Relations (CHIR) of K.U.Leuven Campus Kortrijk organizes an international conference on ‘Migration and Intercultural Identities in Relation to Border Regions’ on 27-29 May 2010 in Kortrijk, Belgium. CHIR is an interdisciplinary research centre for the historical study of intercultural relations, dedicated to a combined scientific approach of (1) cultural history, (2) history of education and (3) historical and comparative literature.

Migration is a rich and controversial field, relevant for current political, sociological and media debates. In a globalized world, characterized by increasing cultural diversity and societal complexity, discussions about migration, integration, assimilation and (inter)cultural identity, call for a nuanced and in-depth discussion of the way in which people with different cultural backgrounds (try to and have to) live together and shape their cultural self-understanding. A comprehensive and thorough insight in these matters asks for a study of their long term development, and thus for a multifaceted historical perspective. The acknowledgment of this necessity forms the starting point and scientific backbone of the conference.

Although the historical study of migration is not new, thus far most of the research that has been done has traditionally focused on the economic, sociological or structural dimensions of the migration process, while scant attention has been given to its cultural implications. This striking neglect obviously ignores many of the most crucial aspects of the experience of cultural transition, not in the least as seen from the perspective of the migrants themselves. Consequently, a rightful place for the cultural dimensions of the migration process and the way they relate to intercultural identity construction and its corresponding cultural expression and embedding, is called for.

Special attention will be given to border regions, as cultural crossroads par excellence and privileged places of migrant settlement, implying a particular and exemplary emphasis on the relation between (relatively) short distance migration and intercultural identities. At the same time, though, the concepts of ‘border’, ‘frontier’ and ‘boundary’ also have a powerful social, mental or metaphorical significance in the context of cultural transition and intercultural identity, opening up a whole range of scientific explorations in migration studies that transcend the strict geographical or geopolitical connotations of these terms. In addition, these varying demarcations can shift in cultural significance, meaning or connotation with the consecutive generations of migrants concerned.

The conference aims at bringing together scholars in the history of migration, in particular those working on the cultural and identificational aspects of migration. Historically, the overall time frame will be the 19th and 20th century. The conference languages will be English and French.

Confirmed keynote speakers
* Leo Lucassen – Professor of Social History, University of Leiden

* Gérard Noiriel – Directeur d’études à l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales, University of Paris 13

* Ian Grosvenor – Professor of Urban Educational History, University of Birmingham

* Charles Bonn – Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Lyon 2

Call for papers

Proposals may relate to the following topics:

* The contribution of migrants to the development of the socio-cultural life by means of commercial and cultural corporations, associations, etc.

* Material, visual, verbal and historical culture of migrants

* The relevance of the concepts of ‘nationality’ and ‘postnationality’ for the construction of identities among migrants

* The role of education and/or schooling in the intercultural identity construction of migrants

* Appropriate or promising heuristic-analytical approaches within histories of intercultural education

* The relation between different schooling and educational regimes and questions of assimilation, cultural identification, socialization and belonging

* The literary representations (including self-representations) of migrants and migration

* Transfer or exchange processes between migrant and target literature

* The role of literature in the intercultural identity construction of migrants

* The evolution of migrant identities and the specific position of second and third generation migrants

In addition to these themes, presentations or reflections of a more general theoretical or methodological kind are also welcomed, albeit in relation to or based on specific historical cases.

Please send abstracts (with title) for papers before 15 SEPTEMBER 2009 to Saartje Vanden Borre ( Abstracts should be in English or French and contain about 350 words. Please also give a general indication of the paper topic in your e-mail subject heading.

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