HomeNarrating Postmigration: Interdisciplinary Approaches

Narrating Postmigration: Interdisciplinary Approaches

Raconter la postmigration : approche interdisciplinaire

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

These study days at Aix-Marseille Université aim to gather junior and advanced scholars working in the broad field of postmigration studies. Within this scope, we will focus on postmigration narratives – a notion that encompasses both fictional narratives and narratives documented in ethnographies – understood as narrative forms that that do not primarily refer to a migration event but rather “the transformation and cultural mixing processes that it produces for future generations” (Geiser 2008 127). Our objective is to produce a comparative dialogue between literary studies and social sciences that is based on a common understanding of postmigration narratives as migration heritage.

Announcement

March 7th and 8th, 2019, Aix-Marseille Université

These study days are organized by the CIELAM laboratory with the support of the ALLSH department of Aix-Marseille Université and the Comparative Literature, World Literature and Translation Studies Program of the University of California Santa Barbara.

Presentation

These study days at Aix-Marseille Université aim to gather junior and advanced scholars working in the broad field of postmigration studies. Within this scope, we will focus on postmigration narratives – a notion that encompasses both fictional narratives and narratives documented in ethnographies – understood as narrative forms that that do not primarily refer to a migration event but rather “the transformation and cultural mixing processes that it produces for future generations” (Geiser 2008 127). Our objective is to produce a comparative dialogue between literary studies and social sciences that is based on a common understanding of postmigration narratives as migration heritage. What role does migration play in identity construction in narratives produced by a generation that has never migrated? What distinguishes these narratives from those about migration? What relations can we find between postmigration stories and those about migration? What terms shall we employ and favor to describe these narratives and those implicated in them? These are some question that we will address in our study days.

Initially used in psychology and the social sciences as a temporal marker, the term “postmigration” and its equivalents, including “post-migration,” “second-generation” as well as terms designating specific communities such as “Chicano” or “Sinsei,” are used today to refer to the dynamic identities influenced but not defined by the migration of a previous generation. This contemporary approach reached a tipping point during the cultural turn of the 1990s, especially in English and German speaking countries that witnessed a rise in interest on the study of cultural and social diversity of post-war societies marked by migration movements and decolonization. While early works on postmigration subjects (G. Baumann and T. Sunier 1995; Vertovec and Cohen 1999; Brah 1998; Hannerz 1996) interrogated the effects of international migration in the major immigrant-receiving countries in Western Europe and North America, today new studies address postmigration in countries that were historically marked by previous migration movements namely in Latin America and Africa (Watchel 2011; Simenel 2010; dos Santos 2016).

As a research area where scholars observe and restore the cultural memory of former migrations, postmigration studies offer a new dimension to analyze the subject outside of the citizen-immigrant dichotomy emphasizing the heterogeneity of the contemporary individual. Our study days propose thus to analyze the interaction between the narrative form in fiction, self narratives and other narrative forms, as well as collective and individual narratives in the social sciences. To this end, we will prioritize three lines of research that draw upon transnational and interdisciplinary approaches.

Narrating migration history through postmigration voices

The migration story of a former generation is a recurring element in postmigration literature and ethnographic studies. Types of family sagas – such as the novels Harki de Meriem by M. Charef (1989), Dreaming in Cuban by C. García (1992), Caramelo by S. Cisneros (2002) or narratives of filiations that honor immigrant parents – historicize migratory trajectories and inscribe them in the host country’s imaginary. How do these narratives alter the conception of history of the Nation-State and citizenship? How do they challenge or restructure political, linguistic, and historical borders between the country of birth and the ancestors’ country?

Narrating postmigration space

In the so-called host countries, urban enclaves such as barrios in the United States or banlieues in France are spaces commonly associated with the heirs of migration as spaces marked by poverty, ethnic segregation, police surveillance, fear of eviction. These urban spaces are often a place for literary reflection and a field of inquiry for researchers of postmigration. How do these spaces reflect the cultural hybridity of postmigration subjects? How does narrating these spaces invite us to reflect on the history of migration (via colonization, slavery, neo-colonization)? How do these spaces interact with postmigration narratives?

Comparing postmigration

Since the 1980s, comparative research on migrant groups and their descendants have been conducted in various disciplines: in the political sciences (William Safran 1989), history (Noiriel 1988), sociology (Sayad 1999 ; Castañeda 2012, 2014), comparative literature and cultural studies (Aldama 2009 ; El Tayeb 2011 ; Geiser 2015 ; Pinçonnat 2016). These works have all studied postmigration through a transnational approach, but not through an interdisciplinary perspective. This line of study focuses invites to draw upon these and other comparative works to question similarities or differences between diverse postmigration groups internationally. How can we establish a dialogue between fictional narratives and ethnographic narratives? What are the heuristic contributions of a comparative approach for understanding the stakes of postmigration?

Invited Speakers

  • Myriam Geiser (Université Grenoble-Alpes)
  • Moritz Schramm (University of Southern Denmark)

Calendar

  • Abstract Submission: January 30th, 2019 

  • Reply from the Committee: February 10th, 2019 
  • Study Days: March 7th and 8th, 2019

Abstract Submission 

Please send 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers and a short 50-word bio-blurb to (je.postmigration@gmail.com)

by January 30th, 2019.

The working languages will be English and French.

Organizers

  • Alvaro LUNA (University of California, Santa Barbara)
  • Crystel PINÇONNAT (Aix-Marseille Université)

Places

  • Maison de la Recherche - 9 Avenue Robert Schuman
    Aix-en-Provence, France (13)

Date(s)

  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Keywords

  • postmigration

Contact(s)

  • Alvaro Luna
    courriel : alvaroluna [at] ucsb [dot] edu

Information source

  • Alvaro Luna
    courriel : alvaroluna [at] ucsb [dot] edu

To cite this announcement

« Narrating Postmigration: Interdisciplinary Approaches », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, https://calenda.org/543612

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal