Proposals are invited for ‘Where are you from?’ to ‘Where shall we go together?’ Re-imagining Home and Belonging in 21st-Century Women’s Writing Symposium
WHEN / WHERE
The conference will be held at at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, Senate House, University of London on Friday, 5 June 2020. Abstracts and proposals are due on 6th January 2020 (see specifics below).
In our current time of mass migration, questions of home and belonging are central to public discourses in many European nations. While increasing numbers of people have either chosen to or been forced to go on the move and make new homes, thus complicating questions of attachment and belonging, we are also witnessing a growing political desire for exclusive, homogenous and static notions of home. Focusing on recent imaginaries and discussions of ideas of home and belonging by women writers/performers across cultures, this symposium explores the potential of artistic interventions into traditionally held ideas, which may contribute to the formation of alternative, inclusive and future-oriented conceptualizations of belonging.
In exploring cultural enunciations that lead away from binary definitions of inclusion/exclusion, we build on research on the changing conceptions of home and belonging (Boa/Palfreyman 2000, Blickle 2002, Eigler 2014) not as idealised stability, but as fluid in terms of space and time (Braidotti 1994). Home thus emerges as a place that can and needs to be invested with meaning and constantly (re-)negotiated (Massey 2005). We take into account the crucial distinction between redefinitions of home after voluntary migration – which may entail the concepts of agency and contingency and may thus support ideas of self-determination of belonging and transitory attachments – and the search for refuge after enforced migration, which calls for an ethics of relationality (Ahmed 2000), particularly suited to recognising and building new communities or ‘collectives’ across diversity and alterity. The frames of reference outlined by Braidotti, Massey and Ahmed are intrinsically connected with feminist thought, and indeed, there is a tradition of enunciating alternative, more open and fluid concepts of home in women’s writing (see Bland/Smale/Weiss-Sussex 2019). This one-day symposium will investigate to what extent recent writing/artistic production by female authors across languages and cultures follows in the footsteps of this tradition whilst also probing the creative potential of fictions for opening up new perspectives for the future?
Special Guest: Sascha Marianna Salzmann. Complementing the academic papers at this symposium, the writer and theatre director, whose critical views of ‘Heimat’-Politik have sparked fruitful discussions in Germany, will be reading from and discussing some of her current work.
Short abstracts (no more than 250 words) for 20-minute papers should be sent to Dr Maria Roca Lizarazu (M.RocaLizarazu@bham.ac.uk) and Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex (Godela.email@example.com) by Monday, 6 January 2020, along with a short biographical note.
Institute of Modern Languages Research
School of Advanced Study | University of London
Senate House | Malet Street | GB- London WC1E 7HU