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Call for papers for the conference Representing Disembarkation: Migrations, Arrivals, Territories organized by Liverpool John Moores University (UK) / Universita’ degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale (Italy)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Sandro Mezzadra, Iain Chambers, Miguel Mellino, Tiziana Terranova


Procida, Naples 27 – 29 April 2020


Today, the spectacle of arrival and disembarkation is increasingly at centre stage of discourses on migration, territory, citizenship, hospitality and illegality. The act of disembarkation, however, is not simply an arrival or resettlement, or the fact of being jettisoned or thrown overboard. Starting from philosopher Paul Virilio’s rethinking of the concept of territory as “the margin of an incessant cabotage”, “break of load,” and point of embarkation/disembarkation, this conference aims to rethink the aesthetic and geopolitical dimensions of a global modernity from the standpoint of movements of disembarkation of people, goods and capital. The concept of “disembarkation”, indeed, captures an epistemic shift in how territoriality is figured, conceptualised and represented in the long-term history of modernity. Disembarkation goes beyond the dichotomies of citizen/migrant and the strictures of border-thinking, stressing a moment of transitioning, potentiality and uprooting that does not become a fixed point in space or in time. Considered as form, practice and labour rather than a mere geographical designation, disembarkation links territoriality to wider imaginative and infrastructural connections in the era of globalisation. Responses to this conference will address the multiple resonances and constellations traversing the poetics of disembarkation, indicating at the same time the point of arrival and a stage of different experiences of escape, migration and journeying. Not simply throwing overboard of unwanted waste, bodies or objects, the act of disembarkation highlights the agency of subjects caught in unsettled borderlines across Europe, USA and the Global South. While mainly addressing the representation of disembarkation, arrival, and embarkation in literary writing, we welcome papers from law studies, politics and international relations, anthropology and history linking the figurative to wider political and legal entanglements surrounding experiences of disembarkation on the coastlines of Europe and beyond. Sub-themes that may be considered include but are not limited to disembarkation in relation to:

  • Politics and poetics of hospitality
  • Grey zones and refugees
  • Migration poetics and logistical modernity Writings of/at the border
  • Boarding and cabotage operations Flotsam and Jetsam /jettisoning Mezzaterra Territoriality/Deterritorialisation Right to remain/ asylum
  • Migrant literatures in Italy


Alongside panels and presentations, the convention will articulate a collective thinking on key themes by proposing interactive workshops, seminars and reading groups. If you are interested in presenting a 20-minute paper, please submit a 300-word abstract and a short bio to the conference organisers by 1 September 2019.

The conference organisers:

Anna Maria Cimitile
Filippo Menozzi

Contact Email:

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