UCLan - Call for papers - Representations of Border Crossings in Media, Literature, and the Arts

 International Academic Conference: 15-16 December 2022

MIDEX Centre, UCLan

Research Strand: Representations of Migration, Diaspora and Exile in Media, Literature, and Art


Border crossings delineate movement from a place, nation, and culture, inter alia, to another. Border crossers, Jane Jackson (2014) writes, can move temporarily or permanently, and crossings can be forced or voluntary, successful or unsuccessful, contemporary or historical. They can lead to multicultural identity formations, or to experiences and feelings of exclusion and isolation (Martin and Nakayama 2008). Because they are embodied experiences, they are determined by race, ethnicity, citizenship status, religion and gender, as well as by biopolitical and necropolitical practices, particularly, when deemed ‘irregular.’ Representations of border crossings play a key role in media, literature, visual, as well as performance arts. Historical and contemporary border crossings form a core segment of literary and artistic production as shown by the publication of literary and graphic migration narratives, museum exhibitions, installations in galleries and open public spaces, and via dance, music and theatre performances (Viljoen 2013). At the same time, representations of contemporary ‘irregular’ border crossings foreground the injurious implications of border control practices, as well as media responsibilities of a ‘crisis’ (Chouliaraki and Stolic 2017).

For this conference, we invite papers that explore representations of border crossings in media, literature, and the arts. We seek to examine the kinds of narratives that can be told through media, artistic and literary attempts to speak about border-crossing subjects. We hope to determine the extent to which such representations cross borders themselves by being exposed to culturally different audiences (Friedman 2005). We further mean to investigate how border-crossing ‘selves’ and ‘others’, collective, or individual, become displayed in such representations and whether hegemonic, (neo-)colonial hierarchies become undone or reproduced through them. How can a person in the position of the ‘host,’ for instance, ‘imagine another without doing violence to [their] object of description’ (Black 2010: 1)? How can representations of liminal, border-crossing subjects disrupt narratives of modernity/coloniality (Schimanski and Wolfe 2013; Mignolo 2011)? Can such representations show ‘how changing perceptions of borders relate to shifting aesthetic practices’ (Wolfe 2014: 1; Schimanski and Wolfe 2007)? How do they illustrate that ‘as the bordercrosser crosses the border, new […] borders are created and crossed in the crosser’s own story, and in the story of the border itself’ (Schimanski 2006: 47)? What are the strategies that would enable nuanced interpretations of such representations (see Schimanski and Wolfe 2017)?

We call for researchers and practitioners to submit proposals of up to 250 words for 20-minute presentations exploring border-crossings in literature, media and the arts. We also invite creative practitioners to submit performances, readings, (video) installations, and exhibitions, inter alia. The themes that can be explored include, but are not limited to:

                           • Exilic, diasporic, migrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking border crossers
                           • Border-crossing, gender, and sexuality
                           • Decolonial and postcolonial border-crossings
                           • Border-crossing traumas
                           • Border-crossing memories
                           • Affective border-crossings
                           • Border-crossing as an opportunity
                           • Metaphorical, cultural, and linguistic border crossings

Please submit your proposals to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 30th of June, 2022.



Black, S. (2010), Fiction Across Borders: Imagining the Lives of Others in Late-Twentieth Century Fiction, New York : Columbia University Press.

Chouliaraki, L. and T. Stolic (2017), ‘Rethinking Media Responsibility in the Refugee “Crisis:” A Visual Typology of European News’, Media, Culture & Society, 39(8):1162-77.

Friedman, S. S. (2005), ‘Spatial Poetics and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things’, in J. Phelan and P. J. Rabinowitz (eds), A Companion to Narrative Theory, 192-205, Malden, MA: Blackwell

Jackson, J. (2014), Introducing Language and Intercultural Communication, London: Routledge.

Martin, J.N. and Nakayama, T.K. (2008), Experiencing Intercultural Communication: An Introduction, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Mignolo, D. W. (2011), The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options, New York: Duke University Press.

Schimanski, J. (2006), ‘Crossing and Reading: Notes towards a Theory and Method’, Nordlit, 19: 41-63.

Schimanski, J. and S. Wolfe (2007), ‘Entry Points: An Introduction’ in J. Schimanski and S. Wolfe (eds), Border Poetics De-Limited, 9-26, Hannover: Wehrhahn Verlag.
____. (2013), ‘The Aesthetics of Borders’, in K. Aukrust (ed), Assigning Cultural Values, 235-250,
Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
____, eds. (2017), Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections, New York: Berghahn.

Viljoen, H., ed. (2013), Crossing Borders, Dissolving Boundaries, Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Wolfe, S. (2014), ‘Border Aesthetics/Border Works’, Nordlit, 31:1-5

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