Oh The Places You’ll Go:
[Dis]location and Immigration in Text
April 30, 2010
As the centralizing theme to this spring’s Graduate English Colloquium, we offer Tim Cresswell’s charge that we must study migration because “mobility is central to what it is to be human. It is a fundamental geographical facet of existence and, as such, provides a rich terrain from which narratives -- and, indeed, ideology -- can be, and have been, constructed.” Whether we study Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s early 20th century ex-pat migration to Paris, post-colonial encounter and exchange in Amitav Ghosh or Jean Rhy’s texts, or Britomart and Artegal’s journeys across Faerie Land, travel and movement crowd our texts. Impulses to motion -- discovery, belonging, exile -- and its consequences -- diaspora, marginality, community -- together trace an intricate trajectory of movement and stasis across both land and time. How migration forces us to reconsider the historical, geographic, and cultural forces that shape physical and less tangible topographies has become a pressing concern in contemporary scholarship. At the same time, we have a careful eye turned to the ways selfhood and community are scripted or cued by deterritorialization and mass migration. Especially in our expanding, globally networked world, the politics and tenors of intra- and extra-country travel become increasingly complex and problematic.
Focusing these very interdisciplinary questions on literature, we ask: what kinds of narratives are constructed from travel? How do motion and migration lend themselves to the development of both traditional literary elements and more contemporary, analytical frameworks? As traditional sovereign borders collapse under global initiatives to trade, humanism, communication, and governmental policy, how does literature respond and understand the frayed threads of once-woven communities? We wish to solicit papers from a wide variety of textual and critical lenses; we hope our Colloquium will interrogate not only the reasons for and processes of movement, but the specific critical methods that have been employed to interpret and read migration across text. Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:
- the connection among language, dialect, and issues of nationality and belonging
- the literary "situated-ness" of the exiled, ex-patriot, and/or marginalized
- how Caribbean, African, Asian, and other diasporas are explored in text
- the intricacies of American travel and exploration
- studies of trans-Atlantic migration
- the colonial and post-colonial moment(s) in literature
- how topophilia, geo-transition, deterritorialization, and like critical theories emerge in text
- 18th/19th century travel and discovery and its ramifications on literature
- the textual presence of early modern discovery and explorations to the New World
- the Irish and American literary and cultural exchange
The Colloquium will be held on Friday, April 30, 2010.
This page was prepared by Emma Perry.