Welcoming Strangers Conference
27 - 27 April 2012
Royal Holloway, University of London
An international, interdisciplinary postgraduate conference at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Professor Robin Cohen (Emeritus Professor and Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme Oxford Diasporas Programme, University of Oxford)
'Before the Welcoming: The Origins of Difference, the Beginnings of Convergence'
Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald (RMIT University, Melbourne and Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the Centre for World Cinema, University of Leeds)
'The Dorothy Complex: Children and Migration in World Cinema'
With accelerated inter- and intra-national mobility, the concepts of place and displacement, and their impact on individual and collective identities, have received unprecedented scholarly attention in disciplines as diverse as Geography, Politics, Music, Film and Media Studies, English, Postcolonial Studies and Migration and Diaspora Studies. The growing importance of multi-locality, transnational (and 'post-national') communities, cosmopolitanism and various forms of flexible citizenship call binarisms which posit ‘the stranger’ as ‘the Other’ of the indigenous community, as the ‘guest’ who is welcomed by the hegemonic host society, into question. Contests around notions of ethnic essentialism and cultural purity have given way to a widespread acceptance of diversity and the celebration of hybridity. In music, literature, and film, the contributions of artists with transnationally mobile and/or ethnic minority backgrounds to the aesthetic traditions of western hegemonic cultural productions have resulted in innovative creative synergies of the local and the global and have enjoyed considerable cross-over appeal. On the other hand, many ‘strangers’ have not been welcomed, their voices have been silenced, and their artistic expressions have been marginalized. The exponential growth in informational technologies and the mobility of global capital, which once promised to fulfil McLuhan’s vision of a global village, has been accompanied by many unforeseen challenges. Restricted mobility of labour, asylum legislation, and new security challenges pose a threat to the ideal of global identities and a cosmopolitan society.
The conference is part of Professor Daniela Berghahn's HARC Fellowship 'Welcoming Strangers' which she was awarded during the academic year 2012-13. It has been supported by the Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway and has been co-organised by an interdisciplinary conference committee: John Abraham (Department of Politics and International Relations), Richard Bater (Department of Geography), Daniela Berghahn (Department of Media Arts), Lia Deromedi (Department of English), Stephanie Vos (Department of Music), Deniz Günes Yardimci (Department of Media Arts).
For programme details and online registering visit the event website. [N.B. The event website was closed in December 2012. The podcasts of the two keynote lectures are now available under Podcasts on this website. The conference programme can be downloaded below.]