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WORKSHOP - Webinar series April 7-9, 2021

Our interdisciplinary workshop brings together filmmakers and scholars who incorporate participant centred storytelling as part of their work and research. The workshop is an opportunity for participants to discuss current artistic and scholarly collaborative storytelling projects that challenge collective core narratives of diversity, migration and settlement.

As part of the narratives working group, this event explores the topic of storytelling as activist scholarly and educational method, as well as an argumentative and political tool for unsettlement. We propose a storytelling turn in activist (post)migration studies in order to disrupt colonialism and unsettle Eurocentric cultural politics of diversity. We further hope that our workshop will help to critically engage with colonial structures and narratives of settlement in Canada, including the search for an intersectional and relational place-based understanding of belonging.

All films will be made available through streaming beforehand (some for the first time in Canada and in English). All content will be available upon registration and participation in Webinars 1, 3, and 4 will be by invitation only. 

Please go to the full program for further information.

Storytelling as Research: Unsettling the Cultural Politics of Diversity through FilmmakinG

Our idea is to explore the topic of storytelling as activist scholarly and educational method, as well as an argumentative and political tool for unsettlement. Our goal is to propose a storytelling turn in activist (post)migration studies in order to disrupt colonialism and unsettle Eurocentric cultural politics of diversity. We further hope that our workshop will help to critically engage with colonial structures and narratives of settlement in Canada, including the search for an intersectional and relational place-based understanding of belonging.

Organizers: Erin Goheen Glanville, Markus Hallensleben, Centre for Migration Studies


Thursday, April 8, 2021, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (PST)

Regina Römhild, “Other Europes in Moments of Post-Otherness”

The making of Europe can be studied through the lens of complex processes of “Othering”, i.e. processes of world-making through borders and boundaries defining a hegemonic “Europeanness” against subaltern formations of “Otherness”. However, these borders and boundaries are constantly contested and undercut in practices of (post)migrant mobilities and mobilizations. Hence, the un- and re-making of Europe can also be studied by looking at these destabilizing movements and their worlding projects. Seen through that lens, Other Europes are constantly in the making as well, if only in certain moments of unforeseen resistance, allience and conviviality. The talk will explore such moments along three ethnographic vignettes in which an improvised social imagination of “Post-Otherness” can be shown to be at work pointing to the presence of unknown futures beyond borderland Europe. It will be argued towards a radicalized perspective that focuses strongly on such subversive, convivial moments rather than merely on the making of borders and differences that especially critical research is predominantly concerned with.

Organizer: Markus Hallensleben, Centre for Migration Studies, Dept. of CENES Ziegler Lecture Series

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Past Events

November 12, 2020

MArkus HalLeNSLEBEN: Deconstructing Eurocentric Politics of Belonging through Literary and Visual Narratives of Plural Relations

My talk will discuss literary and visual narratives of plurality that suggest a relational, intersectional way of connecting cultures. These narratives are often directed against hegemonial discourses of belonging and can be seen as counter narratives to Eurocentrism, colonialism, sedentarism and patriarchalism. They can, nevertheless, be place based and vernacular, and at the same time promote cosmopolitanism and super-diversity. Whether they are earth based, as in the installations and performances of Otobong Nkanga, or bodily centred, as in the writings of Billy-Ray Belcourt, they make us aware of the problematic and violent politics of seeing the land and the people as resources, rather than listening to their voices as necessarily corrective sources for a societal change. Similarly, new narratives of a postmigrant society and “Radical Diversity” (Max Czollek) have emerged in German-language texts and films that deconstruct a Eurocentric politics of belonging. By building plural relations between religions and cultures, they give refugees and immigrants agency and openly criticize socio-political concepts of integration that are built on the principle of a dominant and “guiding culture”. I will analyse these narratives under the assumption that cultural identities are constructed performatively and that cultures have to be seen dynamic and confluent. However, being myself entangled as an uninvited guest and settler here in Vancouver, my goal is not to compare similar political activisms coming from different cultural backgrounds, I rather look for queer narratives of self-governing, self-determination and self-precarity. Finally, I will ask how we can, with the words of Chantal Mouffe, “transform an antagonism into an agonism” (Hegemony, Radical Democracy, and the Political, 2013) and aim for a scholarly activism that won’t reiterate Eurocentrism within and outside Europe.

Organizer: Centre for Migration Studies

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June 24, 2020

Virtual Conference: Postmigrant Aesthetics: How to narrate a future Europe?

The increased numbers of refugees entering Europe since 2015 has put an urgency to discussions on European self-understanding and identity. In which way is Europe, anthropologist Regina Römhild asks, ‘characterized by a long-term presence of migration’ which is partly neglected or made invisible in public discourse (Römhild 2018: 69)? How can we methodologically develop an understanding of Europe as a postmigratory space that is fundamentally shaped by earlier and ongoing migration movements? How can the concept of postmigration help us to grasp the overall negotiations and conflicts taking place in society?

In two panels we will examine postmigrant narratives as playing a crucial part in challenging collective core narratives and the politics of belonging in plural societies. Our aim is to establish a set of criteria for a new transformative aesthetics that renegotiates and changes political perspectives. We will thus show how literature and film, by questioning binary concepts of hybridity, diversity, integration and belonging, can provide sociopolitical counter-narratives to Eurocentric, ethnically and nationally centred visions of society and cultural identity. The material investigated reaches from cross-mediterrean mobilities and autoethnographic writings about Italy and the Balkan region to Algerian-French film, from the indigene Black British novel to German- and Danish-language literatures that address topics such as genealogies of self-making, ecocriticism and radical diversity within a European context. We will further critically discuss the theoretical implications of an aesthetics of postmigration as a possible new analytical turn in cultural studies.

Organizer: Markus Hallensleben

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January 14, 2020

Dept. of CENES Ziegler Lecture Series: Moritz SChRAMM (SDU), “Radical Diversity: Postmigrant Perspectives on Art, Culture, and Politics”

In recent years, the concept of postmigration and the notion of a postmigrant society have had a significant impact on the social sciences, as well as in the humanities in Europe. Partly growing out of the theatre scene in Berlin, Germany, postmigration is often seen as a political catchword or even a critical intervention in both public and academic discourses on migration and integration. The term does not signal an end of migration, but rather refers to the overall negotiations and conflicts taking place in societies that are fundamentally shaped by earlier and ongoing migration movements. In my lecture, I will introduce the developing concept of postmigration and its academic reception, before exploring it as an analytical perspective, reframing or even challenging widespread concepts such as ‘super-diversity’ and ‘multiculturalism’. With a focus on the idea of ‘radical diversity’, insisting on the undisputable multiplicity of all individual backgrounds, the paper wants to discuss the consequences of the new concept for art and culture, as well as for politics.

Organizers: Markus HallenslebenSabine Zimmermann, and co-sponsored by the UBC Institute for European Studies.

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