Refugee Literature Workshop

Refugee Literature Workshop

GIS-MOMM Bi-Annual Conference

4-6 July 2017 (dates to be confirmed)

Paris (Inalco University, 65 rue des Grands Moulins Paris 13e)

This workshop aims to question the role/value of using the term “refugee literature” as it relates to question of nationalism and neo-imperialism, but also as it may reshape national literatures by presenting refugee writers as the new scribes of societies which otherwise set them apart in quarantined zones.

Related to this first point, it aims to interrogate the validity of the category of “refugee literature” not only because it homogenizes vastly disparate experiences but also because it is established on the premise of a binary opposition with an altogether dubious concept of “national literature.” What does this sub-category reveal about position of refugee literature in relation with national canons and the idea of the nation? By using the category, are we, as scholars and critics, reproducing an asymmetrical power relation that ultimately reproduces the confinement of these writers to a sub- or minor genre?

It seems that as scholars working in Humanities departments, our role is also to excavate what falls out of official reports and other forms of sanctioned literature. This is the reason why this workshop would like to attract papers with a special focus on non-written forms of cultural productions, such as oral literature, and papers from other disciplines than literary studies, so as to reflect on the conditions of production, collection, and transmission of refugee experience in the camps and the role/commitment of translators in the West and beyond.

Because the GIS-MOMM offers the opportunity to expand our perspectives from the Middle East and to look westward to the Maghreb and Europe, and eastward to Iran, Pakistan, India … the workshop also invites papers interested in the comparison between the various uses of the term refugee by writers and the status of refugee literature in various countries. Why would a writer prefer to resort to the elitist category of “exile” rather than call her/himself a “refugee writer”? How does refugee literature reconnect with Shahrazad’s paradigmatic interpretation of literature as refuge?

This is a lot to cover but we can organize a full-day workshop if we get to ten participants (see the attached file and below for more information).