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Axe 3 - Migration, frontières, (dé)colonialité

Vector 3: Migration, Borders, (De)coloniality

Migration is central to our world both as a contemporary and historical phenomenon and is recognized as a central question in Europe (see European Agenda on Migration). Migrating elsewhere means traversing a territorial border (of a country or nation or other states), exceeding some limit (of a village or tribe, or of a culture or society), or breaking with one’s roots to embark on some new route that may be uncertain and endless. Leaving signifies redrawing a space, establishing a new cartography (Deleuze & Guattari, Huggan) and defining the places that the migrating subjects seek to appropriate, reestablish a home, anchor themselves to, or take refuge in a universe they seek to make their own (Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands). Whether this spatial displacement is individual or communal, unique or recurring (Caren Kaplan), does not prevent it from being inscribed in a personal, social, or national history (Bruce King). In its most violent forms, forced displacement into work or death camps, or the massive, forced expatriation of African people during the centuries-long slave trade (Wendy Walters), "migration" loses any sense of neutrality. However, displacements and the fractures provoked by migrations, by the crossing of a border or limit are also the occasion for the discovery of a new creative space, where the in-between, the liminal, the hybrid replace totalizing norms.

A border, which implies some material distancing (walls or barbed wire that “protects” borders), also generates a rejection of the Other. A border can also be defined as a limit, a visual, spatial, or metaphysical marker, for example, between two or more nation-states, between two or more elements, between two or more landmarks, whether they be material or intangible borders, cultural or religious frontiers, dichotomies between the "normal" and the "abnormal".

Migration and borders also evoke more metaphorical displacements that operate at the linguistic level, when literal translation from A to B becomes linguistic translation across languages, or when discourses manage to intertwine rather than simply co-exist. All the metaphorical repositioning linked to the notion of spatial and linguistic translation may be inscribed within this vector.

Here we shall also focus on the positioning of authors or translators as passers and mediators, and the circulation of works, ideas, and imaginaries, the strategies of disruption (parody, subversion, censorship and counter-censorship, discourse and counter-discourse). Likewise, questions of discursive and generic norms, of artistic canons, of experimentation starting from the border of a norm, as well as issues of reception will be investigated.

Finally, the vexed question of modern colonialism and recent academic attempts to address it, as seen in the international rise of Post-Colonial Studies research centres, is necessarily a central concern of this vector and indeed of the other two vectors. Much confusion arises no doubt from a literal reading of the term "colonialism". Just as Orientalism is not to be understood as a simplistic critique of the representation of the "Orient", but as a Eurocentric way of reading and representing "silent shadows" (Said)—the foreigner, the abnormal, the subaltern and women—, we understand colonialism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries not as simple territorial colonization, but as an order of domination that had a global normalizing and hegemonizing impact going beyond any one country's colonial jurisdiction. Indeed, the globalizing effect of modern colonialism may be seen as just one period of an Homogenocene stretching back to the fifteenth century at least (Samways, Mann, Su). Building on the research conducted during the current contract and in particular in the series of workshops on "Gender, Sexualities, Decoloniality" and on "Insularity and (de)coloniality", vector 3 will continue to reflect on the academic debate on the meaning, feasibility and extent of proposed strategies for decolonizing knowledge (Mignolo); a form of intellectual decolonization that proposes to go beyond the mere territorial decolonization of the second half of the twentieth century. The recent French public sphere's reaction to efforts to engage in a reflection on the postcolonial condition will also frame further investigation into this subject.

Keywords: (post)/(neo)colonialism, (de)coloniality, slavery, displaced persons, migrants, migration, frontiers, hybridity, translation, reception

- Vecteur 3 - Migration, frontières, (dé)colonialité : Paloma Otaola Gonzalez (paloma.otaola@univ-lyon3.fr) & Min Sook Wang (min-sook.wang@univ-lyon3.fr)