2016 Edition

Thematic Focus: Figures of Migration

19-20 May 2016, Iasi, Romania

Thursday, the 19th of May

Senate Room, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi

Migration and Cosmopolitanism

Prof Mircea Martin

Professor Mircea MARTIN
Corresponding Member of the Romanian Academy
President of the Romanian Association for General and Comparative Literature

Senate Room, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi

The International Migrations of the Population of Moldova (Romania): 
Lights and Shadows

Lecturer at the Faculty of Geography and Geology, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

Special Guest:
Professor Alexandru UNGUREANU
Corresponding Member of the Romanian Academy

18.00 – COCKTAIL (The Old Water Tower of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi)

Friday, the 20th of May

09.00–10.45 – WORKSHOP
The Old Water Tower of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

Contemporary Migration in Literature and Visual Arts

Chair: Doris Mironescu

Visual Artist and Professor of Photography and Video Arts
at the “George Enescu” University of Arts, Iași

Writer and Professor of Sociology at the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași
Director of the National Museum of Romanian Literature, Iași


Migration has become lately one of the most debated themes, both in mass media, film, literature, and in international institutions and policy-making associations. Yet, the challenges determined by this phenomenon are not brand new; migration is a trans-historical process, with tremendous political, economic, social, religious, and cultural implications. Thus the intensification of these movements in the contemporary world, especially in Europe, puts migration under an even stronger emphasis.

This new analytical interest does not derive only from the amplification and diversification of human migration on objective grounds such as globalization, labor free circulation, mobility and offshoring, which have led to the massive desertion of underdeveloped regions and conflict areas. The present-day nomadism, either collective or individual, should be included within a broader, post-nationalist paradigm, developed in the aftermath of macro-states and enhanced acculturation. Humanist and social researchers have already pointed out that the modern world is “fluid”, being devised as such by an unprecedented circulation of persons, goods, capital, ideas, information and so forth. If one endorses this perspective, then definitely migration must be looked at as an epitome of our time. Beyond its downside political, economic or social effects, migration is also considered as a creative tool for cultural production.

Once with the boosting of phenomena ensued by globalization (mentioning de-teritorialization and re-teritorialization is to name but a small few), culture unclutches from national territories and disengages from all political borders; neither ethnical homogeneity nor homogeneous collective imaginary is still conceivable. In other words, the “territories” do not contain culture, as culture is created and put into motion not only by state institutions, but also by groups, civil persons, and media endowed with a certain mobility. The actualization and circulation of cultural meaning, the knowledge transfer, as well as tradition and memory transmission are achieved in changing spatial-temporal contexts and within memory communities and social groups.

Taking into consideration their complexity, we propose a debate on the migration phenomena from the perspectives opened by interdisciplinary methodologies. Hence, the conference theme invites approaches from various research areas: cultural theory, history, geography and geo-criticism, sociology, communication sciences, linguistics, literature, and arts. As a point of departure, we advance several guiding ideas. The papers can work on these suggestions, but new ideas are also welcome:

Migration in space and time

  • Migration routes from West to East, East to West, North-South, South-North: real and fictional spaces
  • Exile and migration from Ancient times to late Modernity: political, economic, social, cultural and religious aspects
  • Migration of elites and the national mission: politic and cultural activism
  • Migratory flows in the 20th Cultural congruence and integration policies
  • New European diasporas: the dynamics of migration values in the 21st century
  • Neutralizing frontiers? Political, linguistic, social, and cultural borders
  • Cutting roots and nomadism: individual and collective traumas

Migrating beliefs

  • Gender mobility: identity, alterity, stereotypes, and paradigms of change
  • Religion and territory: from early missionaries to present-day religious wars
  • Doctrinarian migration: political identity vs political volatility
  • Leadership and public policies: education, public acknowledgment, charisma, and power
  • Devising public opinion through social media networks
  • From slogan to electoral program: the circulation of tropes in the political discourse
  • The prestige of diaspora: symbolic authority and representation

 Migration in culture

  • Global culture vs local cultures: acculturation phenomena
  • De-teritorialization and re-teritorialization: post-colonialism, multiculturalism, globalization, planetarity
  • Circulation and actualization of cultural meaning: institutions, policies, media
  • Global languages and national languages: linguistic influence and cultural anxiety, creolization phenomena
  • Idiolect, dialect, and sociolect within migrant communities: linguistic mechanisms and behaviors
  • The role of L2 in the social integration of migrants: linguistic obstacles in the L2 acquisition
  • Nomad texts: translation, adaptation, and other instances of transcultural circulation of texts
  • The circulation of narratives and oral arts: epos, poetry, and music

Aesthetics of migration

  • Cultural imaginary of migration: representations and stereotypes in mass-media, cinema, and other arts
  • World literature and literary systems: dependence, inter-dependence, parallelism
  • Transnational literary movements: synchronism, poli-genesis, influence, epigonism
  • Transgression of frontiers: authors in exile, emigrant literature, traveling narratives, “exported” literature, translations
  • Migrant literature, migrant écriture: transgressive identities
  • The return of the repressed: ethnic memory in literature, and other arts
  • Literature and transgression: canon/ establishment, the anxiety of influence, rule-breaking, taboo, and challenge
  • The migration of artistic forms through intertext, inter-genre, inter-mediality, bricolage, and recycling

Migration of information in the knowledge-based society

  • Migration of knowledge and world representations from Ancient times to present day
  • „Migration” of cultural contents from and to various formats and media: mediation, hyper-mediation, re-mediation
  • From original to copies and simulacra
  • The exodus toward the digital sphere. A utopia?
  • Digital narratives and collaborative writing
  • New media and knowledge transfer within the virtual communities
  • The role of new media in the contemporary migration phenomena