Migrations and Borders in the 21st Century. The End of National cultures and identities?

Susanne Berthier-Foglar's picture
June 1, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Nationalism History / Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations, Social Sciences

International conference - University Grenoble Alpes, October 12-14, 2014

The history of humanity is a history of migrations. Since the 16th Century, two seemingly contradictory tendencies can be observed. One is the emergence of states attempting to emphasize the national character of their identity. The great majority of these states have their borders stabilized by international treaties. The other tendency is the permanence of migrations between these states and the coexistence—within these states—of populations that are may have a feeling of foreignness towards each other. Migrations caused by distress and poverty intermingle with phenomena linked to the emergence and opening of traditionally closed and poor countries, or at times to the coalition of states involved in the pacification and development of large areas traditionally torn by conflicts and dictatorships.

Migratory pressures due to multiple causes lead the host countries of the developed world to question their ‘national’ identity. Is migration a threat to the cohesion of these states? Could the presence of various migrant populations—as well as the fluidity of information—lead to a much broader definition of ‘national identity’, a definition that would be more in tune with the universality of the Enlightenment? On the other hand how can we not question—or even criticize—the practices and ideologies among migrants as well as host countries against such universality.

This international conference aims to confront social science research on migration with research on the civilizations and cultures of all five continents according to the specialization of the ILCEA4 research group. We plan to consider primarily the post-Cold-War decades but do not exclude phenomena occurring prior to this seismic change. We will question the impact of migrations on the host countries, on the family, and on major institutions. We will also question, in return, the evolution of mentalities and practices among migrant groups and their offspring as well as in their countries of origin.

The languages of the conference will be French and English. We plan to publish extended versions of selected papers.

The proposals for papers, in French or in English, 300 words max, are to be sent to the two organizers before June 1, 2016, with a short bio (100 words max).

Contact Info: 

Susanne Berthier-Foglar, Professor, American Civilization, University Grenoble Alpes, France


François Genton, Professor, German Civilization, University Grenoble Alpes, France