Conference Call for Papers - Travel Light: Apprehending Being on the Move

Hanna Barnett's picture
January 27, 2023
Ontario, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Literature, Borderlands

The Departments of Comparative Literature, Hispanic Studies, and the Centre for Theory and Criticism at Western University invite your submissions to our 2023 Graduate Student Conference:

Travel Light: Apprehending Being on the Move

In Nomads: The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World, Anthony Sattin claims “nomads have always been at least half of the human story and have made essential contributions to the march of what many historians have traditionally called civilisation.” The nation-state, and its subsequent iteration, ‘empire,’ is dependent upon the settler and nomad distinction for its constitution and definition. It is the relationship between settler and nomad, on the one hand, and empire and nation, on the other, that we call upon to be analyzed and critiqued. What does it mean to impose borders so that we might make sense of the ineradicable ambiguity that arises when these binaries are investigated? Following the nomad, what are the real-world implications of the subversion, disdain, and/or transgression of these borders by bodies in movement? As the nations and peoples of the world navigate the deleterious effects of global warming, the significant increase in refugee populations, and the postcolonial wake of the dissolution of empires, movement and economy have become a focal point of legislation, reflection, and consternation. How might we theorize from the perspective of the ‘always-on-the-move’? How has movement resulted in the formation of geographical, linguistic, literary, artistic, and cultural identities despite precarity? What becomes of the settler/nomad distinction when we consider the concept and population of the refuge? When does movement, as well as stasis, become oppressive?


We invite critical interventions on the nature of movement in the 21st century, a period preoccupied with re-interpreting logic, social processes and managing bodies in space under a regime of technological speed. Engagements with the literature and language of movement within the Latin American diasporic experience will be given special attention besides welcoming a broad scope of research related to movement. We are seeking proposals that address the following topics and questions, but related proposals will also be considered:


  • In the movement of meaning between languages, what is lost or gained?
  • How can this movement of meaning be mapped upon the world when thinking about immigration, migration, and economic circulation?
  • Why is “movement” so integral to metaphors of historical progress and capitalist development?
  • How are we to think of tourism in relation to movement and its prohibition?
  • How has the West’s obsession with newer, more advanced technologies of movement impacted our conceptions of place and possibility?
  • How has “movement” as a thematic, metaphor, and/or motif changed in literature throughout its history?
  • How can Disability Studies aid in the re-definition of movement through non-ableist frameworks?

Key Dates

  • Proposal submission deadline: January 13, 2023
  • Notification of acceptance: January 27, 2023
  • Conference: March 10-11, 2023 - in person at Western University

Submit your 200-word maximum proposal here.

For more information about the conference, please contact or view our website