CfP: Cast Away in Human Misery? Migration on the Screen

Frank Jacob's picture
Call for Publications
May 15, 2016
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Social History / Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, World History / Studies

The current refugee or migrant crisis is central to international and national political debates in Europe, where numerous future scenarios reference a “human flood” or the “decline of the occident.” However, the migrant crisis of 2015 has many predecessors and is but part of a larger chain of dangerous clandestine migration. Throughout history many have suffered both complicated legal and economic battles before and after such arduous journeys. Cinematic depictions of such trials and individuals often reveal a political commentary, which can contain a nationalist bias. For this reason, it will be fruitful to look comparatively at cinematic visions of refugee crises as well as more generally, illegal migration from war-torn or impoverished areas to an idealized democracy. How does the camera evoke the bare-life turmoil of one seeking to escape? How is the “first-world”/ “Global north” nation idealized by migrants—is this through dialogue or photography? Are the migrants’ origins depicted on screen or but referenced? Do cultural-lingual differences bar individuals from assimilation?  and is this friction of values central to a film’s depiction of the Other? Also of interest is how such films concerning migration are funded and the ways in which such financing combines with narrative to suggest a biopolitical agenda.  


We invite all scholars addressing cinematic depictions of historical migration, the current migrant/refugee crisis, or individual acts of departure to send a proposal for a contribution in an edited volume with a global and comparative perspective. Although we are interested in Europe, we especially encourage those, working on African, Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern film to send in their proposals. Such a proposal should include a short description of the chapter you are planning to contribute (around 300-400 words) and a short CV. These materials are due May 15, 2016. The final chapters with a length of 6-8,000 words, using footnotes following the latest Chicago Manual of Style are due until December 31, 2016.


Please send all materials or initial inquiries to

Nicole Beth Wallenbrock ( and Frank Jacob (


Contact Info: 

Frank Jacob, History Department, CUNY-QCC, 22205 56th Ave, Bayside, 11364 New York

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