CFP Special Issue of LWU “Refugees and Literature”

Sladja Blazan's picture
Call for Papers
October 31, 2016
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Humanities, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Literature, Popular Culture Studies

Perhaps nothing dominates our current times like the global refugee situation. The sheer number of people seeking a safe place to live is overwhelming. As this is happening in an information society, a large part of the global population is conditioned by media images of refugee camps and refugee routes. Most people in this world are currently either refugees themselves or witness to a refugee crisis. How does this affect literature?

The focus of this special issue of LWU (Literatur in Wisseenschaft und Unterricht) is literature concerning or arising from the migration or displacement of people due to war, persecution, natural catastrophe or economic collapse. How does literature reflect the current refugee situation and how does this compare to other periods that are dominated by displacement. Is there such a thing as "refugee literature," and if so, how might we define it? The aim of this collection is to find new paradigms for the study of refugeehood. Ones that problematize configurations of refugees as objects of rescue and a backdrop for exhibiting the power of the nation state. We invite frames of analysis that highlight the agency of the refugee and the processes that led to the displacement in the first place. Can literature provide a voice for the unrecognized refugee? The United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol to the Convention explicitly define who is to be recognized as a refugee and what rights this person might have thereupon. At times these definitions appear insufficient or outdated as in the case of environmental refugees, who might be fleeing within one country. What about the illegal immigrant? How can we gain more insight into historical and political parameters of refugeehood through literature?

We invite theoretical reflections as well as analyses of individual narratives. Please send an abstract of ca 500 words and a short biography to Sladja Blazan ( by October 31, 2016. All accepted essay will need to be submitted by June 1, 2017.

Contact Info: 
Sladja Blazan
American Studies
Wuerzburg University