The 1st. International Conference On Mobile identities Sub-Saharan migration towards Western Europe: Multiple Souths? Multiple Norths?

Kamal Sbiri's picture
Call for Papers
March 10, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Geography, Humanities, Immigration & Migration History / Studies

Quite a pack of Sub-Saharan in-land migration literatures produced within Western Europe and without seems to register two main absences: an absence of serious efforts to formally investigate the distinct origins, cultures, ethnicities, languages, and nationalities of the immigrants, on the one hand, and an effacement of the distinct transit routes they ‘trouble’ towards Western Europe, on the other.

Several unknown trodden geographical and unfamiliar cultural territories that the Sub-Saharan migrants towards Western Europe are crossing or re-crossing, or avoiding, or (il)legally deciding to temporarily or permanently stay in rest unnamed. This outmoded matrix, that several discourses on sub-Saharan migration seem to attend to, is closed against the appropriate and sensible designation of the several ‘Souths’ from which the various groups of immigrants originate and the multiple ‘Norths’ that they cross on their routes to Western Europe. The generic analytical mechanisms that serve the Sub-Saharan issues of migration seem to sketch this complex movement as if it were a single flight from a one same point of departure (the troublesome ‘Africa’) cruising across untroubled heights landing in one same destination (the troubled ‘Europe’). Since this is not the case, the issue needs to unpack into careful newer modes of scrutiny that may be contributed to by voices from within the bipolar (both south and north) transit geographical locations. Researching the myriads of in-land traces of the cultural groups and individuals who unplug national, or tribal, or family umbilical cords and throw them behind signifiers far more complicated than just an essentialized ‘African Economicus’ shall assist in the desired mapping out and close reading of the patterns born from the unnatural and upsetting multiple crossed and re-crossed borders by numerous languages, nationalities, cultures, religions, ethnicities, genders, etc.

The multi-faceted patterns that must be recurrent and may serve as cached data that may upgrade contemporary approaches seem to be lost because of the absences that we seek to contend and register here. What correlates from the short or extended encounters (indirect or proximate) with the migrants and the countries they cross in transit (or is it?) are deserving of not only different research paradigms, but also courageous narratives that can break away from Western Europe’s concern with migration as nothing else but an protracted geo-economic discomfort.  We seek to tell a different story of the migrants in and through the foreign lands they cross towards the rich promised lands they more often than not never reach.

To this end in view, we invite abstracts from any discipline that address these concerns from a variety of perspectives and disciplinary angles. Submissions in literature, sociology, cultural and media studies illustrative of these emergent discourses are especially welcomed. We are particularly interested in research on the new directions in scholarship engendered by current patterns of global migration.

Key topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sub-Saharan migration and cross/transnational African mobility
  • Migration, postcolonialism, and narrative
  • African Identity, Northern sapces, and borders in transit
  • Theorizing the North, the South, and the transit.
  • Hi/stories in the border and borderlands narratives
  • Diaspora, migration, and border studies
  • Global mobility and new diasporic spaces
  • National immigration policies within transit spaces
  • Spaces, borders, transnationalism
  • Globalization, regionalism and cultural identity
  • Migration, transnational families, and transcultural identities
  • Local policies, global migration, and preserving national culture
  • Migration in/through the South, the new contemporaneity, local policies
  • Language, culture, and transnational migration
  • National consciousness and trans-national identities
  • Mobile identities and mobile markets
  • Global markets, international security, and human traffic

We are also keen to receive proposals for papers on any topic, which themselves perform or exhibit flux of identity and migration.

We request abstracts of no more than 400 words and a short bio. The deadline for abstract submission is December 15, 2016. The scientific committee will announce decisions and notify the panelists by January 5, 2017.

A preliminary program will be available on January 20, 2017.

Abstracts and short bio must be submitted directly to No later than December 15, 2016.

The conference will take place at the University Campus Ait Melloul. Further details will be communicated later

For any further details please direct your queries to the conference coordinator:

Dr. Kamal SBIRI:

Contact Info: 

Conference coordinator: Dr. Kamal SBIRI

Contact Email: