Mobile Identities II: The Mediterranean Crossings: Border-crossing, Representations, and Estrangement on the Sea Shores

Kamal Sbiri Announcement
Subject Fields
African History / Studies, Human Rights, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Law and Legal History, Social Sciences

The concept of the Mediterranean can be viewed as a construct of historical transitions of cultures bordering both shores of the sea. The Mediterranean is also described as a space of shared cultural encounters and global mobilities, and as such the space of the Mediterranean is regarded as ‘multiple’, where borders are conceived as a ‘transitory’ sites and ‘zones of transit’ (Chambers 2008, 2-4). The interaction between the visible and the invisible in the Mediterranean crossings also points out to the different representations that border crossings reveal where hundreds of migrants died or went missing in their attempts to cross the sea towards Europe. Borders and migration nexus helps in creating different imaginaries that have political, economic, social, and cultural implications for Mediterranean space and Europe at large (Rosello and Wolfe 2017, 4). While some illegal migrants succeed in reaching the European shore, they, however, are forced to remain invisible and therefore suffer from this state of invisibility. On the other shore of the Mediterranean, the migrants remain publicly visible while at the same time deferred from joining the public discourse on human rights (among other things). If in Europe the crossing of the Mediterranean can result in framing the migrants within the political discourse of terrorism, in Africa the representation of the migrant is yet to be viewed as disquieting, which forces them towards their death either on the electric fences or at sea. As such, the migrant seemingly, in crossing the Mediterranean, enjoys different forms of in/visibilities (Brambilla and Pötzsch 2017, 70-73). Thus in examining the flow across trans/national borders and the occupation of national spaces (tents and roundabouts), the process of crossing seems to hide the atrocities of wars and crises that the migrants’ figures fail to uphold in an era characterized by free movement and borderless zones. Where globalization succeeds to link certain nation states together without borders (case of Europe), people southern the Mediterranean fail to capture the sense of freedom that others enjoy, thus globalization only blocked people’s movement.

In light of the political debates emerging from the Mediterranean crossings on media, social networks, and within national parliamentary houses, the questions of national identity and human rights are increasingly articulated and become crucial when the issue of the Mediterranean crossing is brought into discussion. While the act of crossing only foregrounds estrangement and pain to both the crossers and the transnational communities, it is only the migrant, dead or alive, that remains victim to all sorts of representations. As such, this conference seeks to invite contributors from all sorts of discipline to discuss the questions of crossing the Mediterranean and what this process entails for the migrants, politicians, NGOs, economists, geopoliticians, sociologists, social politics, and social work. Abstracts related, but not restricted, to the following topics are welcomed for presentation in this conference:

Mediterranean crossing and media

Mediterranean crossings and representation

Crossings borders and literature

Social aspects of border crossings in the Mediterranean

NGOs and humanitarian aids in the Mediterranean

Social work and crossing borders

Social politics and migration

Socio-political issues and the Mediterranean

Postcolonial narratives on the Mediterranean crossings

North Africa and sub-Saharan mobility

North Africa and southern Europe mobility

Moroccans residing in Europe

Sub-Saharan Africans residing in Morocco

The Mediterranean border(ing)

Transnational Mobility

(Im)migration and violence


Conference Languages is English.

Contact Information

Faculty of Languages, arts, and Humanities

Campus Universitaire Ait Mellou

Rue N 10, Azrou Ait Melloul


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