Postmigrant Aesthetics

How to narrate a future Europe?

Please register by June 22, 2020, at Zoom.
You will be sent a confirmation link for accessing the event online.

June 24, 2020
8:50am –12:30pm (PST)

11:50am–3:30pm (EST) / 17:50-21:30 (CET)

About the Conference

The increased numbers of refugees entering Europe in 2015 put an urgency to discussions on European self-understanding and identity. In which way is Europe, anthropologist Regina Römhild asks, ‘characterized by a long-term presence of migration’ which is partly neglected or made invisible in public discourse (Römhild 2018: 69)? How can we methodologically develop an understanding of Europe as a postmigratory space that is fundamentally shaped by earlier and ongoing migration movements? How can the concept of postmigration help us to grasp the overall negotiations and conflicts taking place in society? In two panels we will examine postmigrant narratives as playing a crucial part in challenging collective core narratives and the politics of belonging in plural societies. Our aim is to establish a set of criteria for a new transformative aesthetics that renegotiates and changes political perspectives. We will thus show how literature and film, by questioning binary concepts of hybridity, diversity, integration and belonging, can provide sociopolitical counter-narratives to Eurocentric, ethnically and nationally centred visions of society and cultural identity. The material investigated reaches from cross-Mediterranean mobilities and autoethnographic writings about Italy and the Balkan region to Algerian-French film, from the indigene Black British novel to German- and Danish-language literatures that address topics such as genealogies of self-making, ecocriticism and radical diversity within a European context. We will further critically discuss the theoretical implications of an aesthetics of postmigration as a possible new analytical turn in cultural studies.

Keywords: Postmigration, Narratives of Migration, Ethnic Hybridity, Social Diversity, Cultural Identity, Politics of Belonging, Transformative Aesthetics, Ecocriticism

with Regina Römhild (Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany),
Moritz Schramm (University of Southern Denmark)
and read more (full program)

organized by Markus Hallensleben
Dept. of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies, UBC Vancouver
Narratives Research Group, UBC Research Excellence Cluster on Migration

This event was originally planned as two panels of the
European Culture Research Network for the CES Conference 2020 on
Europe’s Past, Present, and Future: Utopias and Dystopias.

The research for this Zoom event is partially supported by the SSHRC Insight Development Grant
on Migration as Core Narrative of Plural Societies.


Although UBC’s Vancouver campus has not been fully re-opened due to Covid-19, it is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people ( We thankfully acknowledge their territory and honour them. Without their generosity and curiosity, we would not be able to host this event and use their lands. These lands have always been a place of learning for Musqueam youth, who were instructed in their culture, history, and tradition, and who in turn shared their knowledge with a new generation. 

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