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[ANNULÉ] Literature, Social Action, Migration


22-23 May 2020

Responsable de l'activité

Simon Swift


Mme Lily Dessau, Unige

M. Oran McKenzie, Unige

Prof. Simon Swift, Unige


Dr Samuel Durrant, Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Theory, University of Leeds

Dr Agnes Woolley, Lecturer in Transnational Literature and Migration Cultures

Miriam Boucris, Tohu Wa Boho Theatre Company, Geneva



In despite of W.H. Auden's famous claim that "poetry makes nothing happen," literary scholars of various fields have, in recent years, sought to make of our discipline a significant social actant. From the rise of the academic activist in response to climate change and other pressing contemporary issues, to British academia's investment in ideas of "impact and engagement"; from the developing discourse of transferable skills and professionalization to the phenomenon of academic media presence, literary criticism seems to have well and truly escaped the confines of any kind of ivory tower. For this workshop, we will focus on the ways in which literary scholars use their work to think about the current political and social phenomena of migration, exile and the figure of the refugee. We will hear from a scholar working on bibliotherapy – that is, the reparative uses of literature for those traumatised by displacement – and a scholar who focuses on diaspora and asylum narratives. We will also work with a theatre director who brings students and migrants together in Geneva, the Cité de Refuge. The workshop will also give PhD students a space to reflect on the social relevance of their projects, and the interface of their work with issues of migration, refuge and placelessness, ecology and other pressing contemporary issues. It is intended to help all of us to think about the ethics and practicalities of transferring our scholarship to a wider social sphere, whatever area or approach we work on. The hope is that the workshop will help us to begin to think about areas of possible future collaborative engagement.







Deadline for registration 15.05.2020
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