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Crossovers: Imaginaries of Movement in Culture and Literary Aesthetics

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Organizer: Anuparna Mukherjee

Co-Organizer: Arunima Bhattacharya

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The recent pandemic that forced several “lockdowns” across the world, not only arrested the various orders of mobility but also generated new debates on movement and stasis under contingent and compelling conditions. Partly, this concern pointed towards the question of migration and cross-border movements. While listing the “Top ten issues of 2020” the Washington based Migration Policy Institute speculated that “The year 2020 could well be a turning point for a new era of global mobility”. It brought into focus how the migration policies backed by arguments of resource scarcity and antagonism to norms of international burden-sharing were worsened by pandemic related stringent border controls. Alternatively, the pandemic also revived the disciplinary migration of conceptual and methodological elements from the realm of science into social discourse, fostering a radicalised understanding of immunity, movement, and boundaries. It supported numerous novel disciplinary interfaces that sought to understand the emotional geographies of the digital space and negotiate the physical absence that it implied.  

This panel, while attending to the imports of mobility, migration, coerced confinements and ostracisation against the immediate, aims to make significant segues into other kinds of movements, “kinaesthetic” practices and motility between bodies, disciplines, cultures that define both our mundane and creative engagements in contemporary times. On occasions, these conversations include territorial crossovers, however, movements also occur between forms, mediums, languages, digital and physical interfaces to generate new discursive fields.

Thus, looking through the portal of the present, the deliberations will expand and reimagine the current discourses, constitutive of the affective and aesthetic dimensions of movement and motility both as enabling and disabling processes across multifarious representative modes. Firstly, this session will attempt to contextualise movements of humans, objects and texts across multiple thresholds to open a complex dialogue between space, history, memory and migration in the 20th and 21st centuries. Secondly, it will interrogate the larger epistemic question of borders, crossings, transitive and intermediate spaces in aesthetics and narratives. Finally, by drawing together these strands of argument, the panel hopes to understand how communities, their texts, and the spaces within which they function constantly evolve, reinvent themselves through miscellaneous movements that alter the everyday practices, to the very experience of “dwelling” with its intricate social, material, imaginative and philosophical underpinnings. An indicative list of areas include:

Pandemic, Movement, & Disasters  
Migration, Affect & Memory
Transitive Spaces, Isolation & Solitude
Movement among Disciplines, Concepts & Methodologies
Movement, Corporeality, & the Digital


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