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Migration and Media: Reenvisioning Media Representations of Migration to and around Europe

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Organizer: Gizem Arslan

Co-Organizer: Jocelyn Aksin

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The nexus between migration and media is usually framed on the one hand around minorities’ struggles for visibility, rights and recognition, and on the other hand, the power to influence public opinion we attribute to mass media and social media. Scholars have been grappling with representations of minorities in literature, media, film and theater for decades. What has received less critical attention to date are perceived or real minoritarian interventions in the key concepts and common notions that govern our thinking about media, which in turn influence the ways in which we receive and produce texts of various modalities. 

In the introduction to their edited volume on Turkish German Cinema in the New Millennium (2012), Sabine Hake and Barbara Mennel write that filmmakers “create new modes of production, develop innovative ways of seeing, and inspire new aesthetic styles and sensibilities” (4-5).  Extending the discussion beyond film, the organizers invite proposals for presentations broadly devoted to the study of media and migration to, in, and around Europe, as a project facing dissolution itself as many flee to it from protracted conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. Of particular interest are studies that foreground minoritarian reframings, revisions and decenterings of the media typically used to represent them, and that investigate “complexities of Europe’s migration histories, including its own colonial legacies, its racism and violence, as well as its lived multiethnic realities” (Weber and Stehle, “Precarious Intimacies,” 2018).  We welcome contributions from a wide range of disciplines including literature, history, theater, journalism, film studies, music, and visual arts. 

Some critical questions that guide our seminar are:
- How do authors, artists, filmmakers, visual and sound artists utilize media to intervene in, respond to, or otherwise shape discussions of migration and cultural identity?
- How do their works engage with and/or resist the conventions and institutions associated with the medium in which they work, and how do they alter our perception of different media genres?
- How does intermediality figure in the works in question? 
- What critical tools or frameworks exist to engage with literary and non-literary works that thematize migration; and conversely, what critical blind spots are revealed, and what strategies can be developed to address them? 
- How might new critical frameworks developed across different disciplines inform one another for a more comprehensive understanding of media and migration around Europe?
We envision a workshop format with pre-circulated presentations to all seminar participants and short presenter summaries at the conference, in order to allow for more discussion and feedback.
Please contact the seminar organizers Jocelyn Aksin at and Gizem Arslan at with any questions.

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