Call for Papers : The Mediterranean: for a critical geography of the frontier, Roma, 7-10 June 2017


XXXII Congresso geografico italiano, Associazione dei geografi italiani, Roma, 7-10 June 2017



Abstract submission:

Deadline for abstract submissions: 15 February 2017

The Mediterranean: for a critical geography of the frontier (multiple session) – In recent years, the Mediterranean has become the worldwide symbol of migration. Against the backdrop of migrant deaths at sea, refugee “crisis”, terrorism and the growing diversification of borders and migration control devices, mass media and politicians have been representing the Mediterranean as a fragile and at the same time impassable border, supporting the emergency rhetoric. This lens is too narrow to truly capture the complexity of the border-migration nexus and the frontier-like character of the Mediterranean region, whereas the Mediterranean is often reductively essentialized to a clear-cut, geo-racial border. This session aims to go beyond the metaphor of the line in the sand, by considering the Mediterranean border-space as a historical and social phenomenon, which can take different shapes and operate in different ways across time and space. It can establish itself as a relational ‘place’ independently from the traditional space-time coordinates of fixity and continuity related to territorial state boundaries. What is at stake in this space is the issue of disposable humanity, of the humanization and de-humanization of Europe.

The session is composed of the following thematic sub-sessions:

Rethinking the Mediterranean as a borderscape. Methodological challenges for geography and beyond geography – The aim is to contribute to the challenge of operationalizing the borderscape/scaping concept in a multidisciplinary perspective. The sub-session welcomes contributions that problematize political and mass media discourse on the Mediterranean providing a critical and multi-focal approach. Papers can address, among other related arguments: the Mediterranean geopolitical space, historical and geographical connections and overlappings of the Euro/African frontier, the aesthetics-politics nexus, and everyday relations in and across the frontier. This sub-session includes a closed panel devoted to showing and discussing the documentary film HOUDOUD AL BAHR | I CONFINI DEL MARE. Mazara – Mahdia (Italy, 2015) by C. Brambilla and S. Visinoni.

The Delocalized Mediterranean Border: Externalization and Internalization of Migration Management – Migration control is increasingly carried out through the externalization (to international waters or to the countries of origin and transit) and internalization (in the destination countries) of the border. A number of different actors, (UE; states; international, intergovernmental e non-governmental organizations; private firms), logics (exclusion, differential inclusion, depoliticization etc.) and rhetorics (securitarian, humanitarian etc.) contribute to the delocalization of the Mediterranean border. This sub-session welcomes papers addressing: the concepts of delocalization, externalization, internalization and extraterritorialization; the roles of – and the relations between – actors, policies, practices, discourses, logics and legal regimes.

And so, Europe dehumanized itself. A call on Mediterranean critical geographies – Can geographical knowledge evade the grip of the frontier? What human hierarchies are underpinned by migration-related policies and rhetoric? Can the discourse on migrants evade both the violence of criminalization and the solidarity of humanitarianism? This sub-session welcomes papers addressing the proposed issues; the crucial challenge is, more specifically, to escape from the traps of EU rhetoric to produce counter-hegemonic discourses. In order to do this, we will have to re-situate ourselves against the proliferation of new nationalisms. Finally, the sub-session aims to present and discuss the manifesto And so Europe dehumanized itself.

KEYWORDS: Mediterranean, Borders, Borderscapes, Delocalization, De-humanization.

CONVENORS: Chiara Brambilla, Anna Casaglia, Raffaella Coletti, Paolo Cuttitta, Giulia de Spuches, Vincenzo Guarrasi