Migration and Identity (Part 1) (Seminar)

American/Diaspora / Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Syed Hassan Abidi (Monmouth University)

Migration is broadly defined as the movement of people from one place to another and the people pursuing this journey are called migrants. However, there are various distinctions within the concept of migration that relates to factors that define if an individual should be considered a migrant, immigrant, refugee, or asylum seeker depending on their length of stay and motivation to migrate. Two major distinctions overarch all forms of movements that individuals make. First, voluntary, and involuntary; second, short term versus long term. Voluntary migrants include sojourners such as people who go abroad to study or visit for business purposes whereas involuntary migrants include refugees and asylum seekers seeking haven from ideology-based persecution. In the current globalized era, interconnectivity within regions of the world has increased the number of migrations and as a result, it has become a crucial area of study for various disciplines that focus on migration policies and the broader inclusion/exclusion dynamics these policies generate. The difficulties faced by long-term migrants emphasize migrants creating meaningful identities away from home and the ways in which the members of the host societies discursively negotiate what is often perceived as immigrant presence.

The intrinsic connection between discourse and interaction plays a pivotal role where narratives act as sites where particular understandings of what it means to be a migrant may develop, emerge, and/or be challenged. Thus, the relationship between migration, language use, and identity negotiation provides a framework for further investigation of diasporic identities and their portrayal in media, literature, education, and political institutions. The panel intends to examine migration from various discourses and invite paper submissions that focus on such themes.

As a result of globalization, a focus on diasporic identities has emerged as a theme to understand the migrant experience and the migratory policies implemented by the host society. The panel intends to invite paper submissions that focus on migration, identity, and the portrayal of migrant identities across various discourses.