The large number of Central American refugees who crossed the Rio Grande in 2014 arrived with harrowing stories about current conditions in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, as well as the dangerous journey through Mexico. Their arrival in the U.S. also generated a range of emotional responses and demands for action, from anti-immigrant protests to calls for humanitarian aid and economic development to the swift militarization of the border. Building from this moment, this panel will explore the relation between affect and action within the longer history of immigration in North America. How have those in the Global North imagined suffering in the Americas and their relation to it? What do their responses to migrants (and to migrant narratives) reveal about the political efficacy of emotion?
Proposals from all disciplines are welcome. Potential papers might consider: affect in the debate over immigration; representations of migrants in literature, visual art, performance and film; activism and theatricality; expressions of empathy, sentimentality, and/or moral outrage; structures of feeling in the “North”; the evolving symbolic role of the North/El Norte; the historic and contemporary role of Canada as refuge.
Please send abstracts (200-300 words) and brief CV by Jan. 5 to Stephen Park (firstname.lastname@example.org). Inquiries before that are welcome.