Submission deadline

Call for Papers

Faculty of Languages, Arts, and Humanities Campus Universitaire Ait Melloul (Morocco)

Long Abstract:
Capsized refugee boats in the gulf of Gibraltar, stowaways suffocated in containers on ships, boats overflowing with illegal immigrants washing up on European shores; these are the dramatic images that currently put the Mediterranean Sea in the news time and again. These images, communicate the drama of the Mediterranean crossing at its most apogean form. This drama has become one of the most significant topics of political and public debate not only in Europe but, in different forms and on a different scale, all over the world; it has also redefined conceptions and perceptions of the Mediterranean Sea itself. The Mediterranean came, thus, to be viewed, among other ways, as a concept or construct of historical transitions of cultures bordering both shores of the sea, and a ‘multiple’ space of shared cultural encounters and global mobilities, where borders are conceived as ‘transitory’ sites and ‘zones of transit’ (Chambers 2008, 2-4). Bordering practices, politics of exclusion, and the geopolitics of globalization have, in turn, highlighted a significant interaction between the visible and the invisible in the Mediterranean crossings, and have also pointed out to the different representations that border crossings reveal where hundreds of migrants died or went missing in their attempts to cross the sea towards Europe.

Borders and migration nexus helps in creating different imaginaries that have political, economic, social, and cultural implications for Mediterranean space and Europe at large (Rosello and Wolfe 2017, 4). While some illegal migrants succeed in reaching the European shore, they, however, are forced to remain invisible and therefore suffer from this state of invisibility. On the other shore of the Mediterranean, the migrants remain publicly visible while at the same time deferred from joining the public discourse on human rights (among other things). In Europe, where right-wing populism is on the rise, the crossing of the Mediterranean can result in framing the migrants within the political discourse of terrorism; they are, hence, met with moral panics, violence, and discrimination.

In Africa, despite the institutionalized forms of political negotiation and civic mobilization, the representation of the migrants is disquieting, which forces them towards their death either on the electric fences or at sea. This suggests that, in crossing the Mediterranean, the migrants experience different forms of in/visibilities (Brambilla and Pötzsch 2017, 70-73) since they are not only crossing a spatial boundary, but also a socio-political, cultural, discursive, and textual boundary. The space they occupy, depending on the immigration regulating policies of the country of arrival, remains marginal, and varies from detention zones, transit or refugee camps to temporary shelters in the best cases.

For this reason, in examining the dynamics of the flow across trans/national borders and the occupation of national spaces in light of the political debates emerging from the Mediterranean crossings on media, social networks, and within national parliamentary houses, the questions of national identity and human rights are increasingly articulated and become crucial when the issue of the Mediterranean crossing is brought into discussion. While the act of crossing foregrounds estrangement and anxiety to both the crossers and the transnational communities, it is only the migrant, dead or alive, that remains victim to all sorts of representations.
This conference aims to give coherence to the theme of the Mediterranean crossings while simultaneously demonstrating the breadth of its scope. We seek proposals for 20-minute presentations that address this theme from diverse perspectives across the humanities and social sciences. We hope that the conference will open up a discussion on new forms and new understandings of migrant experiences, subjectivities, and the contentious cultural, social, and political dynamics of border crossing. We also hope that it will enable us to address emerging questions about the place of migrants, their transcultural predicament, and about what it means for these migrants to become part of larger processes of mobilities, relocation, world politics and the global economy.


  • Mediterranean crossing and media
  • Mediterranean crossing and representation
  • Crossing borders and literature
  • Social aspects of border crossings in the Mediterranean
  • NGOs and humanitarian aids in the Mediterranean
  • Social work and crossing borders
  • Social politics and migration
  • Socio-political issues and the Mediterranean
  • Postcolonial narratives on the Mediterranean crossing
  • North Africa and sub-Saharan mobility
  • North Africa and southern Europe mobility
  • Moroccans residing in Europe
  • Sub-Saharan Africans residing in Morocco
  • The Mediterranean border(ing)
  • Transnational Mobility
  • (Im)migration and violence

Conference Language is English.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words, 4 keywords, and a short bio should be filled in (link)

Important dates

  • Deadline for paper proposal submission:

    31 January 2019

  • Notification of acceptance:

    11 February 2019

  • Registration and fee payment:

    28 February 2019

  • Preliminary version of conference program:

    30 March 2019

  • Final version of conference program:

    10 April 2019

  • Conference:

    24-25 April 2019

  • Paper submission deadline (for publication):

    30 June 2019

The Organizing committee

(in alphabetical order)

  • Anbi Abderrahim
  • Elkhairat Abdelghani
  • Elyazidi Rachid
  • Hamdoune Lahoussine
  • Kharoua Mustapha
  • Matbout Fadela
  • Ouboulahcen Seddik
  • Oudadene Hassan
  • Ridouane Abdelmajid
  • Sbiri Kamal : Conference coordinator
  • Trimasse Naima
  • Yassine Rachida

The conference fee

Students: 500 MDH (50€)
Faculty members: 1000MDH (100€)

The fee includes :

  • welcome dinner (on Wednesday)
  • lunch
  • coffee breaks
  • conference materials
  • transport from Agadir city center to the Campus (stops will be announced later)

Payment details

  • To be announced later
  • Cancellations received before March 15, 2019 will receive a 50% refund of the registration fee. Cancellations received after March 16, 2019 are not refunded.

Confirmed Keynote speakers

Thomas Spijkerboer

Professor of Migration Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam/Amsterdam Centre for Migration & Refugee Law.

Raoul Wallenberg Visiting Professor of Human Rights & Humanitarian Law, Lund University

Johan Schimanski

Head of Research
Professor of Comparative Literature
Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages
University of Oslo

visiting research Professor of Cultural Encounters
School of Humanities
University of Eastern Finland

Organizing institutions and sponsors

Abstract submission