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Image and Counter-Image: Dreaming Borders, Unthinking Migration

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Heyman Center for the Humanities

74 Morningside Drive

New York, NY 10027

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Please note this workshop has been postponed until the Fall 2018 semester. We will update this page with additional information as it is confirmed.


A Workshop with Professor Stefania Pandolfo and Filmmaker Keila Kilani, Part of the "Migrancy and Unsettlement" Research Project of the Committee on Global Thought

Please be sure to register in advance here on Eventbrite to attend this free admission event. Please visit CGT.COLUMBIA.EDU/UNSETTLEMENT for full event details.

In recent years, the Maghreb and the Middle East entered a phase of upheavals and transformations, which shifted from the imagination of possible new worlds, to repression, restoration, and the catastrophic annihilation of forms of life. Yet for a time, the uprisings reopened the circulation of desire–a desire for mobility across the African continent and the Mediterranean. That desire forced a breach into the European order and its proliferating walls. In that confrontation on many fronts, known as the “European refugee crisis” (but whose crisis?) Europe’s “managed inhospitality”, its “smart” borders at sea, and its hybrid articulation of military and humanitarian border security (Operation Mare Nostrum, and Frontex) resulted in the death of thousands. Images of bodies floating on the Mediterranean or washed ashore, of “asylum seekers” waiting on train tracks or tear gassed along the so-called Balkan route, or welcomed in Austria and Germany (only to be soon be rejected again) flooded the world media in 2015 and 2016, producing paradigmatic portraits of victims and totems of humanitarian care, and registering a European anxiety of invasion.

How might this recent history be seen and accounted for otherwise? Anthropologist Stefania Pandolfo and film director Leila Kilani reflect on borders, sovereignty, and dreams, on migration “in anamorphosis”, in an ongoing conversation based on their respective ethnographic and cinematographic work on the passion and counter-image of Burning (al-harg, how undocumented migration is named in the Maghreb), its mythical, theological, and prophetic imaginations, its proximity of life and death, and what it enables as transfiguration and critique. In conversation with Rosalind Morris, they will discuss their beginning collaboration on the “other side” of that journey, from the peripheral shore of Southern Sardinia, with its own history of internal Italian migration, disaffected mining, and dispossession, in its encounter with the in-appropriable histories, and vital “intrusion” of Sub-Saharan and other “asylum seekers”.

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Heyman Center for the Humanities

74 Morningside Drive

New York, NY 10027

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