University of Eastern Finland Joensuu campus. Photo: © University of Eastern Finland

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The University of Eastern Finland’s Joensuu campus will host a major international conference on cultural mobility and multiethnicity from June 12-14, 2024. The "Moving Cultures, Moving Ethnicities" conference will gather around 130 speakers from over 20 countries, reflecting the university's strong research focus on borders, mobility, and cultural interactions.

Keynote speakers include Professor John McLeod from the University of Leeds, who will discuss the conflicting roles of "good" and unauthorized migrants in contemporary English literature.

Researcher Tobias Skowronek from Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola Bochum will present his geochemical analysis of historical trade links between West Africa and Europe, revealing European origins of metal bracelets used in the slave trade. Academy Research Fellow Anna-Leena Toivanen will examine the role of hotels in African and Afrodiasporic literature.

Participants' presentations will cover a wide range of topics related to ethnic and migrant literatures and cultures, from North America to Asia. The conference will explore cultural and national border crossings in various art forms. Organized by the University of Eastern Finland’s humanities department in collaboration with MESEA: Multi-Ethnic Studies in Europe and the Americas, this will be the 13th biennial conference of the organization.

The MESEA 2024 conference invites contributions addressing the diverse aspects of mobility, including the physical movement of people, cultural intersections, and the creation of hybrid cultural forms. It will also explore the emotional impacts of mobility, such as joy, fear, and frustration, on travelers and those they encounter.

Topics of interest include:

  • Narratives of return and nostalgia
  • Forced migration and human trafficking
  • Trauma and displacement
  • Gothic journeys and uncanny spaces
  • Melancholia and migration
  • Activism and solidarity
  • Autobiography and memory
  • Hybrid cultural practices
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Climate migration
  • Gendered perspectives on mobility
  • Ethics and economics of migration

Abstract submissions are open from August 15 to November 15, 2023, with notifications of acceptance by January 10, 2024. Individual paper proposals should include a title and a 300-word abstract, submitted via the conference website along with a 200-word biography. Panel proposals should include descriptions and abstracts for 3-4 presenters.

Joensuu, located in Eastern Finland's Karelian region, offers a vibrant setting for the conference. With 75,000 residents, including many students, the city is known for its beautiful natural surroundings and lively cultural scene. The conference will take place on-site at the UEF Joensuu Campus, easily accessible by air and train from Helsinki. Joensuu’s affordable accommodations and dining options make it an attractive destination for visitors.

For more details, visit the conference website: MESEA 2024 Conference.

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