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Posts Tagged ‘Frontières’

« We commonly see exile as having a spiritual, intellectual or artistic dimension. Out of this experience of deracination, illustrious figures have emerged, have even come into their own through a veritable tradition of exile literature. (…) Today the historical situation is radically different. The people whom we used to call exiles no longer arrive anywhere where they can start to plant the seeds of the story, the poem or party of their exile. The figure of the exile no longer has any ground upon which to grow simply because there is no longer any place that is recognized as the exile’s place, unless it is a camp, a place of exclusion, of obstructed movement. We have gone from the spiritual grandeur of the exile to the institutional deprivation of the refugee or the ‘undocumented foreigner.’  » Michel Agier

Photo credit: David Ignaszewski

At The Cooper Union, panelists from various backgrounds exchanged their visions on hospitality, refuge, and asylum. The discussion was a great opportunity to hear diverse points of view, whether deriving from the panelists’ work experience or academic analysis. Find below their essays or watch the full video on Dailymotion.

How can we talk about exile, refuges and hospitality in a world with no outside? by Michel Agier (La version originale est disponible ici)

Asylum, Hospitality and the Urban Fringe: Thoughts on the Situation of “Migrant Roma” in French Cities by Olivier Legros (Asile, hospitalité et marges urbaines : réflexions sur la situation des « Roms migrants » dans les villes françaises)

Asylum in the Administrative State, by Philip G. Schrag (La traduction de Pascale Torracinta est disponible ici)

Download here the essay by Ashley Caudill-Mirillo, Supervisory Asylum Officer.

For a broader view on asylum, migrations and exodus, do not miss the two panels dedicated to the topic, as part of the International Forum of the Novel. The panel « Migration » will address the different ways to write about a country that one has fled or left. The round-table « Leaving » will focus on the links between escape and literature.

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Qu’est-ce qu’une frontière ?

Dimanche 17 avril à Cooper Union, l’anthropologue Eric Chauvier, le poète Heriberto Yepez, le compositeur et musicologue Alex Waterman et le journaliste Serge Michel avaient tous des réponses différentes.

Une ligne de démarcation entre deux pays, une division intérieure, une création géopolitique, une barrière dans les mots, une réalité historique.

D’accord, mais à quoi la repère-t-on, la frontière ?

Pour Serge Michel, entre la Suisse et la France, on reconnaît une frontière à son garde moustachu et circonspect. Pour  le poète Heriberto Yepes et le compositeur Alex Waterman, on l’entend : la frontière déplace les zones du langage et de ce qui est dicible, à qui et dans quelle langue. L’anthropologue Eric Chauvier ne les voit plus, dissoutes dans les zones périurbaines.

Dimanche, ces quatre artistes et chercheurs discutaient donc des frontières au coeur de New York, la ville où les gens de tous continents affluent dans l’espoir d’échapper aux leurs, de frontières.

New York est passée maîtresse dans l’art de faire croire au monde que les frontières sont un concept dépassé – après tout, on n’a jamais demandé de visa à un flux financier.

Mais quiconque se promène à New York les voit tout de suite, ces frontières, administratives, raciales, économiques, langagières. Invisibles et palpables, elles se cachent dans la ville. Il faut les chercher et les lire.

Essai de frontiérologie new-yorkaise à travers les cartes de la ville.

La carte des 5 boroughs 


la carte des 59 « neighborhoods »


et des centaines de districts.

La carte des ethnies représentées dans la ville

(source : The New York Times )

(suite…)

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Eric Chauvier offered this reflection on the exurban zone. (La version originale de ce texte est disponible ici)

When I became aware that the radioactive plume emanating from the Fukushima nuclear plant was almost directly above my exurban zone, very high up in the blue sky, perfectly undetectable (according to what experts in undetectable radioactivity were saying) I was on my Wednesday run. Troubled suddenly by this notion, I continued to run for a bit, then I stopped alongside a street sign indicating the name of a street, a sign I’d never seen, on a street I take every Wednesday—more or less. I was thinking again about the radioactive plume, but without considering the health risk it constituted in the eyes of the media. Something else, an idea that had yet to be identified, was making me connect this invisible cloud with the street sign; the sign on which the name of a man was inscribed, Armand Thiriez. Suddenly, the use, in this vulnerable zone where we happened to be, of a name that to my mind belonged to someone perfectly anonymous, seemed extremely vain and extremely sad: a mistake, an error of judgment that no one was noticing. I saw it as an emblem of our condition as occidental exurbanites. The malaise was becoming tangible: there were desperately no more borders around us, inside what city planners call our ‘environment’—the perception of this absence of borders rather precisely defining what our ‘environment’ was. I walked down Armand Thiriez street observing the very diverse houses along it, houses that despite their singularity (and necessarily the singularity of their occupants) always appeared to us as identical reproductions. How had we managed to acquire this negative gift of transforming the singular into the standardized? Our existences stretched outwards, limitlessly, in indifference, seemingly converting all our life impulses (those possible states of communication, now attached to vanished faces) into mutilated life. We no longer had borders to experience, between us, any sort of differentiation at all. The only ones we could conceive were distant, virtually drawn by the mass media, those of Southern Europe, where the people of the Maghreb (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria) had flocked, were fighting, or had fought, to transcend their alienated condition. Standing across the street sign on Armand Thiriez street (that, for me, was actually, the neutralized image of Armand Thiriez) I thought about how we ought perhaps to rue that we could not experience our mechanical lives to the scale of those borders, brutal as they were. Who was Armand Thiriez? What would he become here? The exurban zone was marked by the permanence of the present in the future. We often longed for the past, but never for the future. We no longer imagined the border that would have propelled us toward a future of disruption, toward what Jameson calls ‘utopia,’ a radical rediscovery of our human condition; to date, never imagined, never felt. We were cut out for utopia as fish were for the high mountain. I understood at present why the street sign was linked in my mind to the radioactive plume. It represented the very material of our isolation, undetectable emissions that were spreading endlessly in space and time.

– Eric Chauvier, translated by Dorna Khazeni

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