Thirteenth Biennial MESEA Conference
Moving Cultures, Moving Ethnicities

June 12-14, 2024
University of Eastern Finland
Joensuu Campus, Joensuu

Important Note

April 30 is the final registration deadline for presenters
A charge of 35 EUR will be levied on any reimbursements for cancellations
No reimbursements will be possible after May 1, 2024
Extra fee for late registration (after April 30; only non-presenters are allowed to register late): 30 EUR

Registration Options

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(payment of membership AND registration fees is MANDATORY if you are a presenter)
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(payment of membership AND registration fees is MANDATORY if you are a presenter)
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Conference Registration Form

Participants are kindly asked to inform the organizers for any special diets (LUNCHES and CONFERENCE DINNER) by using the form below by 24 May 2024.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • John McLeod (Leeds)
  • Anna-Leena Toivanen (UEF)
  • Atlantic Studies Lecture Tobias Skowronek (THGA)

Those of us who are “world”-travelers have the distinct experience of being different in different “worlds” and of having the capacity to remember other “worlds” and ourselves in them.

Maria Lugones, “Playfulness, ‘World’-Travelling, and Loving Perception” (1987)

We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.

Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing (2016)

The MESEA 2024 conference invites contributions that address the diverse layers, definitions, and ‘pathways’ of mobility, including the mobility of people from one place to another, crossings and intersections of cultures, and the formation of hybrid cultural forms. At the same time, mobility, border-crossings, and migration move people emotionally, either directly or through a wide range of cultural representations, and generate various emotional responses ranging from joy and relief to fear, loss and frustration. Affecting both those who travel, those who stay, and those encountered when journeying, such experiences are personal and collective, local and global, theoretical and empirical, and reveal the perplexing nature of mobility, whether this is voluntarily or involuntarily ventured.

This conference aims to look into the pluriform contact zones that form with regard to global mobility, and to further explore the ways migration affects experience in diverse ethnic and postcolonial contexts. We seek to examine questions such as:

  • How does mobility from the perspective of affect and lived experience shed light on the variety of modes and genres of (post-)migrant experiences? 
  • How are the experiences of displacement, forced migration, and other conditions of unfreedom represented in narrative?
  • How are narratives of mobility and migration formed and articulated historically?
  • To what degree do narratives of mobility contribute to the formation of transnational and translocal communities, and which narratives in various affective registers circulate within them?
  • In what ways are individual and collective memories of mobility (re)framed emotionally, for instance through expressions of melancholy, dissociation, grief, or vulnerability? 
  • How is the crossing of cultural borders and transculturation articulated in world literature, film, and performance art?
  • What kind of emergent and/or alternative cultural practices are connected with mobility? How do they challenge dominant notions of identity and belonging?

The 2024 MESEA Conference seeks to explore the diversity of the phenomenon in the nexus of culture, history, borders, and geopolitics. Potential paper and panel submissions can address but are not limited to topics such as follows:

  • nostalgia and narratives of return
  • narratives of forced migration, human trafficking, deportation, and transportation
  • trauma, displacement, and emplacement
  • Gothic journeys and uncanny spaces
  • tragedy, comedy, melodrama, and other genres of migration narratives
  • mourning, melancholia, and migration
  • activism, solidarity, consciousness raising
  • autobiography and memory
  • transforming and hybridizing cultural practices and texts
  • cosmopolitanisms
  • climate migration/mobility
  • home(-making) in migration
  • border communities
  • rebordering and debordering
  • gendered perspectives on mobility
  • the ethics and economics of migration
  • migration as an opportunity

Abstracts should be submitted to our website between August 15 and November 1519, 2023. Submitters will receive notification of acceptance by January 10, 2024.

Individual Proposal Submission
Paper proposals should include title and a brief abstract (max. 300 words). They should be submitted via the electronic form available on the Conference website. Please add a brief bio (max. 200 words), clearly marking your current affiliation.

Panel Proposal Submission
Panels should include 3-4 presenters (max. 2 from the same institution). Please include a short description of the panel (max. 150 words) and the abstracts with the contact information of the presenters.

Preference will be given to complete panel proposals with an inter/transdisciplinary and/or transnational focus. Panels may not include more than 2 participants from the same institution. Presenters are expected to be members of the association in 2024. MELUS members can also present their papers at the conference. Previous MESEA Conferences have led to high quality publications.

As in previous years, MESEA will award at least one Young Scholars Excellence Award.

The conference will be arranged as an onsite conference at UEF Joensuu Campus. Joensuu is located in Eastern Finland, ca. 400 kilometers north-east of Helsinki, in the region of Karelia, heartland of Finnish Romanticism. Joensuu can be reached by air and train from Helsinki. The city of Joensuu is the capital of the province of North Karelia in the Finnish borderlands. A lively location with 75,000 inhabitants, of whom many are students, the town is located amidst Finnish nature and attracts many tourists especially in the summer. The city has a good choice of excellent hotels and restaurants. and the price level is remarkably lower than in the capital region. Please read a recent traveller’s report.

MESEA wishes you heartily welcome to a further exciting event!

Joensuu 2024