DEADLINE February 8th 2024

In 2015 and 2016, the European ‘migration crisis’ saw the active involvement of journalists, scholars, and activists in documenting the border repression that characterized migratory journeys on the continent. Iconic images come to mind, such as people arriving by inflatable dinghies and living in makeshift camps, alongside the deployment of increasingly complex bordering infrastructures. Over time, these images have gradually faded, and media attention has shifted from the Mediterranean to other crises.
Nevertheless, migration from the Global South to Europe persists until today. This ongoing process gives rise to distinct material manifestations and traces, ranging from highly militarized border infrastructures to objects left behind on migration journeys and the life worlds of illegalized migrants residing in Europe and so-called ‘transit countries.’ Despite the growing scholarly interest in the social, political, and cultural sciences, the materiality of this phenomenon still tends to be under-researched, even in archaeology.
Therefore, this panel foregrounds the often-hidden material dimensions of illegalized migration through a transdisciplinary lens. The aim is to explore and discuss the multifaceted material realities faced and produced by migrants as they engage with territorial borders and various economic sectors while seeking refuge and a way to subsist. Our inquiry necessarily crosses formal-informal boundaries, such as between official refugee camps and informal settlements, as we seek to highlight the (material) infrastructures through which migrants’ presences are actively differentiated, bounded, and governed.
For this purpose, the session will bring together scholars from diverse disciplines, addressing less visible stages of contemporary migration from a material perspective. On the one hand, we invite case studies examining the material manifestations of contemporary migration. On the other hand, we look for methodological and theoretical contributions, fostering discussions and ethical reflections on the complexities of studying lived material cultures from an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective.

Keywords: Migration, Materiality, Migrant Labour, Bordering Infrastructures, Migratory
Journeys, Contemporary Archaeology


Johannes Jungfleisch (Ruhr University Bochum/ReForm) 

Timothy Raeymaekers (University of Bologna)


Submission by February 8, 2024:

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