Webinar Series 1:
‘Invisible Bodies: Refugees, Undocumented Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Canadian Literature’
Date: 20 November, 2020 (Friday)
Title: Invisible Bodies: Refugees, Undocumented Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Canadian Literature
Speaker: Srilata Ravi (University of Alberta)
In response to public discourse on refugees, asylum seekers and the undocumented migrants which oscillates between two opposing positions, “humanitarian compassion” and “securitarian anxiety” (Sanyal 2019)1, how do Canadian literary representations of migrant experiences imagine detained and refuge seeking bodies? How far do these texts go to challenge neo-liberal celebrations of refugee resilience? Do these texts interrogate the very foundations of the legal and political categories used to label them? Or, is the body of the “literary” refugee merely an aesthetic signifier to render visible the invisible to a curious readership as a way of ethical compensation? Works by Canadian writers, Lawrence Hill, Sharon Bala and Kim Thúy will be examined to consider these questions.