A proposed panel for the American Studies Association conference, Hartford, CT, October 16-19, 2003:
This panel calls for interdisciplinary investigations of violent global migrations and their consequences for migrant health. Violence may accompany most border crossings, but it particularly characterizes forced migration of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and illegal and labor migrants. In this instance, the violence of displacement and dispossession due to social upheavals, civil wars, ethnic clashes, or economic need is accompanied by the violence of acculturation and experiences of identity loss, marginalization, disempowerment, stereotyping, or discrimination. Traumatic violent disruptions of forced uprootedness and acculturation leave marks on migrant bodies and undoubtedly affect the health of the migrant population. This panel examines connections between violent migrations and migrant health by raising the following questions:
How do violent border crossings and identity loss speak through bodies of traumatized migrants?
To what extent do and should host countries invest in migrant medicine and insist on healing as a part of the process of construction of new citizenry?
What are the challenges of migrant medicine, and what are the difficulties of providing health care to those of different cultural practices and beliefs?
The panel welcomes presentations dealing with specific texts, cases, and ethnic groups, as well as broader theoretical, social, and historical engagements.
Papers may include but are not limited to the following topics:
Migrant illness narratives
Psychosomatic symptoms of homesickness and acculturative / postimmigration stress
Gender, mourning, and melancholy migrants
Grieving processes and “embarrassing” ethnic emotionalism
The role of narrative, memory, and “talking cures” in traumatized communities; how do communities heal?
Social integration of dis-eased alien bodies
Self-help for migrants in distress
Education, economic power, and migrant health
Western vs. traditional healing practices – a test of allegiance?
Providing health care across cultures and religious beliefs: establishing trust between a health care provider and a traumatized alien; cultural perceptions and translations of pain; effective negotiations between culturally specific health treatments
Please send a 1 page abstract and a short vita by January 15 to the email address listed.
Santa Barbara, CA
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