Ex-Centric Migrations: Europe and the Maghreb in Mediterranean Cinema, Literature, and Music

Ex-Centric Migrations: Europe and the Maghreb in Mediterranean Cinema, Literature, and Music

Ex-Centric Migrations: Europe and the Maghreb in Mediterranean Cinema, Literature, and Music

Ex-Centric Migrations: Europe and the Maghreb in Mediterranean Cinema, Literature, and Music

Synopsis

Ex-Centric Migrations examines cinematic, literary, and musical representations of migrants and migratory trends in the western Mediterranean. Focusing primarily on clandestine sea-crossings, Hakim Abderrezak shows that despite labor and linguistic ties with the colonizer, migrants from the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) no longer systematically target France as a destination, but instead aspire toward other European countries, notably Spain and Italy. In addition, the author investigates other migratory patterns that entail the repatriation of emigres. His analysis reveals that the films, novels, and songs of Mediterranean artists run contrary to mass media coverage and conservative political discourse, bringing a nuanced vision and expert analysis to the sensationalism and biased reportage of such events as the Mediterranean maritime tragedies.

Excerpt

The topic of clandestine mig me to write Ex-Centric Migrations and several articles and book chapters. the theme of clandestine migration has been a crucial part of my scholarship and inspired my work in the fine arts. One of my paintings, Burning the Sea, appears on the cover of this volume. the work illustrates the major topic of the book, namely, the concept of “burning,” a Maghrebi term for clandestine migration, which the painting presents in a literal as well as a figurative fashion.

When Ex-Centric Migrations was in its last stage of production, the maritime tragedies of 2015 occurred, in which thousands of individuals attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Some of the journeys were successful, but many overloaded boats capsized and individuals drowned. These events were named “the refugee crisis” and designated as “Europe’s biggest humanitarian crisis since wwii.” Although this book examines the Western Mediterranean (migrations from Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, mostly to France, Spain, and Italy), many of its ideas and conclusions apply to the refugee crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. the attention and reactions the phenomenon has garnered is similar to the ways in which the Western Mediterranean migrations have been internationally received, with the same broad themes at work: identity politics, nativism, globalism, Islamophobia, and “clash of civilizations” mind-set. There are major similarities in the coverage of clandestine crossings by mass media and the many political reactions and discourses that have ensued. Although to date— with the exception of Turkish writer Hakan Günday’s novel Encore about human trafficking, which won the prestigious Le Prix Médicis du roman étranger in 2015—there are not yet cinematic, literary, and musical accounts of the recent Middle Eastern refugee tragedies, Ex-Centric Migrations may serve as a valuable resource for future comparative studies. Indeed, both Syria and Tunisia have experienced an unprecedented exodus of individuals ensuing the Arab Spring and the resultant regional chaos. Furthermore, because of shared languages (mostly Arabic) among the Western and Eastern Mediterranean migrants and refugees, common exclusionary, anti-immigration politics from the West, and a war that has caused a strong enough sense of despair to lead individuals to flee regardless of the risks of drowning, this book provides a study that helps understand the refugee crisis—its causes, its consequences, how the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea is translated into mass media, and the political ramifications when it . . .

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