Journal of Romance Studies

Shifting borders

Journal of Romance Studies (2011), 11, (1), 103–116.

Abstract

Borders, conceptual and physical, constantly shift. European concerns about migration issues lead to moveable borders: instead of a dissolution of internal borders in the Schengen area, European borders have become phantasmatic. In this article, the issue of borders is discussed, with reference to the work of French photographer Sophie Ristelhueber, which represents an important act of witnessing and of denouncing atrocities that are still linked to Europe’s colonial past, and to French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio’s novel Ritournelle de la faim (2008). The novel likewise contests the erasure of memory, and directly links the atrocities of World War II with slavery. Giorgio Agamben’s notion of ‘bare life’ offers a means of addressing the way in which shifting political and geographical borders dangerously slip into a shift from the human to the inhuman.

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Author details

de Medeiros, Paulo