“Flotsam of Humanity”: Bodies, Borders, and Futures Deferred

  • Mike Lehman
Part of the Studies in Mobilities, Literature, and Culture book series (SMLC)


In this chapter I read Caroline Bergvall’s poetry collection Drift, the image of Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body on the shoreline, and Malika Mokeddem’s novel The Forbidden Woman to enact a timely shift in our conceptions of the temporality and tactility of the border. I ask what meanings we can gather by relocating our perception of temporality and community from the nation-state to the border and if we can draw upon alternative conceptions of citizenship from the literary imaginary. I offer that we can take the border rather than the bounded nation-space as the conceptual matrix of political and humanitarian citizenship. I claim that the border is a generative and creative space, and conceptualizing rights and citizenship from the border allows us to begin to untangle the problematics of the denial of mobility based on affiliations to region or nation.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Lehman
    • 1
  1. 1.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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