Please join us for the next LVL seminar! Next Wednesday 10 November October (4:30-6pm UK time) we have Utrecht University’s Susanne Ferwerda presenting ‘The Waves, the Ocean: Borders, Boats and Refugee Bodies in Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains’.
Abstract: No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (2018), Behrouz Boochani’s fictocritical account of the Australian border detention regime, is based on his journey across the ocean and incarceration in an ‘offshore detention facility’ on Manus Island, between 2013 and 2019. This seminar is concerned with the ocean in Boochani’s text as a part of the “Paradox / A landscape of contradictions” (314) he describes in his retelling and critique of Australian border politics and the colonialist fiction that underlies Australian sovereignty. The paradoxical relationship between the invisibility of offshore detention and the simultaneous hypervisiblity of refugees in Australian politics encourages a system of exclusion and deterrence that uses the inaccessibility of oceanscapes to exclude people seeking refuge. In response, I ask: How do narratives like Boochani’s call upon oceanscapes to investigate the tension between oceanic border control and Australia’s settler colonial past and present?
Susanne Ferwerda is a Lecturer in Comparative Literature at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She recently completed a PhD in English at the University of Tasmania, Australia. Her research focuses on the environmental and blue humanities, postcolonial and anticolonial theory, Oceanic (Australia/Pacific) contemporary art and literature, Indigenous studies, feminist theory and animal studies. Themes and areas of particular importance are the Pacific Ocean, extinction, migration, (de)nuclearization, and extractive (settler) colonial economies.