FLIGHT – Border – Integration: a Colloquium Series on the Phenomenon of Displacement in Europe in conjunction with Villa Vigoni

The first colloquium in the series created by MIS in conjunction with ‘Villa Vigoni’ tackles the topic of FLIGHT and its connection to border and integration from a literary and philosophical perspective.

The concept of “displacement” has had a lasting effect on the French post-war philosophy, from Lacan to Barthes, from Derrida to Deleuze. This concept, in turn, is based on Freud’s theory of displacement, which, in its origin, behaves like a “traveling concept” in the sense of Mieke Bal. Its further differentiation in American anthropology, with the displacement sometimes transformed from an ideology of difference into one of indifference, opens the opportunity for a series of colloquium to build the European notion of tradition and to conceptualize it conceptually for the theme of the confernce.

Within the semantic and conceptual framework of displacement, the motive of flight will be the first subject of closer analysis. The current migration crisis suggests the need to reflect on forms of “narrative identity” (Paul Ricoeur, 1990) of dislocated people and on the “condition of exile” (Alexis Nouss, 2015) and less on migration in phenomenological terms. Because it is on the uniqueness of each fate on which in the course of our first colloquium the focus should be placed, with special consideration of questions which move in the field of literature, art, history and philosophy. People on the run are primarily subjects of a search in which they have to overcome resistance and are dependent on support; they are people with very different experiences, abilities and competences, with different emotions (fears, hopes, resignations), and therefore they are above all: individuals. The phenomenon of flight is also part of a general social development in which everything seems to flow-  as an expression of that “fluid society” (Bauman) thaton one handdrives the exchange of people and goods, but on the other gives the feeling that, through the construction of new geographic and mentalboundaries, limitsto the globalization’s desire for a global understanding between nations are existing, which endon walls that are being built at the national branch offices and in the minds of the people.

The presentations (30 minutes with a 15-minute discussion) are based on the following priorities:

– Literature:

The discursiveness of flight can reveal the contents of the unspoken, for example, the flight from Egypt (Paul Ricoeur 1997), as far as the symbolic memory of flight and expulsion and the desire for hospitality, is constitutive. However, questions should generally be dealing with the prerequisites and the literary treatment and processing of this theme in history, while considering the present status quo. When and why is literature interested in this topic? Who is interested and to whom is it addressed? Which aesthetic means do the texts use in their description? And what knowledge and / or ignorance about flight, its motivation, movement and its goal, is in them and / or is mediated by them?

– Art and history:

Thematically relevant in these areas are, inter alia: the flight of Greek writers from Constantinople before the persecution of the Ottomans (1453), the “emigrants” during the French Revolution, the states and homeless in the context of the Russian Revolution; the flight as a result of the aesthetic-ideological expulsion (e.g. the so-called degenerate art in the Nazi period); the cartoonists and photojournalists in the course of the current Muslim debate, etc.

– Philosophy:

For the theoretical foundation of the topic and as a contribution to the philosophy of flight, one can among other relate to Hannah Arendt’s essay We Refugees (1943) or to Giorgio Agamben’s relevant works, although further connection possibilities can be taken to Esther Peeren (The Spectral metaphor, 2014) in order to discuss the question of whether and to what extent refugees as worldly phantasms and ghosts are voice-borne without voice, which “damage” our comfort zone (Derrida, Specters de Marx, 1993).

Project coordinators

Luxembourg: Dieter Heimböckel, Nathalie Roelens, Christian Wille
Villa Vigoni: Matteo Scotto

Project secretary and contact

Christabel Marrama (


Downloads: Programm FLIGHT at Villa Vigoni