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CANCELED – The Invisible “Jungle” of Calais: Migration & Photography at the Borders of Europe

September 19 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


** Due to storm impacts from Hurricane Florence, this event has been canceled. We hope to reschedule this public lecture to a future date.**

In 2016, the British funded the construction of a thirteen-foot-high and half-mile-long anti-intrusion barrier in Calais, France. The “Great Wall of Calais”, that cost three million dollars and disfigures the dune landscape surrounding the port, is only one element in a large array of security infrastructures transforming this region over the past fifteen years.  Once more this city is a chokepoint for thousands of migrants; on the front-lines of the debate over those fleeing conflicts in the Middle-East, East and North Africa, or seeking a better life.

On the occasion of a photo exhibition in the John Hope Franklin Center Gallery, this panel discussion with a photographer and a cultural anthropologist will consider the social challenges and consequences of migration by exploring the methods used to deter migrants from coming to Calais and prevent them from crossing to Britain.  A series of photographs, 2017-2018, will be at the heart of the discussion, images that render visible the materialization of hardline immigration policies at the border between Europe and Brexit-land.   Panelists will address migration in the North of France to shed light on political developments in the region.  At issue is thinking about life in places where barbed wired fences, watchtowers, flooded zones bar the horizon, and police brutality is a daily affair.   The photo exhibition will also be presented in the context of the interdisciplinary project, in Transit, and this fall’s campus-wide set of exhibits that introduce a history and arts of migration around Europe.

Eric Leleu is an independent photographer who lives in Guesnain, France. After working for twelve years as a photographer and photojournalist in Shanghai, Leleu returned to France in 2017 where he’s presently concentrating on immigration and farming.  His earlier work addressed urban life, use of public space and politics in China, appearing in The New York Times, The Guardian, Wirtschaft Woche, Madame Figaro, Le Monde, and Courrier International.

Vincent Joos is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University. His research focuses on urban planning, informal economies and post-disaster reconstruction in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. More broadly, he is interested in the history of French and formerly French port-cities such as Cap Haitian, New Orleans, Natchez, Bordeaux, and Calais. Both Leleu and Joos are from the Hauts-de-France and have documented their region since the early 2000s.

Helen Solterer is Professor of French literature and culture, and co-convenor of the In Transit project, with Elvira Vilches, in the Romance Studies Dept.  Her most recent writing and teaching investigate the longue durée of pre-modern Francophone fictions:  theater, graphic narrative, historical chronicle, including the sieges of Calais. She is currently at work on a multi-media book on the subject.

This presentation is sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center and the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies. A light lunch will be served. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks. The series provides 1-hour parking vouchers to guests.


September 19
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Catherine Angst


Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall
2204 Erwin Rd. Room 240
Durham, NC 27708 United States
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