CfP 14.1 Automated Precarity

CFP TRANSIT Journal: Volume 14.1

2022-2023: Automated Precarity 

In light of ongoing adversities facing migrant communities – climate disasters that displace millions, the automation of production, and political systems that precipitate flight – we invite projects and papers that engage with precarity in its material, social, and aesthetic forms. No longer seen as anomalies but rather as the status quo, governmental and commercial enterprises have begun taking a data-driven approach to law and border enforcement (the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting reports on the power and influences of these surveillance technologies in an ongoing series called Tracked). Given that algorithms and data now determine the life paths of so many refugees, technology and digital media studies may offer us a productive lens through which to interrogate anxieties and hopes around Flucht (flight and refuge). 

We invite papers that examine the effects of digitization, automatization, and Technisierung on transnational flows of bodies, thought, and language – patterns of movement and migration; geographies of diaspora; and forms through which migrant populations express their experiences. How do increasingly complex and pervasive structures of surveillance reinform notions of precarity, an increasingly important concept in studies of the material and affective conditions surrounding inequality, particularly as it relates to labor, migration, and biopolitics? How might a focus on precarious technologies (i.e. automated structures that embody precarity within their framework and intensify the precaritization of migration/refugee populations) disentangle and elucidate dichotomies such as human vs. non-human, victim vs. agent, vulnerable vs. resistant, included vs. excluded? How might the rhetorical framing of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrations reinforce or resist technologically-imbricated structural inequalities that contribute to processes of (dis)connection, (im)mobility, and ex/inclusion?  

Some potential topics might include:

  1. Automated surveillance, border policing and criminal justice in refugee/migration experiences 
  2. Ecocritical migration studies projects that reconsider the relationship between the human, natural and technological 
  3. The connection between technology and (im)mobility, e.g. the 9 Euro Ticket, multimillion dollar infrastructure investments 
  4. Automated storytelling techniques, e.g. recursive storytelling in video games, AI-generated texts, social media
  5. Feminist practices in (studies of) digital literature
  6. Glitch, malfunction, Störungen and other forms of (culture) shock in literary texts 
  7. Topics that engage with any of these issues in the context of TRANSIT’s ongoing focus on travel, migration, and multilingualism.

While we are mainly interested in papers that engage with literature, film, and/or aesthetics, we also welcome papers that cross intellectual boundaries in their approach to literary studies, reticulating ideas from economics, engineering, media studies, psychology, migration studies, philosophy, geography, and the digital humanities.

Given the digital focus of this issue, we are also soliciting projects that embrace TRANSIT’s capabilities as a digital publication, such as photo or video essays. We encourage contributors to freely engage with the media practices that are available to scholars and artists alike.

The deadline for English- and German-language submissions is January 13, 2023. Please see our submission guidelines and send submissions to and CC the co-managing editors  (Elizabeth Sun) and (Sean Lambert). 

Articles outside the scope of this CfP that engage with TRANSIT’s focus on migration, multilingualism, and transnational studies will continue to be reviewed on a rolling basis.