AmeriQuests: Narrative, Law and Society is a forum for writing and research about real and metaphorical quests towards America, defined as either an absolute but unachievable objective, or as some place in the Americas. A peer-reviewed, multi-and inter-disciplinary e-journal, AmeriQuests: Narrative, Law and Society was founded by Robert Barsky to contribute in original and creative fashions to the law, the humanities and the social sciences in ways that promote social justice and humanistic studies. Contributions may focus on questions of dislocation, relocation, displacement, homelessness, American dreams and border crossings of all sorts, from the geographical and the social to the psychological. AmeriQuests: Narrative, Law and Society also features special issues, student issues, book reviews and discussion sections to add to its immediacy, its allure and its relevance. AmeriQuests: Narrative, Law and Society consciously interacts with the Law and Society movement, as well as work in literature and law, worldwide. Submissions are accepted on an on-going basis in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
Edited by Robert F. Barsky (Vanderbilt) and Marco Martiniello (FRS-FNRS & Université de Liège). Over the last years, artistic activities have found increasing interest among migration researchers because they prove to be a means of moving beyond ethnic differences towards narratives of identity and belonging that are more apt to capture the current post-migrant reality in many cities and countries. This issue contributes to that work by focusing on the cultural and artistic participation of migrants and descendants of migrants in a transatlantic perspective, and also on the spaces and the moments when this participation intersects with, and binds to, public forms of intercultural collective engagement, whether artistic, political, or both.Empirical and theoretical papers addressed some overriding questions, such as: what role do culture and the arts play in the lives of newcomers and descendants of migrants? Which cultural and artistic practices and forms of participation do newcomers and descendants of immigrants develop? How do cultural institutions take into account those publics often considered to be disengaged at the cultural and artistic level? Do these cultural practices contribute to creating bonds of solidarity between migrants and natives? And if so, what forms of political representation and collective engagement do they inspire? The papers included in this special issue present diverse but connected approaches to the broad themes of art and border crossings.
Photo by Robert Barsky -- Sculpture by Susan Clinard, who writes: "I am captivated by the weight that these small sculptural objects hold. I intentionally made them small scale so that they would be held in one’s palm and intimately reflected upon. The Talisman boats are quiet meditative sketches; with no oars, no sails… they glide through life with purpose and strength. Each boat is unique: as each person has a different story to tell and journey in front of them."
Edited by Robert Barsky (Vanderbilt University). Over the 15 years of its existence, AmeriQuests has evolved to address new challenges in the realm of border crossings. Along the way, we have become an important venue for book reviews of new works that describe the challenges facing vulnerable migrants as they seek protection across borders of all kinds, including geographical boundaries, the regions that exist between mental states, and the disciplinary boundaries that sometimes impede the transmission of useful knowledge. This has led us into the realms of art and culture, with the idea that we can often only go so far with judicial or policy solutions, and sometimes we need to look to shift deeply-held attitudes by fictional or symbolic representations. As such, we are creating a new Contours Collaboration space alongside of MIT's Knowledge Futures and PubPub. You can follow our progress at: (https://contours.pubpub.org)
AmeriQuests has also broadened its author base, and for this issue, we are featuring for the first time ever a collection of works written by advanced-level students. The quality of their work attests to the great potential of each of them, and speaks to the power of work being done by young authors.
The cover art was photographed at the Tate Modern Museum by Victoria Herring, and the subject matter is consistent with the aesthetic border-crossing work that AmeriQuests promotes. The piece, by Yinka Shonibare, consists of a huge room filled with thousands of books with the names of refugees who chose to seek protection in Britain, as well as the names of those who oppose immigration. Some of the book spines are blank too, suggesting the full refugee story is yet to be written.
Obstacles to Protection of Vulnerable Migrants offers a sweeping overview of current issues in border crossing through rigorous reviews of new scholarship and original work. Covering topics such as homelessness, refugee children, religion and migration, refugee camps, the law of asylum, refugees on the high seas and the pathways taken by vulnerable migrants seeking protection, this issue, edited by Robert F. Barsky, will serve as a valuable resource for researchers and practitioners who work with refugees, undocumented persons, and migration from legal, humanistic and social sciences perspectives. This marks the last issue that will be published under the banner of AmeriQuests as the journal prepares to move to a broader border-crossing mandate, under a new title of BorderQuests.
This issue, edited by Robert F. Barsky, features a broad array of border crossings, in narrative, literature, law and in geographical spaces all around the world. The genres, approaches and methods are as diverse as the problems named, and are tackled first by a major article by Thomas Spijkeboer that makes a provocative parallel between the irregularization and eviction of non-white in South Africa during the Apartheid, and the refugee policies carried out in Europe in recent times. Several researchers have also answered the call for 'commentaries', an effective way of interjecting critical voices at this juncture, when the rate of new policies and actions on borders worldwide seems to be moving at break neck (sometimes literally) speed. Finally, AmeriQuests is pursuing with vigor the task of reviewing recent and new works on border crossing, in part because of the urgency of issues discussed therein, and in part because of the lamentable dearth of venues for such reviews, particularly venues that are open access and easily accessible, worldwide. The image for this issue is part of an on-going effort to create Contours Collaborations, a new pubpub-based platform linked to AmeriQuests that features articles, stories, videos and commentaries devoted to the crossing of borders.