The Shelter of Prophets: A journey within autonomous migration networks
Autonomy of Migration , Édouard Glissant , Carceral State , poetry , cross-border solidarity , borderlands , autoethnographic fiction , cultural probes
This MA thesis is a creative and poetic examination of everyday relationships and moments of cross-border solidarity taking place within informal autonomous mobility networks. It argues that in the connections and habits developed and nurtured through everyday moments of solidarity between individuals in borderlands reside a transformative potential for alternative possibilities of being in the world. Informed by interdisciplinary scholarship, including theories of the Autonomy of Migration, the Carceral State, and Édouard Glissant’s pensée du tremblement, I developed a research project based on collaborative autoethnographic (non)fiction and arts-based methodologies. For this project, I exchanged a series of three letters with each of seven participants, who all had significant experiences of cross-border solidarities from vastly different perspectives. Each letter was prompted by creative exercises (cultural probes) designed in a story-making structure to support a safe exploration of life experiences through the use of symbols and metaphors. The images, stories, reflections, and experiences that emerged from this epistolary process were then translated and layered together in order to create the first sections of a hybrid (non)fiction creative text called The Shelter of Prophets. This thesis includes the critical framework which informed the project, a detailed survey of the methodology, and the manuscript of the first sections of The Shelter of Prophets. This manuscript will transport the readers in a journey through a collection of borderland experiences, with the hopes to breach fixed binary thinking, expand social and geographical imaginations, and nurture a more complex and intimate understanding of lives in borderlands.