Writing Resistance and the Figure of the Trespasser

Circuits of permission and prohibition have long regulated human mobility, but ever more so today in an increasingly portable and checkpointed world system. In this presentation, I consider the recent literary and cultural representation of mobility with particular reference to those funnels and fictions of sanctioned motion in which only selected subjects – the 'good' immigrant, the compliant arrivant, et al. – are certified as legitimate. What happens when those figures granted leave to remain in the ambiguous environs of neoliberal consumption refuse to accept the prefabricated constraints of their compliance? How might their uncommissioned behaviour refuse the ever-shifting line between licensed and illegitimate life? Or in other words: what happens when we trespass beyond the lines that tell us where, and who, we are meant to be? I will explore the ways in which recent literary and cultural texts are mobilising this figure of the 'trespasser', as I term it, in order to ask critical questions about the extent to which the predominant constraints of transpersonal relations can be effectively exposed, challenged, and firmly resisted by those who appear to refuse their readied place.

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