The British Comparative Literature Association organises a triennial international conference series. The 2013 conference, the BCLA XIII International Conference on Migration, was held at the University of Essex between 8–11 July 2013.

Hosted by the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex, keynote speakers included Rosi Braidotti (University of Utrecht), Michael Cronin (Dublin City University), Abdelfattah Kilito (University of Rabat), Maria Tatar (Harvard University), and Marina Warner (University of Essex), who delivered the Presidential Address.

In collaboration with the British School at Rome and the Society for Libyan Studies, and sponsored by the British Academy, the Conference also included a dedicated strand of panels, readings, and performances entitled Through Dido’s Eyes: The Arab Spring in Literature and the Arts. This strand was presided by the figure of the Queen of Carthage, known in the Arab world as Elissa, called Dido by Virgil in the Aeneid. A refugee, exile, woman, ruler, builder, she offers a symbol of the complexity of northern Africa and the intercon-nectedness of the Mediterranean. The aim was to create new links between BASIS institutions and the Arab world, and to explore with colleagues from the areas affected by the Arab Spring some of the cultural resonance of this remarkable historical moment.

Selected papers from the Conference will be published in the forthcoming special issues of Comparative Critical Studies, the house journal of the BCLA, and Middle Eastern Literatures, published by Taylor & Francis.

Watch an interview made with Professor Marina Warner, the President of the BCLA, on the XIII International Conference on Migration:

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