During the last two decades, critical scholars in gender, migration and post-colonial studies have been engaged in attempting to dislodge the figure of the sex trafficking victim from its position of primacy in public, policy and academic debates. The body of work that stresses the agency and rights of migrant women in the sex sector has put forward a convincing critique of the passive and enslaved trafficking victim and has replaced the latter with the figures of the active migrant and the political protagonist. Despite such a shift, however, the figure of the trafficking victim continues to dominate public and policy arenas. In this talk, Rutvica Andrijašević is interested in the persistence of the figure of the victim and suggest that that this figure is not a ‘free-floating’ one but rather produced through specific codes and conventions. These issues, I argue, become visible by bringing to the fore the nexus among sexuality, gender and narrative. By building on feminist scholarship on sexuality and representation in film, visual media studies and historical studies of East/West Europe, Andrijašević explores the ways in which representations are embedded within narrative tropes and discursive constructions about women’s sexuality that are culturally and historically specific.
The Colonial Legacy Conference examined the colonial and post-colonial heritage of the Treaty of Utrecht and assessed its legacy in contemporary scholarship on human trafficking, in the study of cultural memories of historical traumas, in practices of reconciliation and in popular culture.