CFP: Association for Borderlands Studies World Conference 2018

Marion Romberg Discussion

Association for Borderlands Studies World Conference 2018 – Call for Papers

After the success of the ABS 1st World Conference in 2014, The Association for Borderlands Studies is most pleased to announce the second event in this truly international conference series. The ABS 2nd World Conference is organized by the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna and hosted in Vienna and Budapest, 10th to 14th July 2018. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the dissolution of the Habsburg Empire, we invite proposals for individual papers, posters, complete panels, podium discussions and other interventions related to the interdisciplinary study of borders, border areas and cross-border interaction. The organizing theme for this Conference is:

Border-Making and its Consequences – interpreting evidence from the “post-Colonial” and “post-Imperial” 20th Century

Borders and borderlands are again at the centre of debate regarding global political, socio-cultural, economic and environmental tensions and conflicts – they also potentially offer spaces of negotiation and dialogue for their resolution. Global history however testifies to the fact that borderlands have frequently been a target of mistrust, precisely because they have been perceived as threatening – as ambiguous spaces of identity, allegiance, and historical memory. Attempts to eradicate borderlands have taken place through armed conflict, the ideological creation of the Cold War and other confrontational borders, the dismemberment of states, territorial shifts and, most drastically, ethnic cleansing.

The post-imperial experience of Europe, for example, raises numerous questions that relate to borders, identities and citizenship and, ultimately, migration. The dissolution of multinational empires such as the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman in the early 20th Century as well as the creation of new states and/or borders in Western Europe, such as Ireland, which inspired other subjects of colonial empires, were momentous historical events with far-reaching consequences far beyond Europe. However, one of the lessons that emerged from this experience is that nationalisms that insist on singular identities and cultural homogeneity are permanent sources of conflict. Whereas borders and the creation of new nation-states were considered a solution to war after WWI, subsequent events and the disaster of WWII have proved otherwise.

On the other hand, visions of a borderless world and post-Cold War “de-bordering” after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were also short-lived, a fact evidenced by the strong militarization of many borders worldwide and the emerging of a border industrial complex in Europe, North America, the Middle East and elsewhere. Borders and Borderlands are therefore also central to understanding the consequences of security policies and the control of mobility at the national, regional, and global levels: in terms of perceived understandings of security, borders represent an interface between domestic concerns and wider interstate and intercultural contexts. At the most basic, borders serve to protect national societies from external threats, real or imagined, while maintaining conditions for their economic sustainability. Beyond this, however, the functions and social significance of borders not only reflect the means in which security risks and challenges can be articulated and acted upon but also ethical questions of considerable importance.

Globally, conflicts over borders and territories are quite common in the post-colonial world, where bordering was a result of colonial policies ignoring historical and socio-political contexts. Still, borders are regarded as marks of national identity by state elites even in the post-colonial world, and any dilution of this is strongly resisted resulting in increasingly securitised borders also in the post-colonial world.

At this conference, attention will be centered on the historical and contemporary dynamics of border creation, border management and border shifting, as well as the consequences of these practices for the societies concerned. Borders delineate space, which both creates and reproduces order. We seek to gain deeper insight into the similarities and differences in the way borders are made around the world, as well as the forms and functions borders fulfil throughout time. We will also explore ethical questions that emerge from border politics and border-making. On a more visionary note, ABS World will consider borders and borderlands as spaces of encounter and plurality. Indeed, the possibility of pluralism, not as a collection of separate cultural realms as some could envision, but as a context where shared commitments, and not necessarily shared values, could allow for more inclusive understandings of community and more accommodating attitudes to multiculturalism and migration.

ABS World is open to contributions that critically discuss consequences of border politics and border-making. We particularly encourage papers that engage with the following issues:

  • Post-Colonial borders and post-Imperial borders: issues and challenges
  • Transborder communities, regional identity and placemaking
  • Cross-border regions in an era marked by resurgent nationalisms
  • Cross-border cooperation and regional integration
  • Cross-border environmental concerns, climate change
  • Border related violence: militarization of borders, migration, crime
  • Border economics
  • The border-industrial complex
  • Border urbanization and metropolization
  • Border governance and institutions
  • Right wing populism and the re-bordering of Europe
  • End of History – return of Geopolitics?
  • Identity politics, “United in Diversity” – internal bordering of societies
  • Global capitalism and borders
  • Borders and multiculturalism
  • New borders at sea: access to raw materials
  • Borders as a resource for political innovation
  • Visual, cultural and artistic approaches towards borders and migration

Please submit your panel/podium discussion/other proposals online until the 15th of August; you do not have to include a final list of participants yet. Submitting abstracts will be possible between August 21st and September 30th. In case you want to participate in one of our special programs, please take note that the deadlines may differ depending on the respective organizer. You may also be required to submit your paper to the organizer for approval before uploading it to the website.

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