Border Narratives: Brexit, Europe, and the UK

Kirsten Sandrock's picture
May 6, 2020 to May 8, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Nationalism History / Studies, British History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies


Borders have played a decisive role in the Brexit referendum. The decision to leave or remain in the EU was often framed in the national media as a border referendum, and political scientists agree that the vote gives evidence to widespread public opposition to open border policies in the UK. The conference Border Narratives: Brexit, Europe, and the UK seeks to shed light on this issue from a literary and cultural studies perspective. We are particularly interested in investigating narratives of borders in relation to Brexit and the ways in which recent border debates interact with greater historical, cultural, and epistemological border stories.

Guiding conference questions are: How are the UK's borders negotiated in literary and cultural works? Is there a particular border aesthetics in recent works of art? How do material, political, geophysical, and economic contexts feature in border narratives? And, vice versa, how do border narratives become relevant for larger political, economic, and ideological contexts? Where can the field of border studies help theorizing border narratives in Europe and the UK, and where are other tools necessary for this particular context?

Contributions may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Brexit and borders
  • The Irish border
  • Euroscepticism and border arts
  • Theoretical approaches to UK borders
  • Border aesthetics
  • Migration and bordering processes
  • Rebordering and new nationalism
  • The British Empire and its border legacies

Please send proposals (abstracts of approx. 300 words) together with a short biographical note by 31 July 2019 to the conference convenors:

Lars Klein, University of Goettingen:

Kirsten Sandrock, University of Göttingen:

Contact Info: 

Kirsten Sandrock:

Lars Klein: