Workshops

The series consists of five thematically linked workshops in which young and established scientists from Germany, France and Luxembourg participate. The workshops each focus on a specific aspect of the analysis of Border Complexities and are intended to further develop a less noticed trend in border research.

The workshops will take place in 2019-2021 at the locations of the partner universities, four of which are located in a geographical border area. The French-German, French-Luxembourgian, German-Polish and German-Danish border locations will be used to illustrate and deepen the themes of the workshops.

Borders as Border Complexities

Workshop, December 5/6, 2019
University of Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette

The workshop functions as the start of the networking project and deepens the shared understanding of the scientific topic. It draws from the understanding that borders do not manifest themselves through the unambiguous setting of dichotomous orders, the unambiguous separation of only a few actors, or on the territorial periphery of national societies. In recent border studies, borders are rather understood as results and crystallization points of multi-layered formations resulting from the (situational) interaction of different actors, activities, bodies, objects, knowledge.

This understanding of boundaries, which is based on complexity and relationality, will be the foundation of the kick-off workshop. Building on this, the extent to which current concepts of border studies support this research perspective and what implications this will yield for research action will be discussed. On the first day, four lecturers will discuss central analytical trends in Border Studies and the concept of complexity, followed by reflections on methodological questions. On the second day, three lecturers will present their own research work, which follows the border complexity perspective. The aim is to concretize the considerations from the first day by means of empirical examples and to sensitize them to the various aspects of Border Complexities analysis, which will be further elaborated and discussed in the following workshops.

Working languages: German, French, and English with simultaneous interpretation into English

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Location
University of Luxembourg – Maison des Sciences Humaines (MSH)
Black Box (GL)
11, porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette

How to access Belval Campus

Contact
Nicole Holzapfel-Mantin (nicole.holzapfel-mantin at uni.lu) and Christian Wille

Logics of dis/order of Border Complexities

Workshop, June 25 and 26, 2020
European University Viadrina

The workshop picks up on the understanding of border complexities developed in the first workshop. Here, borders are to be regarded as processual and complex formations in connection with social orders: Borders and orders are thought together, because to draw borders means to create order – or disorder. At the same time, the relationship between border and social dis/order is ambivalent insofar as borders form the foundation of social orders, but also emerge from them. While borders stabilize orders, they also shift and question them. In the workshop, we want to take a closer look at the interwoven processes of ordering and drawing boundaries.

In terms of content, we work out the logics of the dis/orders via three central questions, which structure the course of the workshop:

  1. The question of complex actor constellations, practices and discourses of drawing boundaries and the associated logics and regulatory structures of ordering.
  2. The question of the complex tension between different orders and their borders.
  3. The question of the spaces in between or liminal spaces of boundaries and orders.

During the afternoon of day one, four presentations will explore the question of complex actor constellations, practices and discourses of the drawing of boundaries as well as the logics and regulatory structures of order associated with them. This will help us to understand to what extent borders and orders are interwoven and how they are produced.

On the morning of the second day, four lectures will examine the complex tension between different orders and their boundaries. Thus, national borders and orders consist of a complex mix of social, cultural, legal, economic and knowledge-based border and order formations. In addition to the nation state with its political-territorial borders, the EU and transnational economic systems also form order-creating formations that can conflict with national rights and social orders. We want to analyse the extent to which orders and their borders exist in parallel or overlap and strengthen or weaken each other.

After lunch, we will to engage in four additional presentations concerning the spaces in between or liminal spaces that arise from contradictions and conflicts along different border order dynamics and – partly unintentionally – can create disorder and insecurity, but also new orders and borders. People at borders are often forced to wait, which renders the planning of one’s own future uncertain. (This can give rise to practices of resistance and border shifting, which in turn can transform social order.)

Spatialities & networks

Workshop, November 26 and 27, 2020
University of Lorraine, Metz

This workshop focuses on the spatial dimension of boundaries and border experiences. Increased attention is paid to the interplay between real border topographies and their symbolic construction and production. Border structures at the intersection of geographically and historically precisely locatable places on the one hand and semiotics and narratives on the other are examined, which ascribe particular meaning to border spaces or border crossings. The focus is also on intersections between open-dynamic versus closed spatial structures, contemporary forms of cross-border mobility, and dynamics of regionalization and localization under the conditions of globalization. The contributions will bring together the perspectives of geographers, historians, linguists, cultural scientists and literary scholars.

Temporalities and change

Workshop, June 7 to 9, 2021
Organised by the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris
Workshop location: Villa Vigoni, German-Italian Centre for European Excellence, Menaggio, Italy

The fourth workshop explicitly deals with the historical conditionality and historical growth of Border Complexities and thus intends giving the project a special historical depth.

Border research is currently based on a rough chronological grid that can be briefly described as follows: In the Middle Ages and early modern period, porous, scarcely marked borders dominate, which often more resemble fringes rather than lines. In the 18th century, also fueled by new methods of demarcation and border marking (surveying, cartography), the emergence of linear, clearly marked and materialized borders began, which in the 19th and 20th centuries were to become a signum of the nation states.

A far-reaching dismantling of borders, at least in material terms, currently follows this peak time of borders, at least in the Western world. That this chronology has shortcomings becomes clear when looking at the global West, where borders are now gaining new importance.

The objective of this workshop is to combine historical investigations of Border Complexities with contemporary perspectives and to find a common level of reflection. The discussions will be split up into two parts: Initially, four historical contributions will present examples of the historical transformation of different border practices. In the second part, however, traces of history in current border situations and how to deal with them will be discussed.

References

Christophe Duhamelle (2018): La frontière au village. Une identité catholique allemande au temps des Lumières. Paris.

Andreas Rutz (2018): Die Beschreibung des Raums. Territoriale Grenzziehungen im Heiligen Römischen Reich. Köln, Weimar, Wien, Böhlau.

Materialities and corporalities

Workshop, December 2 and 3, 2021
European University of Flensburg

In the concluding workshop, materialities and corporalities of boundaries are in the foreground.

Border Complexities materialize through the performative interaction of discourses, activities, bodies, knowledge, which in turn can be examined separately as materiality. Interweaving these constituents allows merging of the material and the symbolic dimension and appears to be productive here. Objects, for example, should not be thought of as silent or passive participants in border (de)stabilizations, but as active and performative actors. They can have a disciplining effect, but they can also evoke acts of subversion. Bodies can also be addressed as carriers or actors of border (de)stabilizations. Through them and the corporalities linked to them, phenomena come into view that are related to media representations and classification practices, but also to phenotypic marks, biometric techniques of power or traumas.

Many of these aspects will initially be clarified and discussed on the first day by lectures on the representation of materialities and physicalities of Border Complexities in literature and subsequently in the sense of cultural spatial condensations of these. On the second day, lectures and discussions will be devoted to the digital-medial materialities and corporalities of Border Complexities.