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Call for Papers: Borders and Frontiers: A Contemporary Interdisciplinary Exploration

22-23 June 2016, in association with The Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of  London

“What we have come to call a globalized world harbors fundamental tensions between opening and barricading, fusion and partition, erasure and reinscription.  These tensions materialize as increasingly liberalized borders, on the one hand, and the devotion of unprecedented funds, energies, and technologies to border fortification, on the other.” (Wendy Brown (2010), Walled States, Waning Sovereignty, p. 7-8).

While Brown is specifically discussing walls and physical barriers in her book, what is clear from this introductory quote is the tension between borders and frontiers, or openings and closings in our contemporary world. This conference seeks to interrogate these concepts in an interdisciplinary manner, asking: what is a border, what is a frontier, and are they the same thing?  Looking to space, the body, economics, sovereignty, citizenship and genealogy, this conference will examine these similar yet connotationally different terms through the lense of our world today.

We invite papers and art practice responding to the following themes:

Space:

While Space has been called the final frontier, an unbounded place of potential and possibility, the movement of sovereign and commercial interests beyond our globe raises questions about the extension of borders in a postglobal moment. A study into the ambiguity of sovereignty and power in outer space is something that must be considered as we reach into the abyss and push our frontiers, and borders, further.

Body:

In a post- and trans humanist moment, explosion of norms and the transgression of gendered, sexual, and bodily boundaries has become prevalent. Is there truth to the discourse of infinite possibilities or is this simply a chimera manifesting technologies which play into the hands of neo-liberal governmentality?

Economy:

Borders and frontiers are becoming increasingly blurred and simultaneously clarified today. The liquidity of capital has increased, while each country raises a wall to protect its labour. Moreover, economic disparity is widening, causing politics to move in radical directions. What is the meaning of a border and frontier in the contemporary political economy?

Citizenship:

People have been forced to leave their country and become refugees throughout the history of humanity.  The displacement of refugees from outside of and within Europe since World War One has never ceased. Borders and citizenships are the foundational notions of mass human movements. Has Europe opened frontiers for possibilities of citizenship, or does the current situation demonstrate the fantasy of the idea of open movement of peoples that Europe was founded on.

Genealogy:

The history of demarcation brings us back to antiquity, where the realms of the sacred and the profane, good and evil, public and private, inside and outside, were strongly separated. Modern cartographical representation and institutional understanding of the border as a line has reduced the complexity of the concept of border. Walls enhance the spectacle of borders and their performative ritual of expulsion. Can walls and borders be conceived within an ‘epistemic’ framework, and as producers of time and space in contemporary global capitalism?

This interdisciplinary conference is open to artists and academics interested in interrogating and contesting concepts of borders and frontiers. We welcome applications for presentations and video/art practice responses to the above themes, in particular from MA, Phd and early career academics and artists.

Abstracts: 250 words, with title, name of presenter(s), email and institutional affiliation, submit as a word document (not pdf) by email to amurr010@gold.ac.uk

Submission deadline for applications: 22nd April.


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