Weekend 10-12th February 2023

02/11/2023 12:00 am

Israel Eilat

Arrive in Eilat



​Sunday 12th February 2023

02/12/2023 12:00 am

Eilat, Israel .

Borders in Globalization

Borders in Globalization and 21st Century Borders

Chair: Matt Morrisson, Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, WA, USA

Debates continue about how to theorize the changing nature of borders in a globalizing world. Concepts such as ‘the vacillating border,’ ‘mobile’ borders or ‘borders in motion’ have been predominant; however, these discussions remain fundamentally state-centric and, importantly, while grappling with idea of ‘territorial trap,’ they do not go beyond a territory-based logic; they remain fundamentally landlocked. Cutting edge research, however, shows that borders and bordering processes are increasingly networked, mobile and functional. Borders and their reach are no longer strictly contiguous, tied to state territoriality, or bound to geography.

The objectives of this research program are to (a) foster and integrate policy/professional and academic research, training and publications on the rapidly evolving field of border studies, (b) maintain and enhance Canada’s prominence as a thought and policy leader in border studies and (c) generate theoretical, empirical and policy relevant expertise required for the momentous paradigm-shift to understand bordering processes from a state centric and territory-based logic to an emerging spatial and mobile logic in the field of border studies.

21st Century Borders aims to create the largest research network of policy makers and academics in border studies world-wide. Our partnered knowledge mobilization will co-produce comparative and policy relevant research with international cross-border organizations in Africa and Australasia, Europe, North America, Latin America and South Asia, and connect this research with knowledge-users. The partnership brings together border policy actors and academics. It includes nine intergovernmental and transnational organisations plus co-applicants from 16 universities in 15 countries.


Borders in Globalization and 21st Century Borders

Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly

Concepts such as ‘the vacillating border,’ ‘mobile’ borders or ‘borders in motion’ have been predominant; however, these discussions remain fundamentally state-centric and, importantly, while grappling with idea of ‘territorial trap,’ they do not go beyond a territory-based logic; they remain fundamentally landlocked. This project seeks to show that borders and bordering processes are increasingly networked, mobile and functional. Borders and their reach are no longer strictly contiguous, tied to state territoriality or bound to geography.


Indigenous Internationalism and 21st century Borders

Jeff Corntassel (V)

Indigenous internationalism is grounded in the self-determining authority of Indigenous nations and the expressions of Indigenous relationships that transcend state borders. These expressions of Indigenous relationships are embodied and practiced in several different ways, from honoring complex interrelationships with the natural world to engaging in new treaty arrangements and/or acts of solidarity. Overall, this project examines ways that Indigenous nations, communities and peoples challenge the territoriality of states and other patriarchal institutions in order to generate new understandings of how Indigenous relationships develop and persist beyond boundaries. By interrogating terms such as nationhood, international, self-determination and borders, this project seeks to advance a deeper understanding of how these terms and relationships are viewed from diverse Indigenous perspectives.


13:30-15:00 Room 208 SA1 Virtual Link: https://youtube.com/live/gqSgRoZtaBc

The Open Border Paradox

The Open Border Paradox

Chair: Matt Morrisson, Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, WA, USA

British Columbia, Cascadia and the Pacific
Laurie Trautman, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, USA

Alberta and the Northwest
Jamie Ferrill, Charles Sturt University, Australia

The Prairies and the Midwest
Todd Hataley, Fleming College, Canada

Ontario and the Great Lakes
Christian Leuprecht, Royal Military College and Queen’s University, Canada

The Territorial North
Heather Nicol, Trent University, Canada


British Columbia, Cascadia and the Pacific

Laurie Trautman

Owing to its geography, a corridor along the Pacific Ring of Fire, and history, the late arrival in the Canadian Confederation, British Columbia’s security remains distinct with both a strong presence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as well as the strong and persistent presence of multiple local, regional, and provincial law enforcement agencies (and concurrent agreements) working together across border-straddling networks with their US peers. Emergency management dominates a shared understanding of public safety; including emergency and natural disaster preparations, which, under the coordination of organizations such as PNWER, form the foundation of a pan-regional culture of coordination, cooperation and collaboration and policy alignments, but also a culture of innovation in matters of security. Examples abound, for instance: Pace/Canpass/Nexus, Enhanced Drivers Licences, Integrated Border Enforcement Teams, Shiprider, Marine Cargo, Border Wait Time Measurement and Advanced Traveler Information Systems. In sum, the form of cross-border security governance that emerges in British Columbia leads to policy parallelism whereby multiple agencies work together implementing similar policy goals on both sides of the boundary line; the Beyond the Border Initiative of 2012 being one outstanding example of interaction and partnership between national and subnational agencies in the region.


Alberta and the Northwest

Jamie Ferrill

This cross-border region is landlocked.  Its major urban centres are isolated and far away from both provincial and international boundaries. Its economy is fossil fuel dependent. Its security and border, security in particular, depends largely on multiple interjurisdictional arrangements at the core of which is the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), the RCMP, and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT). Due to its geographical isolation, the border is a lower priority. Among the 231 agreements managed by the provincial office of intergovernmental affairs, only a handful focus on the border, one focuses on intelligence (with CSIS), another one on vehicle registration (Justice Canada) and a few are about the funding of First Nations police services. A number of other agreements implement a regional approach to border and provincial security. These are illustrated by partnerships with PNWER, the Council of State Governments West, and fire and other emergency management organizations that bring United States and Canadian regional bodies together. In sum and interestingly, however, security organizations (municipal police forces, RCMP, CBSA) coordinate their operations when necessary but do not rely on formal agreements.


The Prairies and the Midwest

Todd Hataley

Due to the level of expertise necessary to assess risks in Prairie provinces, experts are required for the review of meat or wheat shipments cross in the international boundary line. Biosecurity threats also led to improvements in security processes across the region. Such processes include pre-clearance. Risk assessments evolve with threat types, i.e., threats affecting seeds, meat or other agricultural exports. Each one requires expertise that is not available at the boundary line or at border gates, hence justifying the development of preclearance. In sum, food security has resulted in a border environment whereby preclearance conditions most crossings. In the Prairie provinces it is the provincial government that reviews and implements such required expertise regarding partnerships with networks of professionals, including farms, loading and transit warehouses, all of which are located hundreds of miles from the boundary line.


Ontario and the Great Lakes

Christian Leuprecht

Distinct from other Canadian provinces, Ontario’s borderlands reflect the particularly high level of trade crossing the border with the US in Ontario, i.e., 37 percent, and the resulting economic integration of the Great Lakes’ economic region. This is the second greatest urban region of the eastern side of the North American continent with nearly 15 million inhabitants. Its geography is organized by the Great Lakes and connecting waterways spanning nearly 1,200 kilometres from Québec City to Detroit linking the St. Lawrence River with Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron. This is the largest such cross-border region in North America by trade and economic size, and, by level of integration of its industries, in particular its manufacturing automotive industries and related economic networks that rely on just-in-time production across the boundary line. These industries now benefit from particularly sophisticated border security technologies and trusted trader programs that rely on x-ray and gamma-ray imaging and biometrics that are well adapted to road and truck transportation across this vast border region.


The Territorial North

Heather Nicol

In the Canadian Arctic, controlling borders has long been about maritime and air monitoring of a few harbours and land crossing, i.e., predominantly a role for the Canadian and US military in partnership, and primarily focused on search and rescue missions in regions spanning thousands of square miles. Climate change, however, has been progressively transforming the North into a shipping destination, thus increasing security threats. These take the forms of greater migration, smuggling, and criminal activities that benefit from remoteness and the generally inadequate capacity responses available in communities across the North.

15:15-16:45 Room 208 SB1 Virtual Link: https://youtube.com/live/gqSgRoZtaBc

Informal Get Together

Sunset over the Gulf of Aqaba – Eilat


16:00-20:00 Eilat Beachfront

​Monday 13th February 2023

02/13/2023 8:03 am

Ben Gurion University Eilat Campus

Shuttle leave hotels

08:00 From Hotels: Soleil, Astral Maris, Astral Village and Abraham Hostel Conference Registration Desk open from 08.15 in Lobby of University Campus

Immigration, Regulation and Ecological Borders

Chair: Matt Morrison, Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, WA, USA

Borders and the Limits of Disaster Risk Reduction
Scott Watson, University of Victoria, BC, Canada

Political Sovereignty in an Age of De-Bordering
Oliver Schmidtke, University of Victoria, BC, Canada

Ports, Airports and Regional Supply Systems: Regulatory Governance in British Columbia
Evert Lindquist, University of Victoria, BC, Canada


Borders and the Limits of Disaster Risk Reduction

Scott Watson

This research program examines how borders impact disaster adaptation and mitigation strategies. In addition to restricting migration, which has been a key adaptation strategy for disaster affected communities throughout human history, borders also potentially impose jurisdictional barriers to other mitigation and adaptation strategies. Borders often function to limit movements of goods and services, encourage incompatible governance mechanisms (zoning, building codes, insurance policies) and impose residency requirements for access to public services. This project explores how borders undermine disaster adaptation and mitigation and assesses how border governance could be improved to reduce the risks posed by disaster.


Political Sovereignty in an Age of De-Bordering

Oliver Schmidtke

This research program investigates the notion of sovereignty, the traditional meaning of which is being called into question by processes of de-bordering and de-territorialisation. On the on hand, economic, social, cultural and political processes progressively transcend – national – territorial boundaries in a globalizing world. On the other hand, we have witnessed how the idea of national sovereignty has become the central reference point in the resurgent nationalist-populist imaginary of political community. This ideology has immediate effects on reinforcing borders, for instance, in addressing irregular migration or, in its extreme form, on legitimizing the alteration of territorial borders by military force. This project investigates how the contemporary notion of political sovereignty is altered through the transformation of borders and how this notion is simultaneously pushing for an aggressive re-imposition of traditional border regimes.


Ports, Airports and Regional Supply Systems: Regulatory Governance in British Columbia

Evert Lindquist

All countries have experienced disruptions in trade and supply chains over the last few years. How traded goods move across borders to and from international and domestic suppliers and consumers has long been complex, but the extent of this complexity and how much we depend on the associated systems has rapidly become apparent with the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate-change related floods and fires and the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. These activities are regulated by governments in a variety of ways, involving multiple levels of government (and often multiple authorities associated with each level of government), along with trade agreements and self-regulation by business sectors. This presentation outlines a research initiative and framework for exploring and mapping the complexity of these supply chains and regulatory governance arrangements with case studies of selected trade sectors in British Columbia, focusing on the Port of Vancouver and Vancouver International Airport.




09:00 - 11:00 PM Room 122 MA1 BIG Panel 3

Humanitarian Crisis on the Polish-Belarusian Border

Chairs: Natalia Judzinska & Kamila Fialkowska, University of Warsaw & Polish Academy of Sciences

Transit Places on the Path of People on the Move
Katarzyna Potoniec, University of Bialystok, Poland

Where is the Man? Reading Traces
Katarzyna Winiarska & Kamila Fialkowska, Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw

Questioning Construction of Deportability through the Practices of Care: NGOs at the Polish-Belarusian Frontier
Mateusz Krepa, University of Warsaw, Poland

The Crisis on the Polish-Belarusian Border: Sites and Things
Natalia Judzinska, Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland


More than a year after a group of Afghani asylum seekers sat on a meadow in Usnarz Górny, Poland, in protest at being pushed back to Belarus (an event framed as the symbolic beginning of the humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border), and in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the need for critical reflection on migration regimes, bordering and violence on the Poland-Belarussian border, the interdisciplinary grassroots research network Badaczki i Badacze na Granicy, BBnG [Researchers at the Border] was established in November 2021.

Since Usnarz, the word “refugee” in Poland is defined in various ways. Paradoxically, however, the definition included in the Geneva Convention is the least present in the public discourse, especially from the perspective of the state and its services. Thus, Usnarz symbolizes not only the beginning of the humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border but also the beginning of the so-called “hybrid war,” which is an alleged pretext for legitimizing aggression framed as a (using Brian Massumi’s category) “preemptive politics” towards asylum seekers and violations of international law.

Since February 24, the date marking the full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, we are witnessing how persons crossing northern and southern parts of Poland’s eastern border are divided on the “real refuges” and “illegal migrants.” Since the beginning of the war, four million Ukrainian refugees have crossed Poland’s border with over 1.5 million staying in the country. At the same time, non-white asylum seekers, including children, are being pushed back through the razor wire fence to Belarus.

In the proposed session, we want to focus on what we have learned about Polish society and racializing practices at the border. Furthermore, we will critically reflect on other aspects of bordering that permeate everyday life in the border areas, evident in the language, securitisation of the area, asymmetries of power relations and othering, as a result of our experiences in recent months. We also want to pose questions about research and activist engagement and raise issues of research responsibility and the ethics of (forced) migration research.


Transit Places on the Path of People on the Move

Katarzyna Potoniec

The newly opened migration route leading to Western Europe across the Polish-Belarusian border has put the Podlasie region, located on the side-lines and characterized by its peaceful rhythm of life, in a completely new situation. The inhabitants of the borderland found themselves unintentionally in the middle of a humanitarian crisis. This has led to reactions ranging from hostility, to indifference or a commitment to help people on the move. Whatever one’s attitude towards the crisis and migrants and refugees, for the residents of this region, such a reality is totally new. Nevertheless, some communities scattered around the world have been coping with this situation for many years. In my paper I present some of them. I am looking for analogies but also for an answer to the question of whether we can draw some lessons from their experiences for other border communities, which from one day to the next have turned into a stop, a transit place, on the migratory route.

Where is the Man? Reading Traces

Katarzyna Winiarska & Kamila Fialkowska

Traces, scraps, trash, left intentionally, lost irretrievably in the deep Bialowieza Forest, are silent and non-human witnesses to the events of recent months, which became present in the public consciousness after the events in Usnarz in summer 2021. This paper focuses on what we find in the forest and what we read from the things left behind left. The goal is to focus on their possible history of forced migration and the testimony of their journey, read through material witnesses, assorted scraps and traces of presence. This paper examines the people who crossed the Polish-Belarussian border during this period.


Questioning Construction of Deportability through the Practices of Care: NGOs at the Polish-Belarusian Frontier

Mateusz Krepa

The study focuses on analyzing the practices of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) providing care for migrants in Poland during the humanitarian crisis at the border with Belarus. The NGOs contest the state practice of pushing back, which should be seen in the context of the broader processes of construction of deportability of some categories of migrants: persons coming from the Global South are being forced back over the Belarusian-Polish frontier, while many migrants of the same origin are being granted permits to work and stay and Ukrainian refugees are welcomed with open arms. Drawing on Critical Border Studies combined with racial and colonial theories, I conceptualise this construction of deportability based on the nexus between racism and labor subjugation, which stems from the power interplay within the global system of capitalist liberal-democratic nation-states. Then, using Critical Discourse Analysis, I examine how the Polish government is constructing deportability in the case of the crisis at the border between Poland and Belarus. The results show that Poland’s relation to people from the Global South, who, in contrast to Ukrainians, remain outside the Polish colonial imaginary, is being mediated by Poland’s semi-peripheral relation to the West. This mediation takes the form of racialization and commodification, which leads to including some migrants as subjugated racialized labor and excluding the others as ‘disposable’ persons. Next, I conceptualise practices of care using Feminist Security Studies. As the examined NGOs are heavily feminized, comprised of both citizens and migrants and intertwined with other (feminist or queer) organisations, they are elaborating and applying intersectional approaches to many issues that question mainstream narratives on security, economy, power, hierarchy and political community; and, therefore, also migration. With the preliminary results based on over twenty in-depth interviews conducted with representatives of NGOs, I depict how the care practices provided by these actors heavily impact the other state’s ideological tenets (sovereignty, security, raison d’état, national identity) and how they are linked to the rise of emancipatory movements in Poland in 2019–2021 (e.g., Women’s Strike). I conclude that the actions of NGOs during the humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarusian frontier prove that providing care to migrants can manifest transformative power in the broader social context.


The Crisis on the Polish-Belarusian Border: Sites and Things

Natalia Judzinska

The ongoing humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border did not attract mass public attention in Poland or in the world; likewise, media interest is limited. Rare visuals of asylum seekers and migration conditions are rather provided by activist portals and people involved in providing humanitarian aid; thus, they circulate among circles working to solve the crisis. Consequently, access to knowledge about the conditions of the migration experience across the Polish border is limited. Observing the material background and the traces of migration, both in the sense of its topography and its instrumental equipment, allows us to get closer to the inaccessible information. The authors propose a preliminary typology of migration sites, as well as objects used during migration. They argue that such a research strategy not only examines migration processes through their secondary symptoms but can be understood as a gesture towards asylum seekers. Material analysis makes it possible to reveal the experience of migration in such a way as not to infringe on the precarious security of people on the move.

9:00-11:00 Room 123 MA2

Beyond Representations

Chairs: Christian Wille and Astrid Fellner, Saarland University and University of Luxembourg | UniGRCenter for Border Studies

Representations and Realities as a Guideline to Bordertexturing Saarlor Industrial Cooperation
Andrea Wurm, Saarland University | UniGR-Center for Border Studies, Germany

Bordertextures and the Textu(r)al Cohesion of the Border
Eva Nossem, Saarland University | UniGR-Center for Border Studies

Textured Borders around a Railroad to the North. Approaching Bordertextures through Industrial Films
Isis Luxenburger, Saarland University, Germany

Bordertexturing the German-Polish Borderlands
Tobias Schank, Saarland University, Germany

This session aims to show that representations of borders do more than simply depict ‘real borders’ or their effects on space and society. Representations, as they are understood in Cultural Border Studies, refer to (artistic) renditions of border realities and border experiences, which find expression in aesthetic forms and often constitute critical engagements with borders. (Cultural) representations can thus not be reduced to the (simple) reflection or documentation of border conditions. Rather, we need to acknowledge their active-productive role, such as in processes of contesting borders, in empowerments, or in the research process, in which (cultural) representations can actively participate. This session aims to deepen this active function of border representations and show how the places, memories, experiences, identities, etc. dealt with in (cultural) representations can guide the research process. This refers to meanings, temporalities and spatial relations embedded in (cultural) representations, which border researchers who conduct qualitative research can follow in an explorative way, in turn enabling them to view borders as textures and exposing their multiple dimensions and complex interconnections in space and time. This method will be exemplified and discussed in the session on the basis of four case studies from Cultural Border Studies.


Representations and Realities as a Guideline to Bordertexturing Saarlor Industrial Cooperation

Andrea Wurm

The case study takes as its starting point a documentary/propaganda film presenting the carbo- and petrochemical cooperation of Saarland (DE) and Lorraine (FR) national coal mining companies on both sides of the Franco-German border, looking for diversification during the coal crisis: “Usines sans frontière – Grenze ohne Schatten” (DE, FR – 1968). The industrial cross-border project serves as background to visualize and transport the vision of a better future in a borderless Europe.

To lay bare relationships between representations in the film and Saarlor realities, archival research was undertaken, unearthing a wealth of documents in which the industrial and political context of the documentary film can be traced. Saarlor consists of a multitude of actors, dimensions and interconnections that cannot easily be modelled as a network. Instead, it calls for an approach combining several layers and perspectives, actors of different sorts, materiality, spatiality and temporality.

Bordertexturing as a method (cf. AG Bordertextures 2018) allows researchers to handle all these elements in qualitative research without losing the focus on a certain, well-embedded nexus. In the talk, I will spell out (de-|re-)bordering processes within or in connection to Saarlor as well as material, corporeal and spatial dimensions and scales that are part of the bordertexture woven around a political and economic endeavor. The mentioned documentary can thus be shown in the case study with all its complexities, temporalities, contradictions and their interconnections.
In contrast to other concepts, bordertexturing explicitly calls for multi-dimensional, multi-perspectival analyses of discourses, artifacts, and practices. Hence, it is well suited to a complex structure like the regional Saarlor cooperation between national mining companies within the European Coal and Steel Community, which can hardly be interpreted as a whole but must be broken down into smaller pieces as, in this talk, a filmic representation. This piece, a node in the bordertexture, can then be situated in its larger context and structures. Its function and interconnections become palpable as do contradictions between representations and realities. The result is a close look into the thick texture of the Franco-German border, focused on a single node, but using different tools and angles to disentangle the fabric, following various pathways, dimensions and interconnections.


Bordertextures and the Textu(r)al Cohesion of the Border

Eva Nossem

The field of Border Studies has proven itself a fertile ground for the development of new theories, approaches and conceptualizations. Not only does the field re-invent itself again and again, but also thinking and understanding ‘the border’ is a constantly evolving process. The theoretical and conceptual inventions of the field go hand in hand with shifting notions of the border and varying (research) perspectives from which to approach (and study) the border. The multitude of approaches and notions of the border is reflected and re-produced in linguistic conceptualizations and discursive framings as well as in its experienceable and experiential materializations. The lived experience of the border and its linguistic realizations are far more than mere re-presentations of the border; they both re-present the border and re-produce it.

In order to be able to grasp this textu(r)al interconnectedness and mutual contingency of the textual-linguistic-discursive level and the experienceable-experiential-material level, our homonymous working group speaks about ‘bordertextures’ and is currently developing the theoretical-methodological model of bordertexturing to approach (the study of) borders.

In my talk I will shed light on diverse conceptualizations of the border and set them in relation to our idea of bordertextures. I will show how the fuzziness of some terms, the messiness of definitions, the blurred boundaries of categorizations, and floating signifiers in the discussion of borders can be brought into a productive dialogue when thinking about the border. I will outline how the border works parallel to spreading activation both on the textual and the material level. Crucial to this understanding of bordertextures and bordertexturing is the multi-layered interconnectedness of its textual and material threads, the nodes that ensure its stability and the elasticity of its threads that allow the border to function as a catalyst. Of particular importance is the power and the agency involved in the spinning of the web – to knit the threads, to tighten the nodes, but also to stretch the net. I will attempt to show the potential of bordertexturing as a cultural border studies approach to both spotlight and critically analyze the textu(r)al cohesion of the net of the border.


Textured Borders around a Railroad to the North. Approaching Bordertextures through Industrial Films

Isis Luxenburger

In the 1950s, the Quebec, North Shore & Labrador Railway (QNS&L) was constructed through Indigenous hunting territory of the Innu and Naskapi peoples in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Labrador to render accessible an iron ore deposit in the North. Thereby, the nascent mining town of Schefferville, located at the geographical border between the two provinces, was connected to Seven-Islands on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. The railroad, which has been used to transport iron ore, people and supplies, has attracted cameramen and filmmakers since its construction and many films have been made about the train, the railroad and the town of Schefferville. On the one hand, these films represent ‘real borders’ such as Canada’s geographical borders, which are visible on maps but invisible (and often irrelevant) in situ, i.e., on the railroad through the North. On the other hand, they also mediate (imaginaries of) borders created to serve the respective message intended by their producers, which cannot be represented by drawing a simple line onto a map. Nonetheless, e.g., the imaginary of a border between civilization and wilderness mediated in the first film on the QNS&L’s construction (ROAD OF IRON, 1955) has prevailed in films until today and, hence, influenced the reception and (re)production of borders in films. The complexity and entanglement of borders present in the North as space but also in the people wandering it—its inhabitants and visitors—can be explored by viewing borders as textures, whose individual threads can then be analyzed against the backdrop of their interconnections through time and space. Investigating films as cultural representations of borders is a fruitful way of exploring and understanding the complexity of interwoven (perceptions, concepts and effects of) borders, which influence the thinking and actions of people affected by these borders—in the North and beyond.


Bordertexturing the German-Polish Borderlands

Tobias Schank

In this paper, I will examine and discuss a select number of filmic examples dealing with the discourse of “flight and expulsion” (Feindt 2017) in the German-Polish borderlands. Forced migration, displacement, flight and expulsion are a particularly delicate subject in German-Polish relations. Consequently, politico-historical discussions abound (cf. Borodziej 2003). By contrast, filmic explorations of these discourses and the borderlands in which they take place, have rarely been exposed to academic scrutiny, which is surprising considering the exceptional aptitude of the medium to approach this complex network of borderland experiences and make it re-experienceable.

Combining elements of film phenomenology, as proposed most prominently by Vivian Sobchack, with recent developments in the field of Cultural Border Studies, specifically the theoretical-methodological tool of bordertexturing, I will analyze and discuss two cognate filmic explorations of the German-Polish borderlands, namely Andreas Voigt’s GRENZLAND – EINE REISE (1992) and Christian Fuchs’s DER LANDRAT UND DIE LIEBEN NACHBARN – BEOBACHTUNGEN DER DEUTSCH-POLNISCHEN GRENZE AM ODERHAFF (1993). Though the two documentaries were arguably made without knowledge of one another, each of them incidentally interviews the same elderly German couple, Irma and Willy Neumann, two German expellees who used to live in Neuwarp, a small town at the Szczecin Lagoon, which subsequently became Nowe Warpno and part of Poland after the Potsdam Agreement in 1945. Now, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Irma and Willy have made a habit of regularly visiting Altwarp, a town opposite Nowe Warpno, situated across the lagoon on German shores, where they pitch a tent, set up camp, and look at their former home through binoculars. Putting both testimonies and their representations on film into a productive dialogue with one another, I will develop an argument proposing that we can discern a unique aesthetics in these two border films; indeed, they each weave a complex texture comprising different layers of time and space, at once linking and dissolving conflicting messages and meanings with which these borderlands are suffused. Constructing the German-Polish borderlands as hybrid borderlands, both films not only challenge the nationalist rhetoric of their protagonists, but also question the self-evidence and dominance of the concept of the nation state in the face of its ubiquity in border discourses.

9:00-11:00 Room 207 MA3

Borders, Cities and Conflicts in Africa

Chairs: Olivier Walther & Steven Radil, University of Florida and Department of Economics and Geosciences, U.S. Air Force Academy

Beyond Body Counts: Evaluating Counterinsurgency in the Sinai
David Russell, University of Florida, USA

Cities and Transnational Jihadist Organizations in the Sahel
Olivier Walther, University of Florida, USA

Urban-Rural Geographies of Political Violence in North and West Africa
Steven Radil, Department of Economics and Geosciences, U.S. Air Force Academy

The Centrality of Border Towns and Gateways along the Conflict-Prone Nigeria/Cameroon
Ngozi Louis Uzomah, Dept of Geography, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria (V)


Session Abstract

Cities and borders have long been synonymous with warfare, insurgency, and many other forms of politically motivated violence. The objective of this session is to contribute to better understanding how the centrality of cities interacts with the marginality of borders to produce some of the bloodiest and longest conflicts in the world. The paper will focus on approaches that document why cities within border regions may be particularly susceptible to different modes of violence. The paper explores  how conventional forms of rural armed conflict have shifted towards alternative modes of violence that are distinctly urban in character, and discusses how extremist groups instrumentalize urban violence in border regions, and what makes highly educated and politically dissatisfied urban populations prone to organized violence, or how borders are implicated in the production of urbanized political violence.


Beyond Body Counts: Evaluating Counterinsurgency in the Sinai

David Russell

This paper presents a mixed-methods approach to understanding conflict dynamics in place and in time, with special attention to the embodied effects of violence and security on civilians. Our case study lies in the northeastern corner of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where an affiliate of the Islamic State has waged a long-running insurgency against the Egyptian state, the local civilians and the Israeli state across the border. In response, Egyptian state forces have created a landscape of control featuring widespread violence and a network of earthwork fortifications designed to curtail movement. In this article, we attempt to understand the case of the Sinai in two ways. First, we draw on the concept of biopower to narrate the effects of the state forces’ counterinsurgency campaign on the Sinai civilian population. Given the hardships imposed on civilians by this campaign, we then seek to quantify its effectiveness in stopping the insurgency. The results of this analysis show that the state forces’ tactics have exposed civilians to a great deal of violence while failing to diminish conflict activity at a range of spatial and temporal scales.


Cities and Transnational Jihadist Organizations in the Sahel

Olivier Walther

The objective of this paper is to examine the contribution of transnational Jihadist organizations to the current ruralization of conflict in North and West Africa. Building on disaggregated conflict and population data, the paper argues that Jihadist organizations have entertained a rather peculiar relationship with cities since they emerged in the Sahara-Sahel in the 2000s. On the one hand, cities, with their large population of unemployed youth, provide ideal conditions for Jihadist organizations to flourish. In a region where Islamization has long been limited to a small urban elite of religious scholars and long-distance merchants, cities are closely associated with the diffusion of Islam and Koranic education. On the other hand, Jihadist organizations have also tended to reject cities and try to reform societies away from existing powers, in remote rural areas where the state is largely absent. By mapping the distribution of violence in urban and rural areas, the paper contributes to the ongoing debate on the transformation of warfare in Africa.


Urban-Rural Geographies of Political Violence in North and West Africa

Steven Radil

This paper examines the importance of cities and urban areas in the development of political violence in North and West Africa since 2000. Using disaggregated data on population and conflict, the paper shows that violence is predominantly rural across the region. While most violence currently occurs in rural areas, the number of violent events also decreases with distance to cities, suggesting that proximity to cities is key to armed groups and their adversaries. The paper also shows that violence tends to oscillate between urban and rural over time. As conflict waxes or wanes in one part of the region, so too does the importance of either rural or urban spaces to the belligerents.



The Centrality of Border Towns and Gateways along the Conflict-Prone Nigeria/Cameroon

Ngozi Louis Uzomah

With the emergence of ISWAP/Boko Haram jihadists in the northeastern borderlands of Nigeria adjoining Cameroon and other countries in the region and armed Ambazonian separatists in the Anglophone Cameroon bordering southeastern Nigeria, much of the borderlands cutting across the 2,100 km borderline between the two countries is beset by instability. However, towns in these conflict-affected border areas play a major role in providing economic respite for the distressed and displaced border population and in helping the armed groups sustain their fight against the government. For example, apart from helping ordinary people to trade and sustain livelihood during the peak of the insurgency in 2010s, the trading gateway towns of Mubi and Kirawa also aided the jihadists―who used the same dynamics as cross-border traders to smuggle licit and illicit goods―to sustain their insurgency. In Anglophone Cameroon, the separatist fighters are involved in economic sabotage, disrupting the movement of commodities and goods to other parts of the country. Thus, traders divert to Mamfe and Ekok, which consequently have improved in their break-bulk and collection center status for cross-border (informal) trading/smuggling of, for example, weapons, petrol and cocoa between Cameroon and Nigeria, the proceeds of which are used by the separatists to sustain their agitation. The centrality of these peripheral towns in driving cross-border economic activities can potentially impetus to trans-boundary collaboration between non-state groups in both countries, which could threaten regional stability in West and Central Africa where jihadists, bandits and kidnapers are already gaining traction.


9:00-11:00 Room 214 MA4

Roundtable Discussion - Bordering on Disorder

Chair: Todd Hataley

Christian Leuprecht

Jamie Ferrill

Bjarge Schwenke Fors

Michael Luoma


Global borders are dynamic.  As a political phenomenon, borders are undergoing perpetual change: the bordering process is an ongoing project, one that responds to a global and regional assortment of anthropogenic and naturogenic pressures. Conflict, climate change, pandemics, trade, technology and migration patterns are just a few examples of the many stresses, often interrelated, to which borders are subject and to which they subsequently adjust. As much as borders are dynamic, they are equally heterogenous; they differ as a function of diverse security environments. In other words, how borders adjust in response to new and evolving pressures, such as climate change or a global pandemic, will look different at each border.

The purpose of this panel is to systematically examine and evaluate how global border security will evolve over the next 10–15-year period and explore policy tradeoffs to mitigate the challenges to border security given global and regional anthropogenic and naturogenic pressures. Using the Framework Foresight methodology as a guide, and a cross-section of global borders as a sample, the evolution of border security will be anticipated over a 10–15-year period. These projections will inform regional and global policy directions to mitigate the challenges of anthropogenic and naturogenic challenges. The panel will bring together a representative sample of border scholars from across the globe, each with different approaches to border management, to explore how border governance will evolve, to understand the anthropogenic and naturogenic experience better and to identify drivers in order to project how global and regional border governance is likely to evolve over the next 10–15-year period.

9:00-11:00 Room 213 MA5

Social Policies and Welfare for Children and Women in European Borderlands

Chair: Machteld Venken, University of Luxembourg

When Social Welfare Became a Bordering Practice: Marking New National Frontiers in the Upper Adriatic Borderland:
Elena d’Aosta’s Opera Pattriotica di Assistenza all‘Italia Redenta, 1919–1950
Laura Downs, Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute

Transcending National Borders by Means of Educational Practice: The Children’s Castle in Luxembourg (V)
Federica Moretti, Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute

Boundary Making and Bordering Practices in Social Provision to Children in the Polish-Ukrainian Borderland, the 1944–1990s
Dominika Gruziel, Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute

Making and Breaking Socialist Welfare from Below: Narratives of Lviv Female Workers
Iryna Sklokina, Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute (V)

Gender and Border Vulnerabilities: Belgian Women Workers in Northern France (1900–1950s) (V)
Claudine Marissal, Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute


 Session Abstract

This panel deals with protection for children and working-class women in three European borderlands: the French-Belgian-Luxemburgish, the Polish-Ukrainian and Upper Adriatic regions. The selected borderlands are complex spaces where relations of control and domination and policies of inclusion and exclusion shaped specific social policies on all sides of the political borders. These regions concentrated populations with a very heterogeneous profile, which lived in a close relationship with the neighboring country or were separated from it by the erection of a closed border. Hence borderland social policies responded to divergent issues. They mobilized the central states, which prioritized stabilization and nationalization of their borders, and local actors (municipalities, public or private associations, industrialists, etc.) who operated to control, moralize, help or take advantage of the border populations.

The opening presentations focus on developments of children’s welfare in Luxembourg, the Italian-Sloven region, and the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. The speakers examine how municipalities, state agencies, associations and parents engaged in creating and delivering welfare services for children and youth in contexts where the transformative presence of previous, anticipated or repeatedly redrawn political borders informed the structure and shape of local institutions. Their contributions demonstrate how borderland actors in the field of children’s care “manage,” “respond to” and “take advantage of” state borders. Notably, it reveals how state welfare schemes must adapt at the discursive and practical levels when faced with the pre-existing local mixed welfare economies developed in response to the particular needs of borderland populations. The talks bring examples of borderland actors who develop local and state provision systems by adapting templates of social assistance available “across a border,” or by establishing transborder care practices. The regions covered in this panel have been marked, at times, by the intense politicization of ethnic, national, linguistic or religious differences. This has led either to the local welfare sector’s pillarization or exclusionary practices being embedded in state welfare systems. Yet, the panelists’ analyses of care practices in selected institutions demonstrate that there was no single template for managing these differences.

The two subsequent contributions deal with a phenomenon of a large female agricultural and working-class workforce in the French-Belgian industrial region of Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing/Mouscron and in Lviv in interwar Poland and then Soviet Ukraine. The researchers focus on the centrality of gender to borderland social policies in both regions seeking answers to the following questions: Have the borderlands been spaces for transgressing or reinforcing gendered roles? What imaginaries have they generated? What opportunities or difficulties have they developed for female workers and their families? What tensions have arisen between female and male workers? What contestations have emerged? What have been the effects of these contestations? What roles have employers’ associations, trade unions or women’s associations played in defining social rights and their evolution? What control was exercised over women’s bodies and sexuality? Ultimately, the presenters identify how social and gender inequalities have been articulated at the edges of nation-states.


When Social Welfare Became a Bordering Practice: Marking New National Frontiers in the Upper Adriatic Borderland: Elena d’Aosta’s Opera Pattriotica di Assistenza all‘Italia Redenta, 1919-1950

Laura Downs

This paper draws on my ongoing research on gender, social action and politics in the northeastern Adriatic borderlands from ca. 1890 to the end of the 1970s. My principal aid organization―the Opera Assistenza all’Italia Redenta (ONAIR)―enjoyed an unusually long life in Italy’s northeastern borderlands. Indeed, it managed to successfully navigate the numerous regimes which rose and fell in this highly contested border region from 1919 through 1978, all the while continuing to deliver social services, primarily nursery schools, school meals and medical services to young children and their families, especially their mothers. I use this exceptionally rich case study to explore how new borders and a new political order immediately manifested themselves in local welfare provision. I thus hope to offer a convincing and empirically-rooted demonstration of one pathway by which welfare practices shaped bordering processes (and bordering processes, in turn, shaped welfare) in an early 20th century southeastern European border region that was at once a post-imperial space and a contact/conflict zone between Slovenians, Croatians and Veneto-speaking “Italians.”


Transcending National Borders by Means of Educational Practices. The Children’s Castle in Luxembourg.

Frederica Moretti

Borders influence the development and are the outcome of social processes: they produce and are produced by imaginaries, practices and narratives. The anthropological method offers an insightful perspective into borders as it allows us to unveil their political, economic, cultural and historical dimensions, transcending their tangible material presence. In particular, anthropologists have contributed to the study of borders through the analysis of forms of agency, structures of power, narratives of identity and belonging, sets of imaginaries and (everyday) practices. This has notably allowed them to deconstruct understandings of the roles that borders play globally, focusing especially on local dynamics. Ultimately, anthropological analysis sheds light on the porosity of borders, at different scales. The aim of this paper is to discuss the creation, reproduction and contestation of (trans)national belongings through schooling practices in a highly mixed borderland. The paper will do so by focusing on the case of the Children’s Castle in Luxembourg. With a pedagogical project of secular nature based on the principles of diversity, integration and communal life, the Children’s Castle represents an interesting case study to analyze how educational actors working on the premises contributed to creating a peculiar pedagogical approach where national traditions have converged and mixed (and continue to do so). The research is based on a rich corpus of multilingual historical documents and interviews conducted with past and current educators at the Children’s Castle. By exploring the Children’s Castle archive, we aim to reveal the practices through which local actors co-constructed welfare in a highly mixed borderland from a bottom-up perspective.


Boundary Making and Bordering Practices in Social Provision to Children in the Polish-Ukrainian Borderland, 1944–1990s

Dominika Gruziel

The presentation looks at the development of welfare provision to children in the Podkarpackie region after the Teheran conference’s agreement on the political border between the Polish state and Soviet Ukraine. Between 1939 and 1951, the Polish-Ukrainian borderland witnessed repeated redrawing of frontiers. Each shift triggered (spontaneous or state-coordinated) population movements as well as violent clashes among the local inhabitants dissatisfied with the new border order. Due to its geographical location, the Podkarpackie region, once located in the middle of Habsburg Galicia and today in southern Poland, experienced plenty of the aforementioned but also became transient space for, at times, gargantuan cohorts of “escapees,” “deportees,” “resettlers” or “repatriates” in need of emergency aid as well as long-term assistance in finding themselves in post-WWII Poland. First, the presentation examines how the local social assistance providers―municipalities, state agencies, and private actors―maneuvered between fulfilling the directives of the central state regarding children’s welfare and meeting the specific needs of borderland populations. Although children’s welfare was described as age-based assistance in the state programs, the borderland social providers’ discourses and practices routinely engaged with national, ethnic, religious, and linguistic characteristics of minors under their care. Second, the talk demonstrates how the borderland welfare providers’ practices of clustering minors into separate categories, depending on their ethnic or religious identities, provides an insight into the discontents of the Polish socialist state’s child welfare as well as its minority group politics. Finally, the presentation will demonstrate how the practices of drawing boundaries between various categories of borderland minor recipients became a form of managing the unruly political border.


Making and Breaking Socialist Welfare from Below: Narratives of Lviv Female Workers

Irina Sklokina

In this paper, I analyze oral interviews with workers and managers of socialist industrial enterprises in Lviv, Ukraine, collected in 2020–2021. Economy of favors, informal networking and shadow market became important tools of social advancement and economic wellbeing in the late Soviet era (1960–80s). At the same time, the official organs of the socialist welfare state, such as trade unions, not only implemented the state policy but became the spaces of informal networking and exchange as well. In the paper, I address the issue of interaction and diffusion of officially sanctioned and informal practices. Lviv is a center of a special region of the USSR, located on the border with Poland, which became a part of the USSR only in 1944, undergoing a major change of population as a result of WWII. Therefore, the creation of social relations was greatly impacted by divisions such as locals vs newcomers and migrants from the villages vs city dwellers, as well as strong presence of family ties with foreign countries, including capitalist countries (among other things, receiving parcels from the relatives in the West). Gendered narratives put female figures at the center of stories about survival and social networking, whereas female presence grew in the official organs as well, although key positions were still occupied by men. My questions concern both the practices of formal and informal welfare provision and the ways to narrate them today, after the breakdown of the socialist economy. Likewise, I ask how useful the categories of gender and borderland are for the analysis of socialist welfare.


Gender and Border Vulnerabilities: Belgian Women Workers in Northern France (1900–1950’s)

Claudine Marissal

The political border between Belgium and France separates two regions that, beyond similarities, were characterized by strong economic and social asymmetries. From the end of the 19th century until the 1950s, these asymmetries led to an intense migration of Belgian workers to northern France, which included, especially in the border region of Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing, a large proportion of women who went to work in the French textile industry. These female migrations offer a good opportunity to cross both class and gender dimensions with the border effect. In a period characterized by systematic discrimination against female workers in both France and Belgium, how were gender inequalities articulated in border policies towards migrants? What impact did gendered models have on representations of migrants? What was the effect of economic crises and deindustrialization on this low-skilled and particularly vulnerable female workforce? And how have women been integrated into increasingly inclusive social policies for cross-border workers? This paper will attempt to answer these questions, drawing on a variety of archives (private charities, workers’ organizations, women’s associations, and public authorities from municipal to national level).




9:00-11:00 Room 208 Virtual link: MA6 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/QCu8wABcdqM

Coffee Break


Opening Plenary Session: Borders and Territory in International Law

11:20-11:50 Greetings:


Professor David Newman, Conference organiser, BGU

Professor Mark T. Montoya, President ABS

Mr. Eli Lankri, Mayor of Eilat

Professor Yaniv Poria, Dean, Eilat Campus BGU


11:50-13:00: Opening Plenary Session:  Borders and Territory in International Law

The Uninterrupted Imperative of Boundaries and Title to Territory in the Age of the “Metaverse”
Robert Volterra, Senior Partner Volterra-Fietta Law

Territorial Disputes, International Law and Adjudication: When the Three Stars May Be Aligned
Professor Marcelo G. Kohen, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva



The Uninterrupted Imperative of Boundaries and Title to Territory in the Age of the “Metaverse”

Robert Volterra, 

The paradigm of international relations is interactions between certain entities that have title to territory under international law. Technological developments, such as the so-called ‘Metaverse,’ and transnational philosophies emerging in the popular cultures of a number of societies have provoked questions about the continuing relevance of title to territory and thus boundaries to international law and international relations. However, on closer examination, neither these nor other developments actually challenge the relevance of title to territory as the basis of international relations. Indeed, recent events around the world have confirmed the continuing importance of territory and boundaries.


Territorial Disputes, International Law and Adjudication: When the Three Stars May Be Aligned

Marcelo G. Kohen, 

Territorial disputes are amongst the most traditional controversies that emerge in international relations. They have also been those which have resulted in a frequent use of international adjudication from the 19th century onwards. Some arbitral awards and judgments have become well known for their contribution to clarifying the status of international law in this particular field. However, notwithstanding the possibility of using the tool of international courts and tribunals, some territorial disputes remain unsettled for decades, if not centuries. Equally, not all territorial disputes are ripe for adjudication for very different reasons. The paper will address the positive and negative dimensions of international law in territorial matters and will evaluate the feasibility of using international adjudication to settle this kind of disputes.

11:20-13:00 Auditorium MB Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/cj30GXquJGg



European Borders in the 21st Century After Crises

Chair: Laurie Trautman, Border Policy Research Institute, WA, USA

Crisis Related Policies and Cross-Border Dynamics
Martin van der Velde, Nijmegen Centre for Border Research, Radboud University, the Netherlands

The Impact of Covid on Identity in Cross-Border Regions
Martin Klatt, University of Southern Denmark

In-Between Border Spaces: An EU-Middle East Comparative Perspective
Daniel Meier, Sciences Po Grenoble, France & University of Geneva, Switzerland

Borders and Culture: Studying Representations of Borderlands
Pierre Alexandre Beylier, Universite Grenobles Alpes, France


Crisis Related Policies and Cross-Border Dynamics

Martin van der Velde

The Dutch-German border was one of few borders in the EU that was not closed during periods of the Covid-crises. The attempts of the local and regional authorities to curb cross-border mobility were geared toward discouraging citizens to cross the border, but it remained on a voluntary basis. Also at times, citizens of the neighboring country were required to be able to show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid. This paper will briefly portray and discuss the effects of these policies on physical cross-border interaction both during and just after the health crisis, as well as perceptions of the border. This will be also one of the projects to be carried out in the BIG-project.



The Impact of Covid on Identity in Cross-Border Regions

Martin Klatt

The border closures of March 2020 disrupted cross-border living in most European border regions. Regional politicians felt powerless. It appeared as if the discourse of open, integrating cross-border regions evaporated, replaced by an agenda of securitization within the nation state. Two-and-a-half years later, European borders have returned to pre-Covid status―but what has changed? Empirically based on observations from the national minorities in the Danish-German border region Sønderjylland-Schleswig, I will discuss possible long-term effects on the image of border regions as cross-border living spaces, and what this implies for EU- and other policies encouraging cross-border cooperation and integration.



In-Between Border Spaces: an EU-Middle East Comparative Perspective

Daniel Meier

There have been a growing number of in-between spaces and alternatives territorialities emerging in the Middle East in the last 10–15 years, although such “buffer zones,” “Safe zones” or “no man’s land” are not new in themselves. Two types of in-between spaces have been identified so far: those that are internationally recognized and where the rights of local residents are guaranteed. The second type of in-between spaces on the contrary refers more to uncharted and ill-defined territorialities, imposed by force by non-state armed groups or created by foreign states without any guarantee of residents’ rights. Both these contradictory models of territoriality appear to be the true face of a world where state sovereignties are empirically clearly unequal, unstable and where territories can be seen as strategic assets or political resources. In this framework, a comparison between the Middle East and the EU could be of some interest in order, perhaps, to revisit the liquid border that separates these two regions―the Mediterranean. This sea works as a dangerous fence patrolled by maritime operatives from the EU (Frontex) or from southern neighboring states. Moreover, some of its islands seem to be vantage points for refugees’ encampment for EU asylum policies and thus serve as in-between spaces. Other spaces in the EU, like “the jungle” of Calais or some asylum centers (centres de rétention) or dedicated spaces in some European airports, could also be analyzed as in-between spaces.



Borders and Culture: Studying Representations of Borderlands

Pierre Alexandre Beylier

Researchers at Grenoble-Alpes University are part of the “Culture” axis of the 21st century borders project. Within the framework of this axis, several projects have been set in motion with graduate students in order to analyze borders through the lens of representations, addressing how the question of how borders are perceived by individuals, portrayed in the literature and described in discourses. Two of them focus on the representations of the Canada/US border in the context of women’s rights, a topic that has gained even more in visibility since the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June 2022, thus jeopardizing the right of a woman to get an abortion. In that respect, the first one examines the perception of Canada and of the border in the literature especially in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The second one analyzes how Canada can become a potential place of medical tourism for women wanting to get an abortion, especially in US border states that have already banned or restricted abortion rights.


14:30-16:30 Room 122 MC1 BIG Panel 4

Borders, Non-State Actors and Security in Africa I

Chair: Innocent Moyo, University of Zululand, South Africa

Cross Border Informality and Security in the Southern African Region
Christopher Changwe Nshimbi, University of Pretoria

Women and the Informal Economy of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Border
Francis Musoni, University of Kentucky, USA

Interrogating the Challenges of Cross Border Management in the SADC Region
Victor H Mlambo & Innocent Moyo, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Political violence and Displacement in the Central Sahel: The Role of Borders, Armed Groups, Urbanization, and Securitization
Matthew Pflaum, University of Florida, USA


Session Abstract

If the proposition by Wendt (1999:394–395) that “anarchy is what states make of it,” which can also be taken to mean that the nation-state`s assessment and/or determination of security is socially constructed, it is then possible to analyze the complexity and politically constructed and embeddedness of cross border security challenges in Africa. This is particularly so given the increase in the rhetoric concerning growing cross-border security challenges in regions such as Southern Africa, the West, and other parts of Africa. Accordingly, this session engages with the cross-border security issues and challenges in Africa and attempts to transcend a state-centric construction and understanding of cross-border security in the continent. This brings to the fore how and what non-state cross-border actors construct and understand cross-border security. To this end, these two sessions will debates issues including but not limited to the following:

The nation-state and cross-border security in Africa

Non-state cross-border actors and cross-border security

Cross-border communities, livelihoods, and cross-border security

Informal cross-border trade and/or implication on cross-border security


Cross Border Informality and Security in the Southern African Region

Christopher Changwe Nshimbi

Based on a critical reflection of border theories, this article argues that the countries of Southern Africa engage in a balancing act to cope with international pressure to establish measures that guarantee the security of donor interests and the livelihood needs of people at the grassroots in borderland communities even though the interests of the former seem to prevail. The article adopts a food security lens to show how the policies propagated by international funding agencies and high-income donor countries in selected member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that share contiguous borders conflict with the lived experiences and realities of borderlands inhabitants. The examination draws on a thorough review of scholarly literature, analysis of relevant documents, and personal face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions held in selected borderlands; all of which situate the discussion in discourses on borders/borderlands, food security and informal cross-border trade. The disregard for the realities of life and livelihood strategies of the often-snubbed people in the economic and political margins by donors and international financial institutions and the ‘blind eye’ that governments turn on them perpetuate the precarious conditions in which they live.


Women and the Informal Economy of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Border

Francis Musoni

Following the construction of the Alfred Beit Bridge across the Limpopo River in the early 1930s, the main border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa emerged. As state-centered efforts to control people’s movements between the two countries intensified over the years, the border post and the towns of Beitbridge and Musina, on the Zimbabwean and South African side of the border respectively, became sites of informal economic activities fueled by cross-border traders, unregistered transport operators, human smugglers and corrupt border officials and other players. Using materials from the National Archives of Zimbabwe, the National Archives of South Africa and oral interviews in Beitbridge town, my study explores the involvement of women in the informal economy of the Zimbabwe-South Africa border zone from the 1930s to the early 2000s. With a specific focus on Beitbridge town, the proposed presentation will identify the major informal sector activities and roles that women undertook and analyze how their involvement in those activities contributed to the border’s cultural milieu. In so doing, the presentation will also examine how perceptions of women’s roles and gender relations in Beitbridge town have changed since the 1930s.


Interrogating the Challenges of Cross Border Management in the SADC Region

Victor H Mlambo & Innocent Moyo

For over 20 years, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region has failed to institute a free movement protocol to enhance regional integration. This has led to disparate and nationalistic migration management approaches and this is part of the problem that has led to cross-border security challenges in the SADC region. Thus, this paper argues that problems such as irregular migration, cross-border crime, arms, human trafficking, etc. cannot be stopped by militarization and securitization of borders, but rather there is a need for a coordinated approach to migration by all SADC nation-states. This approach should tackle migration and cross-border-related challenges.


Political Violence and Displacement in the Central Sahel: The Role of Borders, Armed Groups, Urbanization, and Securitization

Matthew Pflaum

This paper examines the tendency for diffusion of violence in the Central Sahel region around Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Algeria and Mali through the perspective of border factors (border security, checkpoints, securitization) and displacement of people during conflicts. The Malian conflict has displaced a significant number of citizens―estimated at about 600,000―who have moved to different regions in cities, villages, and displacement or refugee camps, along with other countries. These displacement camps are now present in every region of Mali. By leveraging ACLED data on violent events and results of a mixed design survey conducted in three regions of Mali (Maacina in Ségou; Douentza in Mopti; Bougouni in Bamako), this study analyzes the potential links between displacement, borders, conflict, armed groups, security and migration. The paper argues that rather than contributing to violence, displaced persons are instead increasingly vulnerable to violence because of their lack of shelter, security and protection, proposing that displaced persons are a rather chronic target of insecurity by extremists, armed groups and communities that treat them as foreign or non-autochthonous.

However, the widespread displacement of people in the region may likewise spatially shift the spatiality of violent events, through thus far unknown mechanisms and processes. While there has been significant empirical evidence for diffusion of violence into Niger and Burkina Faso via the Mali conflict, there have recently been violent events possibly linked in Togo, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire―suggesting complex factors are contributing to diffusion that may involve migration, borders, displacement, and strategies of armed groups. Alternatively, the forced displacement of people may be intensifying and inflaming local communal tensions and violence, as previously evidenced in Nigeria’s Middle Belt and the southward expansion of Fulani and other groups. By combining spatial and temporal analyses of violent events in the region, specifically around borders like Mali-Burkina Faso, Burkina Faso-Togo, and Mali-Niger, along with results of the mixed survey that asked qualitative and quantitative questions about displacement (number of movements, origin region, sources of insecurity), this paper hopes to clarify the complex factors that produce diffusion of insecurity alongside significant volitional and forced movement of people in the region.

14:30-16:30 Room 123 MC2

Borders Reloaded!

Chair: Juan M. Trillo-Santamaría, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Borders Reloaded! From Challenges to Opportunities for Cross-Border Regionalism
Christophe Sohn, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (Liser)

De-Bordering, Ordering, War: Making and Breaking the Barents Region
Aileen Aseron Espiritu, The Arctic University of Norway

The Finnish-Russian Border Revisited: Rebordering the Pragmatic Frame
Jussi Laine, University of Eastern Finland

Bordering and Re-bordering the Japan-Korea Identity Nexus in the Cold War Era
Alexander Bukh, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Borders in Transition: Externalization of EU Border Practice as a Key Dimension of Europeanization in SEE Region
Marta Zorko, Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia (V)


Session Abstract

These three sessions aim to examine the impact that rebordering shocks generate on cross-border cooperation, the principles, beliefs and conceptions of the world that underlie it and that steer the discursive and political construction of cross-border regions. In recent years, several (geo)political events (e.g., Brexit, the ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe, the rise of populism and the global COVID-19 pandemic) have induced border closures and triggered the hardening of border regimes. Although these various events have each been the subject of particular attention as regards their effects on border regions and, in particular, on the daily practices of their inhabitants, their longer-term consequences for the meaning and scope of cross-border cooperation remain understudied.


Borders Reloaded! From Challenges to Opportunities for Cross-Border Regionalism

Christophe Sohn

This paper aims to introduce the research topic of the three thematic sessions entitled “Borders Reloaded! The Impacts of Rebordering Shocks on Cross-Border Cooperation.” Taking stock of the succession of border shocks that have occurred over the past decade (e.g. Brexit, the ‘refugee crisis,’ the rise of national-populist movements and the COVID-19 pandemic), the proposed line of inquiry will examine how such a rebordering dynamic affects the ideas that underlie cross-border cooperation and more broadly cross-border regionalism in various regions around the world. Three underlying hypotheses are presented and discussed. First, rebordering dynamics are conceived as a multifaceted and mutiscalar process, characterized by the resurgence of border barriers and controls and, more widely, the proliferation of imaginaries that portray borders as markers of national sovereignty. Rather than isolating the effect of a particular border shock on cross-border cooperation, the current investigation is thus concerned with the transformations induced by a general trend. Second, to understand the changes that affect cross-border regionalism, special attention will be paid to the evolution of ideas (beliefs, claims and conceptions about the world) and discourses (collections of ideas) mobilized by the actors involved in cross-border cooperation and confronted with rebordering. This constructivist perspective will draw on literature in political science (i.e., discursive institutionalism), which contends that ideas play a central role in institutional and policy change. Third, if rebordering shocks undoubtedly represent a major challenge for cross-border cooperation stakeholders, the implications for the development of borderlands are not necessarily always negative; innovative ideational and discursive processes may also occur as a way for the local and regional actors to cope with such challenges. Two coping mechanisms in particular are considered: (1) According to an ‘accommodating’ mechanism, actors borrow ideas fueled by rebordering and mingle them within their discourse; (2) According to a ‘transformative’ mechanism, actors take up the gauntlet posed by rebordering to imagine new ideas and approaches that reinforce their claims for cross-border regional integration


De-bordering, Ordering, War: Making and Breaking the Barents Region

Aileen Aseron Espiritu

Described as one of the apparent successes of region-building in the post-Cold War period, the Barents Region was founded in 1993 from the chaotic end of the Soviet era and the beginnings of a new Russian nation-state. The Barents Region as a politically constructed geographical space was advanced institutionally and economically by the Norwegian state and local/regional people-to-people public diplomacy as a peace project. Goodwill for a new era of openness and cooperation with Russia, the potential for a larger market for Norway and Finland, access to Europe for Russia and cross-border and transnational cooperation were the foundations of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (BEAR). Nearly 30 years old, the seemingly robust and stable people-to-people cooperation with Russia has been suspended indefinitely.

I aim to analyze how Russia’s war with Ukraine manifests itself in the border region between Norway and Russia. The rebordering and reordering processes for the Norwegian border municipality of Sør-Varanger (South Varanger) has come as an economic, social, cultural and political shock for the residents of this municipality and what its future might hold as the Russian border hardens. Again, international events and decisions from the metropoles have affected this community, which is ostensibly remote from the centers of power. In the midst of this rebordering shock, the local government and stakeholders in Sør-Varanger as well as the Norwegian state are grasping for solutions as economic recession, the future of the Barents Region and the return to Cold War politics grip the everyday lives of its residents.


The Finnish-Russian Border Revisited: Rebordering the Pragmatic Frame

Jussi Laine

This paper examines the impact of rebordering shocks on cross-border cooperation and relations between Finland and the Russian Federation. Following a series of crises, the Russian invasion of Ukraine can be seen as the final tipping point that fundamentally changed the long standing neighborly, collaborative context. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine not only violated the independence, sovereignty, self-determination and territorial integrity of Ukraine but also changed the entire security situation in Europe. The paper approaches the drastic developments from the perspective of another bordering country, Finland, where the currently situation is being carefully—if not fearfully—followed. The two countries share significant overlaps in history, colored by traumatic experiences of wars but also by pragmatic forms of collaboration. The role of the Finnish-Russian border has been highly varied, reflecting not only Finnish-Russian relations but also changes in global (geo)politics. Once again, the significance of the border is changing. By showcasing recent empirical examples of rebordering, both concrete and perceptual, the paper presents the border as an illuminating laboratory in which to study border change by pitting common history, cross-border cooperation and interdependencies against the realistic politics, rebordering forces and increasingly prominent threat perceptions. In the past, local and regional level cross-border cooperation has been seen to provide an alternative avenue for cooperation when inter-state relations go sour and it also plays a vital role in eventually re-establishing relations. Given the severity of the current content, this paper ponders to what extent that observation still holds true, how the strategies of local and regional stakeholders are affected and what all this means for the resilience of the border regions?


Bordering and Re-Bordering the Japan-Korea Identity Nexus in the Cold War Era

Alexander Bukh

Japan’s defeat in WWII and the subsequent collapse of the Japanese Empire led to a number of significant changes to its borders. One such change was the decoupling of the Korean Peninsula, which for thirty years had been an integral part of the Japanese Empire. This physical change in the border between the two nations was accompanied by a discursive change in the construction of Japan’s identity. The Korean “other,” which played an important and non-univocal role in the construction of Japan’s imperial identity, virtually disappeared from the public discourse in Japan. However, the rapprochement between Japan and South Korea in the early 1960s, brought about by the Cold War imperatives, resulted in the emergence of two contending identity narratives on Japan-Korea relations, aimed at re-bordering the relationship between the Japanese “self” and the Korean “other.” One, advocated by the conservative mainstream, promoted a somewhat hierarchical but also brotherly relationship between the two nations, located on the same side of the Cold War divide. The other, which came from civil society groups and progressive intellectuals, called for solidarity with Korea based on the people versus the ruling elites dichotomy. This paper seeks to analyze these two narratives, the factors behind their emergence, their similarities and differences as the well as the causes behind the failure of the “solidarity” narrative to gain traction in the Japanese society.


Borders in Transition: Externalization of EU Border Practice as Key Dimension of Europeanization in SEE Region

Marta Zorko

In the process of making borders and/or crossing borders in the contemporary world, three variables are affecting borderlands: border dynamic (daily exchange of peoples and goods), migration flows (regular and irregular) and security. Those variables are the key challenges for EU external borders as well.

Borders in transition refers specifically to the region of SEE where the main trend in (re)making borders is twofold change. The first part of transition refers to geographical patterns of moving the external border and “Europeanization of territory.” The second part of transition is cyclical and refers to the practice of hardening borders. The hardening process of border practice begins with formation of national borders of newly recognized states. The changing nature of borders continued in the form an external EU (Schengen) border dividing the region. The final stage in this cyclic process refers to “Europeanization of border practice” in the form of a potential future integrated Schengen area with no formal administrative borders in this region once again.

This research strives to define common border practice in integrated and not yet integrated parts of SEE and their exceptions in order to underline concepts of good practice as opposed to security omissions and their potential consequences. The comparative case study method of interpretation accompanied by field research will serve as the research design in order to highlight the connections between border practices, mechanisms used for border crossings (after the migration crisis in 2015/2016) and perspectives on border imaginations (perceptions of border creations) in the region of South East Europe.

14:30-16:30 Room 208 MC3 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/QCu8wABcdqM

Border Dynamics after Covid 19

Chair: Samuel Okunade, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Becoming (Hyper-) Aware of Cross-Border Interdependencies―Covid Fencing and the Othering of Cross-Border Commuters at the Bavarian-Czech Border
Stefan Blossfeldt, University of Koblenz, Germany

Cross-Border (Im)Mobility among Students at the Dutch-German Border
Vincent Pijnenburg & Henderijn Heldens, Fontys University of Applied Science, the Netherlands

Revisiting the Quest for de facto Statehood in the Context of COVID-19: New Comparative Insights into Isolation, Agency and Capacity
Eiki Berg, University of Tartu, Estonia

The Changes in the Barriers to the European Cross-Border Educational Projects Supported by the INTERREG Programme – the COVID-19 Pandemic Effect
Joanna Kurowska-Pysz, The Research Institute on Territorial and Inter-Organizational Cooperation, WSB University,


Becoming (Hyper-) Aware of Cross-Border Interdependencies―Covid Fencing and the Othering of Cross-Border Commuters at the Bavarian-Czech Border

Stefan Blossfeldt

Treating borders as practices of socio-spatial differentiation has made it possible for researchers to critically engage with the selective constructions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ that often undergird the discrimination between desired and unwanted forms of cross-border mobility. Against the background of the ongoing pandemic and various attempts of covidfencing across and beyond Europe, the significance of this perspective appears far from being exhausted. This paper thus mobilizes the well-established notion of bordering, ordering and othering as an analytical framework to examine the public debate concerning cross-border commuters in the Bavarian-Czech border region. The assessment is based on an extensive review of issues from two local Bavarian newspapers published between 2006 and 2021. Initially, a search for variations of the term “cross-border commuter” was conducted to compile a set of relevant articles. The drastic increase in the theme’s coverage during the pandemic suggests a shift in public awareness of the significant amount of Czech cross-border commuters working in Bavaria. However, the qualitative assessment of the material points towards a delicate relation between the multi-scaled political efforts to control the pandemic, the bordering of cross-border mobility and the othering of cross-border commuters in the public discourse.


Cross-Border (Im)Mobility among Students at the Dutch-German Border

Vincent Pijnenburg & Henderijn Heldens

EU border regions are considered to be the living labs of European integration. It is difficult, however, to capture the level of integration. An indicator that provides information on the degree of integration is cross-border (im)mobility, though it does not provide a complete answer. Furthermore, (im)mobility across borders can be applied to all kind of target groups. So far, research has been conducted on cross-border (im)mobility among employees, consumers and entrepreneurs, but not yet among students. However, students as future employees, can play an important role in creating vibrant cross-border labor markets because they are part of higher education institutions that are often strongly rooted in the region.

This paper sheds light on the cross-border (im)mobility among students in the Dutch-German Euroregion Rhine-Meuse-north. A Dutch university of applied sciences, located almost on the Dutch-German border, was selected as a case study because of the Euroregional student population at this university of applied sciences. In fact, about 60% of the students hold German nationality, 30% hold Dutch nationality and 10% come from other countries. This makes it an interesting case to investigate why students study across borders and whether students also live and do internships across borders.

Based on the threshold of the indifference ‘model’ (Van der Velde & Van Houtum, 2004), by means of a mixed method research design, this study examined how indifferent students are in terms of studying, living and doing internships across borders. Secondary data on cross-border mobility in internships and graduate projects before, during and after the Covid-19 restrictions were analyzed. In addition to the secondary data, primary data were collected through a survey among the students with the aim of examining if and why they exceeded the threshold of indifference.

The study reveals that the threshold of indifference is exceeded by a large part of the population, probably due to the Euroregional context in which they study. However, in terms of living and completing internships, this does not lead to cross-border mobility because ‘stay’ factors prevail over the ‘go’ factors. Thereby, students tend to be more positive about cross-border mobility than the figures show. The study shows that the number of students, many of whom have made the choice to study in the neighboring country, undertaking internships across the border is very small. However, since the percentage of students completing internships across borders is already very low, Covid-19 seems only to be an additional reason for immobility without spectacular consequences on cross-border mobility. Another result was that international students from outside the Netherlands and Germany did not seem to be guided by national borders at all when looking for an internship position and spread out fairly heterogeneously over the Euroregional territory. Finally, in terms of cross-border studying, pull factors in particular are cited by international students as reasons to study in the Netherlands.


Revisiting the Quest for de facto Statehood in the Context of COVID-19: New Comparative Insights into Isolation, Agency and Capacity

Eiki Berg

This study takes advantage of the exogenous shock of the COVID-19 pandemic to advance the comparative study of de facto statehood by generating new insights into two main areas of focus: 1) de facto states’ respective levels of international isolation vs. engagement and 2) their respective levels of capacity to act. We do not argue that the pandemic caused or exacerbated differences between de facto states on these measures as much as we argue that it provided a powerful X-ray or diagnostic tool from which to view them. Our research implies that the geographic spread of the virus was not so much determined by the isolationist measures taken in the form of border closures and travel restrictions but mostly by the capacity to face this challenge. Hence, we believe the pandemic is ideally suited to this task because the response to it also varied widely among sovereign states.


The Changes in the Barriers to the European Cross-Border Educational Projects Supported by the INTERREG Programme – the COVID-19 Pandemic Effect

Joanna Kurowska-Pysz

The research problem concerns the differences in cross-border cooperation barriers, especially those related to the pandemic, in cross-border educational projects supported by the INTERREG Programme and realised within the European borderlands which are at different levels of CBC development: the Polish-Czech borderland (a lower level of CBC development) and the Franco-German borderland (a higher level of CBC development).

The paper aims to recognize the changes in the barriers to cross-border educational projects, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The author utilised qualitative research methods (desk research, in-depth interview, case study). The research period was 2021-2022.  The target groups of the individual in-depth interviews were representatives of the team responsible for cross-border educational projects and students participating in these projects. The subjects of the case study were two cross-border projects focused on educational activities amd supported by the INTERREG Programme. The above-mentioned projects are implemented in areas varied in terms of the level of development of cross-border cooperation. A comparative analysis of these projects allowed for distinguishing the crucial differences between them.

The author based on the individual typology of the barriers which was defined during the study visit to universities conducted educational cross-border projects within the Franco-German and Polish-Czech borderlands. This reveals the dynamism of changing CBC barriers in cross-border projects, especially the new groups of barriers that have appeared during the pandemic. The analysed types of barriers were divided into three groups:

– the barriers caused by various formal restrictions,

– the barriers caused by changes in the way of conducting cross-border projects,

– the barriers caused by changes in the behaviours of the target groups involved in CBC, especially project staff and students.

An exploratory study covered the barriers existing before the pandemic that stayed stable or have changed during the pandemic, and the barriers that have appeared then. Within both borderlands, the identified barriers were similar in general; however, their intensity was varied. The key difference was the approach to these barriers within each borderland. On the Franco-German border, cross-border cooperation is more complex and deeper, and on the Polish-Czech border, it is more superficial and focused on specific issues only. These differences reveal the solutions that should be implemented to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on those projects within each borderland.




14;30-16:30 Room 207 MC4

Governing Electricity in the Face of Political Boundaries in Divided Cities

Chair: Itay Fishendler, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Infrastructure Sovereignty: Battling over Energy Hegemony in Jerusalem
Marik Shtern, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Infrastructuring a Cold War Frontier: Electricity Provision in the Divided Berlin, 1948‒1990
Timothy Moss, Humboldt University, Germany

Conceptualizing the Meaning of Energy Islands: A Dynamic Boundary Approach
Elai Rettig, Fiona Schlecht, Itay Fishhendler, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Navigating Grid Interdependence. Electricity Networks in a Divided Cyprus, 1963 to the Present
Timothy Moss, Marik Shtern, Ourania Papasozomenou, Sertac Sonan, Cyprus International University


Session Abstract

Electricity is a basic provision needed to maintain the functioning of modern cities. However, cities often undergo political processes of division and unification. The aim of this session is to examine how these political processes affect the provision of electricity and vice versa: the role of electricity provision in demarcating political boundaries. These questions will be discussed vis-à-vis several cities, including Jerusalem, Nicosia, and Berlin. Adopting a temporal and spatial prism, papers in this session will examine questions such as: how do the interactions between different boundaries establish a variety of energy islands; how does the energy infrastructure change once a city is divided and when it is unified; is energy a source of contestation or does it bridge the gap created by political divides? The session will establish a basis for further research concerning how infrastructure, the environment and urbanism interact in the face of political and environmental turmoil.


Infrastructure Sovereignty: Battling over Energy Hegemony in Jerusalem

Marik Shtern

This paper explores the intersection between nationality, divided cities, and critical infrastructures through the lens of urban infrastructure politics. It analyzes the struggle between the Israeli government and the Palestinian national movement over the Jerusalem District Electricity Company between 1967 and 1987. Based primarily on archival documents and sources, we suggest that each political community strives to obtain “infrastructure sovereignty.” Furthermore, we propose analyzing the contestation through six socio-technical control arenas: spatial, technical, regulative, financial, executive and discursive, thus exposing the practices used to obtain and challenge urban socio-technical hegemony.


Infrastructuring a Cold War Frontier: Electricity Provision in the Divided Berlin, 1948‒1990

Timothy Moss

This paper explores how electricity infrastructure was used as an instrument to enforce and sustain the separation of West and East Berlin, but also how the materiality of infrastructure posed limitations on (geo-)political enrolment, resulting in varying degrees of energy control, autarky and collaboration across the Cold War era.


Conceptualizing the Meaning of Energy Islands: A Dynamic Boundary Approach

Elai Rettig, Fiona Schlecht, Itay Fishhendler

The term ‘energy island’ has increasingly been used to describe widely different understandings of energy connectivity and isolation. While some use the term to refer to physically isolated and self-sufficient islands, such as Cyprus or Taiwan, others use it to refer to ‘political islands’ that elect to isolate their energy systems from their surroundings, such as Israel or South Korea. The term has also come to refer to microgrids that allow communities, cities or autonomous regions to disconnect from the national grid for various reasons. Similarly, while some describe energy islands as vulnerable and in need of connectivity, others view them as holding advantages during crisis, or as a symbol of sovereignty and independence. In this paper we unpack the term ‘energy island’ and conceptualize it as a function of three dynamic boundaries: a physical boundary, a political boundary and an energy service boundary. We demonstrate how the relationship and alignment between these boundaries create different models of energy islands and lead to different policy trajectories that move from one model to another. Through a better conceptualization of the term, we can improve our understanding of why and when policymakers choose to promote different policy trajectories among energy islands, and what mechanisms of seclusion and connectivity they employ to advance different policy outcomes.


 Navigating Grid Interdependence. Electricity Networks in a Divided Cyprus, 1963 to the Present

Timothy Moss, Marik Shtern, Ourania Papasozomenou, Sertac Sonan

At a time when insecurities and uncertainties around the grid in Europe and elsewhere are growing, this paper explores the politics of cross-border electricity connections and investigates how electricity infrastructures—and the cross-border grid in particular—have acted as a manifestation and medium of inter-communal political relations in Cyprus since the collapse of the bi-communal government structure (made up of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots) in 1963. Historical examples of political contestation over cross-border electricity infrastructure can, we argue, prove highly instructive for current debates about cross-border energy cooperation.

Despite the richness of generic scholarship on the material politics, power geographies and securitized geopolitics of the electricity grid, the function of cross-border electricity systems in the context of geopolitically charged ethnic conflict is relatively absent from the literature. Indeed, the emergent research on cross-border grids is valuable in taking the debate about electricity interconnectors beyond the realm of energy engineers and economists, and revealing their fate to be tied closely to geopolitical ambitions, national sensitivities and the physicality of energy infrastructures. However, this literature is still limited in scope primarily to interconnectors that are being planned, rather than ones already in existence. Based on the review of the pertinent literature, we identify five original contributions of this paper to state-of-the-art research, which target gaps in social sciences research of electricity grids in contested contexts: First, the paper studies a cross-border grid in operation, rather than just in the planning phase. This enables us to explore the use, disuse and reuse of the grid at different times, challenging the assumption that issues of connectivity are resolved once an interconnector is in place. Second, we shift the focus away from new interconnectors to the emergence of a cross-border grid out of political division, thus enabling us to draw parallels with other contexts of state disintegration. Third, the paper unpacks the technopolitics of a contested grid over a long period of time. It thus reveals how changing circumstances reconfigure dependencies around the transboundary grid in material, political and symbolic ways. Fourth, the story reveals how, despite the political nature of the island’s grid, engineers from both communities have tried to depoliticize grid connections in Cyprus, keeping them hidden from the public eye and largely free from ongoing bi-communal conflict. Finally, the paper embraces the ambivalence of the grid, explicating through the Cyprus case how it can act as a conduit for connection, dependency and control at the same time.

14:30-16:30 Room 213 MC5

The Spirit of Borders I

Chair: Tal Yaar, Oranim College of Education, Israel

Popular Imagination of Cartographic Anxiety: India-Pakistan Relations in the Narratives of Bollywood Movies
Vaishali Raghuvanshi, Dept of Political Science, Banaras Hindu, University, India

“Till Border Do Us Part”: Social and Political Dimensions of Marriages as a Topic and Language of Border Art
Andrea Masala, University of Grenoble – Alpes, France

The Passion at the Border: Border Representations in Theater
Malgorzata Budzowska, University of Lodz, Poland

Of Borders and Memories: Erased Boundaries in the Land of Israel
Tal Yaar, Oranim College of Education, Israel



Session Abstract

Borders are not only “lines in the landscape”; their influence is profound, and their existence might exert long term significant effects. Boundaries stay in our souls, sometimes long after they are removed. This session aims to discuss those effects on individuals and on societies, to clarify long-term consequences of boundaries, their impact on places and on people.

In the session we focus on the ways in which a border’s education may affect people’s long-term perceptions. People who were educated to understand borders in their childhood are now facing new boundaries and new perceptions of borders’ existence. Effective education of youngsters about borders and the need to discuss borders’ benefits and disadvantages presents a major challenge today. Education about borders changes across time and place, we believe curricula from our youth formed our perceptions regarding boundaries. How should we be teaching borders nowadays?

We will try to discover what happens when locations or functions of boundaries change. Effects of globalization, post-global processes and of course the pandemic brought about huge changes in borders, in their functions and in their structures. These changes have generated discussions among people and governments about their perceptions of the necessity of boundaries, influencing perceptions. These perceptions are expressed in many various arts forms.

Hundreds of kilometers of fences and walls have been erected during the last decade and continue to be built today. What will the coming generations think about it? What do we want them to think?

Teachers and educators, as well as sociologists, historians or artists may find this session relevant and of interest.


Popular Imagination of Cartographic Anxiety: India-Pakistan Relations in the Narratives of Bollywood Movies.

Vaishali Raghuvanshi

This paper is an attempt to map the modes by which cinematic narratives, mediated through the means of performative communication of Bollywood, portray the psychology of cartographic fundamentalism. Situating the imaginary of Hindi cinema pertaining to the divided cartographies of the Indian subcontinent, the paper looks at the ways in which the power of performative communication attempts to construct the psychology of border cleavages between India and Pakistan in the demotic consciousness of the viewers. As regards cinematic representations themselves, they play a definitive role in constructing popular imagination regarding the issues of identity, refugee crisis and notions of cultural and psychic frontiers. The effects on collective imagination can be visualized by engaging with the narratives and powerful images that cinema is capable of presenting to viewers. This in turn helps construct and deconstruct the popular notions by altering the dialectics of cognitive mapping. Placing our analysis in this conceptual framework, the paper examines how the psychology of divided cartographies becomes inextricably linked to the nationalist construction of the image of India as the righteous self and the portrait of Pakistan as the vicious other and country’s primary enemy. The movies that have been analyzed in the paper are Border (1997) and LoC (2003). These movies portrayed frontiers as conflict-ridden non-porous zones. The paper employs discourse analysis as its methodology and discusses the cinematic reconstruction of the idea of the divided cartographies of the subcontinent on the foundations of the epistemic framework of critical geopolitics.



“Till Border Do Us Part”: Social and Political Dimensions of Marriages as a Topic and Language of Border Art

Andrea Masala

In 1988, the two famous border artists, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Emily Hicks, celebrated their trans-border marriage on both sides of the US/Mexican boundary line. The political and performative dimensions of their ceremony not only provide a significant cultural image of the relationships, occurring at borders, between politics, society and life, but this also represents a classic example of what is now a common and significant topic in the artistic and visual sphere produced at, from and about the border (Amilhat Szary 2012). Marriage as a theme and as a performative language in Border Art represents the main issue addressed in this research. The latter brings on an interdisciplinary analysis that moves between contemporary art theories, recent developments of cultural border studies and social sciences, in order to fulfill a multilayered comprehension of this artistic aspect on an international level.

This study focuses on a diversified selection of case-studies originating from different border contexts—such as the same US/Mexican one, the Berlin Wall, the Israeli-Palestinian division, and other European and Schengen international limits—where numerous artists, performers and film directors are addressing marriages and civil unions in their artistic production. Between them, Raeda Saadeh, Eija-Riitta Eklöf, Marina Abramovic, Chto Delat, etc. are working through performances, installations, spectacles, artivist or conceptual interventions that restitute a kaleidoscopic prism of social, political and psychological bordering processes. This investigation, however, does not intend to merely proceed with a comparative methodology between several semiotic declinations and cultural contexts; rather it aims to highlight and understand  international phenomenology of this artistic genre through the application of the theoretical lenses provided by border aesthetics (Schimanski & Wolfe 2017), border poetics (Schimanski & Wolfe 2007), and border wall aesthetics (Ganivet 2019)

Doing so will, firstly, allow us to fill a gap in the overall state of the art regarding Border Art. Secondly, this study will confirm the idea of Border Art as a useful instrument in grasping, in addition to the above-mentioned bordering processes, the discursive and political dimensions of borderscapes. It does not only occur in the increasing phenomenon of cross-border marriages, often enacted to avoid state limitations by obtaining citizenships and official documents, but it also assumes social shades in terms of straight and homosexual marriages, as well as civil unions and religious ceremonies, which often reflect internal in/exclusionary processes on which Border Art helps to reflect.



The Passion at the Border: Border Representations in Theater

Malgorzata Budzowska


The paper focuses on border representation in theatre. It will analyze how the theater makers of the performance “Responsibility” (2022, Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw, Poland) deal with the ethico-political issue of human rights transgressions at the Polish-Belarusian border in the last few months. There are two political facts: 1) the recent wave of African and Asian refugees at this border is caused by the deliberate operations of the Belarusian government to disturb Poland’s eastern border, which is at the same time an eastern flank of NATO and the EU; 2) the Polish government’s response is to close the border, build the wall, and declare a state of emergency in the border area. None of the political actors involved, neither Polish nor the Belarusian government, are interested in protecting the human rights of refugees at the borders, therefore both governments employ illegal procedures of pushbacks and trap refugees in between borders without any legal or humanitarian assistance, quite often using violence. As a result, many people lost their lives in the Polish and Belarusian forests at the border. The theater production “Responsibility” (directed by Michał Zadara) is a project that involves theater makers, lawyers and academics who try to represent the humanitarian crisis at the eastern EU border and ask who is responsible for this situation. The production assumes the form of an academic/performative lecture and verbatim theater that recalls individual stories of refugees. The overarching story is the tragic fate of Issa, a Syrian refugee who died at the Polish border because of an illegal pushback. The director gives this authentic story an artistic background by introducing the music and words of St Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach, thus, he is trying to express the suffering (gr. pathos/passion) of individuals exploited by biopolitics. The paper will scrutinize how artists, supported by lawyers and academics, struggle to find the most fitting way to express the current suffering of people at the borders—not by employing classical stories but by using non-fiction, an investigative theater form that becomes the most political form of art.



Of Borders and Memories: Erased Boundaries in the Land of Israel

Tal Yaar

Many places in the land of Israel used to be associated with the country’s borders, including sites of memory such as fortifications from all historical periods. Their presence in the landscape and their various uses are discussed in this session. Border lines and their functions have changed over the decades, but their remains and relics can still be seen in Israel; sometimes even hundreds of years have passed, yet these remains symbolize history and sometimes have national significance. Hence the major questions discussed are: What is the dynamic of their remaining part of, or else disappearing from the landscape? What factors play a part in the preservation of a border after its erasure?

The land of Israel has a long history of conquests, including imperial rulers who built walls and fortifications and left them behind. Moreover, the young State of Israel had highly fortified borders with its neighbors. Some of these lines were erased more than fifty years ago in 1967; some were newly fortified. A mixture of historical and current borders in the very same territory, sometimes with only a few meters between historical and modern lines, makes the memories from the past meaningful.

Memories stemming from the borders in Israel involve personal and national feelings and, therefore, they also have a vibrant formal and informal educational significance. For a visitor, the experience of getting close to a border can be a strong mixture of curiosity and fear. Many Israeli visitors know these feelings very well: going on a tour to the north, the east or the south gives them an opportunity to “look beyond the border” as they try to get an impression of what is happening on the “other side.” What are their memories stemming from a geographic boundary?

14:30-16:30 Room 214 MC6

Borders at the Movies I

Le Mur – The Wall (Belgium, 1998)

 The story is situated in Brussels, Belgium. Within this country, the separation between the Flemish and French speaking inhabitants becomes more extreme every day. Coming home after the millennium party, an owner of a French fries shop discovers that a kind of Berlin wall has been built overnight that runs right through his shop. Only by love, one appears able to cross the border.

The film was made for the 2000 millennium. Initiated by the French company, Hout et Court, as part of the production of films depicting the approaching turn of the millennium from the perspectives of ten different countries

14:30-16;30 Room 210 (Film) MC7

Coffe Break


Over the Borders: Non State Actors in the Arctic North

Chair: Victor Konrad, Carleton University, Ontario, Canada

The UArctic as a Non-State Regional Actor
Heather Nicol, Trent University, Canada

Functional Cooperation as a Means of Increasing Security and Protecting the Environment
Laasi Heininen, University of Lapland, Finland

Inuit Nunaat: A Land without Borders
Dalee Sambo Dorough, University of Alaska, USA

Rights Differentiation for Indigenous Communities that Straddle Borders
Michael Luoma, Queens University, Canada


Session Abstract

Over time, the emerging interest in the politics of the Arctic has led to: 1) increasing circumpolar cooperation by and between Indigenous people’s organizations, sub-national governments, environmental NGOs and the scientific community; and 2) region-building with unified-states as major actors; and 3) a new kind of relationship between the Arctic and the rest of the world, that is to say the emergence of a global Arctic paradigm. It has led to discussions with policy-makers and other experts at international academic and policy-oriented gatherings, not just through intergovernmental forums like the Arctic Council but also through organizations such as Northern Forum Assembly, Arctic Circle Assembly, Arctic Frontiers. Subsequent projects have developed to analyze current and emerging circumpolar northern issues, including security, the environment and regional development, and to share academic expertise with decision-makers and to create open, policy-oriented discussions among different stake-holders. The Arctic is now seen as place where the international system and its military structure have changed after new global and regional actors stepped onto the stage. This includes an intellectual and theoretical ecosystem that serves as a forum for discussion across public, academic and political sectors. This panel focuses on Indigenous and academic networks that orient such discussions.


The UArctic as a Non-State Regional Actor

Heather Nicol

Contemporary rounds of globalization have changed the saliency of non-state and sub-national actors and agencies within the circumpolar region. Much like the Arctic Council project, which supports supranational regional intergovernmental cooperation, UArctic overcomes the political map by networking post-secondary institutions. Rather than supporting a concrete institution with a singular regional focus, the network instead supports coordinated, integrated and region-wide activity with the aim of leveraging global resources for regional development.

This raises several intriguing questions. To what extent does UArctic  lead the organization and coordination of scholarship within the circumpolar region in relation to the independent activities of member and non-member institutions?  Moreover, while we know that today UArctic remains among the most successful regional educational actors, having grown exponentially in terms of programming and membership over the past two decades, what is the value of the institution in terms of its scholarly versus regionalizing outcomes? How can the UArctic orientation towards capacity building for northern development also be understood as inclusive of Indigenous viewpoints? These are difficult questions to answer; nonetheless, they are important in understanding UArctic as an actor in the Circumpolar region. We attempt to provide answers by exploring the work of UArctic and its member institutions.  


Functional Cooperation as a Means of Increasing Security and Protecting the Environment

Laasi Heininen

During this turbulent period in world politics, and global environmental catastrophe, it is important to examine the role of non-state actors and the benefits, particularly with regard to ‘functional cooperation’—both locally and globally. States are failing to secure the everyday life of their citizens, raising the possibility that the unified state system itself has become a fundamental obstacle for efficient management of the global environment. This presentation first examines the way in which cross-border cooperation has been occurring through non-state and sub-national actors and civil societies in the circumpolar Arctic. Second, it analyzes the nature and outcomes of ‘functional cooperation’ to increase security and confidence, as well as protect the environment. Finally, it discusses how a new regional cooperation and identity can be used in facing globalization and in creating new ways to respond to the environmental catastrophe and form new kinds of civil society relationships.


Inuit Nunaat: A Land without Borders

Dalee Sambo Dorough

Since 1977, the Inuit across Chukotka, Alaska, Canada and Greenland have sought to remove the imposed barriers and borders that have separated our people and impaired our united efforts. This presentation will examine the historical barriers, consistent advocacy and more significantly the opportunities emerging in the realm of Indigenous human rights standards and elsewhere.


Rights Differentiation for Indigenous Communities that Straddle Borders

Michael Luoma

This paper examines the normative justification for special rights for Indigenous peoples whose traditional territories straddle contemporary international borders. Examining the Mohawks of Akwesasne (Quebec, Ontario and New York state) and the Tohono O’odham people (Arizona and Sonora Mexico) as cases, I demonstrate how state claims to territorial jurisdiction and border regulation often interfere with the lives of Indigenous peoples whose social, economic, spiritual and political activities cluster across contemporary international boundaries. Through the concept of group occupancy interests, I argue that members of Indigenous nations whose territories straddle borders possess special rights to access and use lands presently claimed by states of which they are not recognized citizens. Moreover, building on the territorial rights literature, which posits group occupancy as the foundation for group rights of self-determination and territorial control, I demonstrate how border-straddling Indigenous nations challenge the unlimited sovereignty of contemporary states. The occupancy and self-determination interests of Indigenous people may ground the moral claims of their nations to govern these territories and to co-manage international border crossings with states. Finally, I argue that collective interests in cross-border political identities and self-determination can ground the rights of Indigenous groups to form a unified cross-border jurisdictional unit that demands recognition by states.



17:00-19:00 Room 122 MD1 BIG Panel 5

Global Border Geopolitics: Regional Comparisons

Chair: Alexander Murphy, University of Oregon, USA

Geopolitics and the Future Borders in the Middle-East
Shlomo Hasson, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

South American Borders and Frontiers as (Common) Resources
Adriana Dorfman, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Post-Partition Borders and Connectivity Conundrum: Re-spatializing (South)Asia?
Sanjay Chaturvedi, University of South Asia, Delhi, India

Peaceful Borders and Illicit Transnational Flows
Arie M. Kacowicz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Georgetown University (V)


Geopolitics and the Future Borders in the Middle-East

Shlomo Hasson

This study focuses on the interaction between geopolitical developments and the future borders in the Middle-East. At the center of the study are four major questions:

What are the main features of the current state borders in the Middle-East?

What are the major drivers shaping the relations between and within states and the nature of borders in the Middle-East?

What are the possible geopolitical scenarios for the Middle-East?

What are the implications of these scenarios for the future of borders and sovereignty in the Middle East?

The current literature suggests a variety of answers to the first question ranging from the demise of borders and erosion of sovereignty, through porous borders, closed borders, contentious and disputed borders, maintenance of borders and cross-border cooperation.

Current reality points to the complexity of the border system. Thus, for instance, Israel lacks agreed upon borders with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon. States such as Syria, Lebanon and Yemen have de jure recognized borders, but de facto this is less relevant given the internal division and the absence of state sovereignty over large parts of these countries.

To answer the questions posed above, the study proceeds in four steps:

A review of the literature relating to borders in the Middle-East.

Identification of the major political, diplomatic, military, economic, social, environmental and technological drivers at the global, regional and intra-state levels that shape the nature of borders in the Middle-East.

Developing several scenarios regarding geopolitical futures and the nature of borders in the Middle-East.

Analysis of the geopolitical implications of the emerging border patterns in the Middle-East.


 South American Borders and Frontiers as (Common) Resources

Adriana Dorfman

Border regions and frontiers are alive in South America thanks to an array of projects led by state, private and social actors on multiple scales.

State territories and their boundaries are used as resources for private actors in search of raw materials and lands for cattle raising and export crops (soybean for example). The ability to build the infrastructure needed to include these primary matters in international trade brings back the state as a crucial actor. The same infrastructure attracts illegal activities (smuggling and drug trafficking), combining the possibility of escaping state control and of enjoying border differentials. Border control, thus, is no longer a matter of national security (managed by the Armed Forces), it becomes a public security issue (increasing the role of police agencies).

On a local scale, bordering became an important resource for social actors as well. Indigenous groups and Black populations realized that the control of their territory is key to preserving its political organization, its communal ties and its relation to nature (commons). Drawing these borders is a condition for their own survival.


Post-Partition Borders and Connectivity Conundrum: Re-spatializing (South)Asia? 

Sanjay Chaturvedi

The post-colonial boundaries in (South)Asia, perennially tempered by complex geospatial mutations of post-partition identity politics, are increasingly impacted by competing narratives of connectivity—especially China’s B&R initiative—in hitherto unanticipated ways. The extent to which these ‘transnational’ infrastructural projects—trapped in the triangular geometry of bordering, ordering and othering processes—will help overcome or further reinforce the socially entrenched partitioning logics on the Indian sub-continent remains to be explored through meticulously researched case studies. A bottom-up understanding of the wide-ranging implications of such pursuits with entangled logics for ‘borderlands as homelands’ will certainly contribute to broadening and deepening critical border studies in Asia and beyond. It is instructive as well as heartening to note the growing interest shown by emerging South Asian scholars in this exciting field of border research.


Peaceful Borders and Illicit Transnational Flows

Arie M. Kacowicz

Scholars of international relations generally consider that under conditions of violent conflict and war, smuggling and trans-border crime are likely to thrive. In contrast, this book argues that in fact globalization and peaceful borders have enabled transnational illicit flows conducted by violent non-state actors, including transnational criminal organizations, drug trafficking organizations and terrorist cells who exploit the looseness and demilitarization of borderlands. Empirically, the book draws on case studies from the Americas, compared with other regions of the world experiencing similar phenomena, including the European Union and Southeast Europe (the Western Balkans), Southern Africa, and Southeast Asia. To explain the phenomenon in itself, we examine the type of peaceful borders and border regimes involved in each case; how strong each country is in the governance of their borderlands; their political willingness to control their peaceful borders; and the prevailing socio-economic conditions across the borderlands.



17:00-19:00 Auditorium MD2 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/cj30GXquJGg

Cross-Border Shocks and Regional Resilience

Chair: Sylvia Gonzalez-Gorman, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, USA

Crossed by the Border: Youth Lived Experience with the North American Monsoon
Francisco Lara-Valencia, Hilda Garcia & Adriana Zuniga, Arizona State University, COLEF, and University of Arizona, USA

Knowledge Co-Generation and university-Private Sector Collaboration on the Mexico-United States Border
Jorge Carrillo and Saul de los Santos, COLEF

Regional Economic Resilience and Covid-19 on the US-Mexico Border
Pablo Wong Gonzales & Francisco Lara-Valencia, Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo, Mexico and Arizona State University, USA

The Intimate Sphere of the Conflicts on the Mexico-United States Border
Norma Iglesias Prieto, Department of Chicano Studies, San Diego State University, USA


Session Abstract

Although the border studies literature acknowledges the shifting function of borders and the vulnerability of economic flows, mobility and social interaction to bordering swings, few studies have used the concept of resilience to examine the ability of cross-border regions to withstand the disruption created by external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel focuses on the concept of resilience to examine the impact of sudden and disruptive events on the performance of border regions and the stability of cross-border interactions. The panel aims to assess the potential of the concept of resilience to improve our understanding of the role of local and extra-local factors in shaping cross-border dynamics from a multi-perspectival approach.


 Crossed by the Border: Youth Lived Experience with the North American Monsoon

Francisco Lara-Valencia, Hilda Garcia & Adriana Zuniga

This paper explores how children and young people experience and contextualize flooding and other rainfall-related hazards in an urbanized area along the U.S.-Mexico border. As spaces where two countries with unequal development levels converge, cities on the US-Mexico border are places marked by deep differences in their level of infrastructural development, disaster preparedness and socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Because of their adjacency and intense social integration, they engender cross-border hazardscapes, a spectrum of natural and man-made environmental conditions as well as social processes that pose risks to communities on both sides of the border. Understanding how children and youth perceive and talk about storm-related hazards and risks is the first step to understand their interaction with this cross-border hazardscape and mobilize their knowledge to increase the adaptability and resilience of border cities. The study is situated in Ambos Nogales, a border conurbation formed by Nogales, USA, and Nogales, Mexico. Through a case study based on qualitative information obtained via visual elicitation techniques and narratives, the paper reveals experiences and values that have not been exposed in prior research and have important implications for binational disaster management and prevention.


Knowledge Co-Generation and University-Private Sector Collaboration on the Mexico-United States Border

Jorge Carrillo and Saul de los Santos

The COVID-19 pandemic created a sense of urgency that has accelerated and amplified the creation of university-private sector partnerships worldwide. As recent reports indicate, after a brief period of uncertainty and decline, the number of collaborations between universities and companies multiplied in 2020, mainly in the field of biotechnology but also in areas such as analysis of vulnerable groups, information technologies, business support and social communication (Coates, 2021; Stockman, 2021; Stoten, 2020; Zimmer, Corum, & Wee, 2021). Although universities and the business sector respond to different imperatives, the health emergency has made it even more necessary to combine resources, skills and perspectives from both sectors to quickly fill information gaps created or magnified by the pandemic. The pandemic also created unique social situations, resulting in new research questions and demanding new concepts, methodological approaches and research models. This paper provides an overview of the purposes, strategy and impact of GIDI, a collaborative model involving public universities and the private sector on the US-Mexico border to evaluate the economic disruption and resilience of businesses on both sides of the border during and after the pandemic.


Regional Economic Resilience and Covid-19 on the US-Mexico Border

Pablo Wong Gonzales & Francisco Lara-Valencia

The concept of regional resilience provides an appropriate conceptual approach to assessing the regional and subregional effects of the pandemic’s structural and institutional components. According to Davies (2011), it is possible to assess regional resilience by prioritizing three analytical dimensions, namely: (1) the amount of change that a regional economic system can tolerate without experiencing significant structural and functional alterations, (2) the speed and level of reorganization achievable after withstanding an external shock, and (3) the deployment of capacities to create and take advantage of opportunities to learn and adapt to the new environment. In economic terms, these dimensions can be operationalized, respectively, as the strength of a region to endure the pressures generated by a crisis, their ability to absorb the impact and recover quickly and their ability to learn, adapt and project themselves onto a more resilient growth path. However, given that the crisis created by the pandemic is not only relatively new and has maintained continuous pressure on the US-Mexico border economy since the beginning of 2020, the present analysis focuses only on the first two dimensions of regional economic resilience. Consequently, it omits the consideration of long-term regional adaptability. Specifically, it examines the differentiated behavior of local economies in the border regions of northern Mexico and the southern United States in the context of the pandemic. To this end, the paper presents an analysis of the evolution of employment in Tijuana/San Diego, Mexicali/Calexico, San Luis Rio Colorado/Yuma, Santa Cruz/Nogales and Juárez/El Paso in terms of the capacity of these subregions to withstand the impact of the pandemic and then in terms of their ability to recover.


The Intimate Sphere of the Conflicts on the Mexico-United States Border

Norma Iglesias Prieto

What lessons do the personal and intimate experiences of the significant border conflicts on the US-Mexico border teach us? For example, how was the partial closure of the Tijuana and San Diego border due to the Covid-19 pandemic experienced by a transborder student? What does it mean emotionally and practically to suddenly become a forced transborder person? (A young Mexican American forced to move to Tijuana to keep the family together due to her father’s deportation, who must cross the border daily to go to her job and university.) How is the hyper-border control experienced by a young San Diego resident who must undergo prolonged medical treatment in Tijuana? What impact do the anti-Mexican political narratives and the arguments about the need for a giant wall have on a border student of Mexican origin and her self-image?

Based on the mental maps made by university students from San Diego, this paper will analyze how the conflicts and tensions between Mexico and the United States are experienced in the daily lives of different profiles of young border residents.

17:00-19:00 Room 207 MD3

The Spirit of Borders II

Chair: Elena Dell’agnese, University of Milan, Italy

Locating Heritage within Transnational Borders
Sudipto Mukhopadhyay, University of Kalyani, Murshidabad, West Bengal, India

The Kong Mountains and Their Imprint in Sahelian Africa
Michel Ben Arrous, Universita Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis, Senegal

Linguistics, Geography and Politics: Border and Language Dynamics in the Ukrainian-Russian Borderland (V)
Stanley Dubinsky, Harvey Starr, and Michael Gavin, University of South Carolina at Columbia, USA

Bordering “Nature”: Dystopian Landscapes and the Human-Nature Dualism
Elena Dell’agnese, University of Milan


Locating Heritage within Transnational Borders

Sudipto Mukhopadhyay

 Santals form the largest ethnic minority group in India and are considered large minority groups in Bangladesh and Nepal. Even beyond boundaries, their tradition and heritage are tied to their ethnic roots, their origin stories, their traditional myths and folklores and shared customs and language. Since mid 19th century European and American missionaries introduced literate culture within the adivasi lives and between 1890-1927, Norwegian missionary, Paul Olaf Bodding, facilitated an archive of written manuscripts containing the cultural history of the ethnic group with substantial assistance from Sagram Murmu, the first Santal author. However this extant documentation and other material objects collected and preserved by Rev. Bodding are currently housed at University of Oslo, Norway, and are quite beyond the reach of the origin community.

For the Santal community, the question of autonomy of history has always been thrust upon from the outside and mostly fraught with the problematics of land acquisition and border formation. Initially a jungle tract around the Rajmahal hills of Chhota Nagpur Plateau, commonly known as Damin-i-koh, was provided by the British Administration in 1832 as reserve for the adivasi life which eventually got marked as a district in 1855, the Santal Parganas, an integrated territory for the adivasis. After a century of fight over the autonomy of land, Jharkhand was territorialized to contain the adivasis in 2000 securing their rights over the land and its resources. The Constitution of India provides the legal rights to the Santals within this domicile, but deprives those who have been forced into migration- over a century back- of any share of history. Thus the Santal’s claim to its own history beyond the domestic border of Jharkhand remains much debated even today. I would like to situate my paper at this juncture to locate the problematics of claims of heritage within plural borders in context of the Santal community. With the current talks on transnational custodianship of the Sami tribes, the Santals, across borders, are negotiating for repatriation of archival documents and material objects preserved offshore. Yet India’s ambiguous position in UNDRIP in determining the nomenclature of the identity of the indigenous people place this repatriation process at bay. I would like to probe into this dialectic of border and heritage formation and discuss the operatives of the transnational collaborative that facilitate the configuration of the heritage of the Santal community.


 The Kong Mountains and their imprint in Sahelian Africa

Michel Ben Arrous

The lecture deals with a mountain range that featured on most maps of Africa throughout the nineteenth century but never existed. It briefly discusses the historical, political and epistemological factors that helped shape these fictional mountains. The focus is on their lasting imprint and impact on current (mis)conceptions of identity, borders and conflict in the Sahel―including how they have affected counterterrorism strategies over the past decade.

From the south of present-day Mali, the Kong Mountains stretched to Lake Chad, or even, in a maximalist version, to Abyssinia. A consensus emerged that they were blue, snow-capped, stupendously high and the source of the gold that had made the ancient Sudanese empires wealthy. The idea that they marked a boundary both physical and moral, between the desert North and the tropical South, and between the respective ‘qualities of mind’ of the peoples living on either side, was formulated by Major Rennell, the authoritative cartographer who first mapped them in 1798, based on a compilation of Greek and Arabic sources and the travel diary of explorer Mungo Park. Park’s detestation of ‘Moorish viciousness’ contrasted with an idyllic depiction of Mandinka hospitality. There is a striking parallel between his diary (1796) and that of Captain Binger (1890), who, upon reaching the kingdom of Kong (in present-day northern Côte d’Ivoire), famously exclaimed that the eponymous mountains existed only ‘in the imagination of a few misinformed travelers.’ Binger too drew moral lines (between the Jula he idealized and the surrounding ‘savageness’) and, like Park, pitted the idealized group against its neighbors without noticing their interdependent relationships within larger chains of societies. No longer having natural borders (mountains) at his disposal, he delineated what he perceived as ethnic territory through treaties―but the same mode of partitioning was at work, whereby supposedly stable borders organize the spatial distribution of distinctive and supposedly irreducible moral characters. Such an approach was and remains particularly groundless in the Sahel, where the spaces of government, of trade, of war at times, of language and of culture and religion overlap without necessarily coinciding. Closed entities are nowhere to be found in a region best understood as a thick and heterogeneous ‘shore’ (as the etymology indicates), a space of multiple transitions and gradual differentiations. Yet the quest for clear-cut borders, ideally with a moral overtone, survived the Kong Mountains, and its adverse repercussions are still being felt today.


Linguistics, Geography and Politics: Border and Language Dynamics in the Ukrainian-Russian Borderland

Stanley Dubinsky, Harvey Starr, and Michael Gavin

This lecture focuses on border stability in the “post-Ukraine” world, touching on borders, territorial and linguistic integrity, and the “hard shell of the state,” with particular attention to Ukraine and Russia. We distinguish between Territorial Integrity and Linguistic Integrity. Territorial Integrity is challenged by the disconnect between territory occupied by ethnolinguistic groups and states’ boundaries. When ethnolinguistic groups dominate intrastate regions, pressure for autonomy often threatens states’ territorial integrity. Simultaneously, ethnolinguistic groups’ territorial boundaries are difficult to determine, with migration and intermarriage leading to their being blurred. Accordingly, ethnolinguistic boundaries are artificial, contestable and changeable. Linguistic Integrity is challenged by language-dialect distinctions. How different must two dialects be to count as distinct languages? How similar can two dialects be without being regarded as a single language? Since linguistic differences are often arrayed along a spectrum called a dialect continuum, categorical boundaries distinguishing languages from each other are artificial, contestable and changeable.

One of the authors has noted that geography is dynamic, rather than immutable, unchanging or deterministic (as asserted in much earlier geopolitical research). Accounting for these two categories, we observe that language is also dynamic, and the two dynamisms interact. Borders respond to language variation, meaning that ethnolinguistic groups often fight for territorial control, leading to border changes. Likewise, borders disrupt dialect continua, meaning that people’s identity along a dialect continuum can be disrupted by geopolitics; shifts in how people see themselves can happen swiftly. Long term, these shifts affect languages themselves, with language policy and environment influencing language change.

The Ukrainian-Russian struggle is a conflict in which language is central to Ukrainian national-claims and Putin denying that Ukrainian is an autonomous language. Its features align it with two conflict types in our typology: Geo-political minority (GPM) conflict and Competition for linguistic dominance (CLD) conflict. GPM conflicts arise from changed borders (through political unification/dissolution, war and conquest or post-war treaties). These border changes affect language policy and environment and lead to language change. In CLD conflicts, ethnolinguistic groups each hold sway in some region of a country, one struggling for dominance over the other, and involve an ethnolinguistic minority denied cultural-linguistic identity by a dominant group. Applying these filters to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, we document ethnolinguistic impacts of border changes accompanying 250 years of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth control of Ukraine beginning in 1404, leading Ukrainian to evolve into a distinct language, and the ensuing Russian-Soviet domination of Ukraine in the 19th–20th centuries.


Bordering “Nature”: Dystopian Landscapes and the Human-Nature Dualism

Elena Dell’agnese

As is well known, a dystopia represents a world we do not want. As a narrative strategy, dystopia can be used to portray future projected fears of the present. In some ways, it can be used as a cautionary tale to ensure that what we fear does not happen. Of course, our fears may vary over time. If in the 19th century we were afraid of epidemics and in the 20th century of dictatorships, today we are more frequently afraid that our relationship with the environment will be undermined by our behaviors, resulting in ecological catastrophes and irreversible changes. In classic dystopian narratives, nature is sometimes gated beyond a border to highlight how nature-culture dualism is bound to be more pronounced in the future. So, in the novel We (1924), a gigantic Green Wall separates One State’s political community from the forbidden and untamed jungle, offering a contrast between the disorder/freedom/innocence of “nature” and the imposed order of the humanized landscape. Likewise, in Brave New World (1932), a portion of the planet is kept as a “Savage Reservation.” Delimited by an electric fence, the area is inhabited by “savages,” that is to say by people who follow the rules of “nature” rather than those imposed by the World State. By contrast, the World State is fully urbanized, because the love of nature, which keeps citizens away from the factories, has been abolished by law.

The paper will investigate the representations of borders between culture and nature in dystopian narratives from an Ecocritical geopolitics perspective to examine the environmental discourse underlying them.

17:00-19:00 Room 208 MD4

Tourism & Geopolitical Borders

Chair: Alon Gelbman, Kineret Academic College, Israel

Tourism Sport Event and Peace
Alon Gelbman, Kineret College, Israel

Regional Tourism, Local Border Knowledge, and Trans-frontier Consumer Landscapes
Dallen J Timothy, Arizona State University, USA, and Roger Marjavaara, Umeå University, Sweden.

Cross-Cultural Understanding of Global Multicultural Tourism Workforce: The Case of Israel (Eilat) and Jordan(Aqaba)
Ronen Shay, Kineret Academic College, Israel

Military Occupation and Tourism
Jack Shepherd and Daniel Laven, Mid Sweden University, Sweden


Session Abstract


Tourism is influenced by political boundaries and government policies regarding borders, as well as socio-economic contrasts, administrative management on both sides of the border and the barrier effects of borders. Borders influence tourism by creating barriers, attractions and modified tourism landscapes. Borderlines embody human reflections of socio-political values and attract visitors fascinated by the lines themselves or what lies across them. Features of the border landscape, such as welcome signs, flags, passport controls and customs buildings, add intrigue and fascination to the crossing experience. These icons are meaningful because they mark the interface of different languages and cultures, social and economic systems and political realms. The actual demarcation of borders is an unusual and interesting heritage feature that attracts some tourists. People’s fascination with borders is sometimes ascribed to lifestyle differences between two adjacent places. One or more of three main factors may explain the attractiveness of borders for tourism: the border as subject (e.g., geopolitical, historical, heritage, position of earth); the location and environment at the border (e.g., natural, and environmental); and the development of the borderlands along the boundary (e.g., recreation, shopping, gambling). This special session, “Tourism & Geopolitical Borders: Landscape, Culture & Development,” aims to explore the environmental, socio-cultural and geopolitical relationships between tourism and international borders in the age of globalization.


Tourism Sport Event and Peace

Alon Gelbman

Peace through tourism focuses on the place of tourism in promoting peaceful relations in multidimensional and positive terms. Tourism and sport events are associated in that such events provide tourists with the opportunity to engage in friendly competition and social proximity brings local sport people, teams and communities in contact with societies from around the world. The main aim of this study is to examine and analyze the potential of a cross border sport tourism event to contribute to the promotion of a message of peace and a more peaceful atmosphere between Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land. This case study examines the Bethlehem to Jerusalem Peace Run in which participants were Catholic Italian pilgrims, Israelis and Palestinians.

The annual Peace Marathon, which has taken place since April 2004 and is dedicated to the memory of Pope John II, is an unusual international sport activity, taking place at the core of a very complicated and tense geographical region in the Holy Land; it aims to contribute small but meaningful gesture to joint aspirations for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The methodology selected is based on the naturalistic-qualitative approach and includes interviews with the marathon organizers and with a sample of participants; and a content analysis of media materials (newspaper articles and TV news) reporting this event. The importance of this study is its contribution to the academic debate about the role of tourism in the relevance and success of implementing peace values, and particularly in the case of cooperation between hostile neighboring nations.


Regional Tourism, Local Border Knowledge, and Trans-frontier Consumer Landscapes

Dallen J Timothy, and Roger Marjavaara

This paper presents the idea that international borders provide a competitive advantage for tourism and commercial transactions through local knowledge networks. This is especially true at open international borders, where local residents are free to cross and are aware of the advantages provided by the border—knowledge that is not readily available to people who live away from the border but which is coveted and protected among border inhabitants. Thus, through local knowledge networks, localized transfrontier retail zones and border tourismscapes develop organically in ways that specifically benefit local (albeit international) ‘tourists’—petty traders, shoppers, smugglers and other day-trippers—as well as retailers. This pattern exhibits the phenomenon of globalization (e.g., supranationalism) on a very local level (e.g., glocalization) where local cross-border knowledge creates international flows of shopping tourism and (sometimes illicit) petty trade. Examples from the borders of Brazil and Colombia, Germany and Poland and Finland and Sweden provide empirical evidence of local ‘tourism’ founded upon the retail landscapes of border communities.


Cross-Cultural Understanding of Global Multicultural Tourism Workforce: The Case of Israel (Eilat) and Jordan (Aqaba)

Ronen Shay

Cross-cultural understanding of the contemporary global multicultural workforce has been discussed extensively since globalization. Yet, this study emphasizes distinctive features that derive despite the cold peace between Israel and Jordan (e.g., national hatred, security issues, and political affiliation) and, to the best of our knowledge, were not addressed in the field of a global multicultural workforce. The paper mainly focuses on a recent endeavor, the “Eilat project,” which permits Jordanians to cross the border to work in the hospitality industry in Eilat, Israel, and examines relevant opportunities and shortcomings and the replicability of the project. Drawing on interviews, focus groups, observations and document analysis, the analysis yields five themes (cultural aspects, Israel and Jordan relations, interpersonal interactions, human resource management and entrepreneurship) that illustrate tourism development through human encounters. Findings suggest that success lies in building a solid relationship through mutual understanding and integrating diverse notions and faiths. Furthermore, realizing the cultural base through close and personal encounters, gratifying gestures and pleasant experiences can overcome apprehensions, concerns, prejudice, and fear and ultimately form warmer relations between states.


Military Occupation and Tourism

Jack Shepherd and Daniel Laven

In this paper we explore the multiple relationships between military occupations and tourism. The arrival of a foreign military power can have devastating consequences on a nation’s tourism industry. The destruction of war, the burden of sanctions and the imposition of martial law, new rules and currencies as well as restrictions on movement can all work to cripple the tourism supply and demand of a newly occupied territory. While giving attention to such negative consequences, in this chapter we also highlight other more unexpected aspects of the tourism-occupation nexus. In particular, we focus on the ways that tourism provides opportunities for occupiers to profit from and justify their occupation. At the same time, it is also clear that tourism can be used to challenge occupation and to destabilize the occupier’s narrative. To explore these various relationships, we review literature on tourism and military occupations that take in events ranging from the British occupation of Napoleonic France in the early 19th century to the Russian occupation of Ukraine today. We complement this review with insights from our fieldwork in Palestine.


17:00-19:00 Room 213 MD5

Multilateralism at a Crossroads?

Chair: Olivier Walther, University of Florida, USA

Multilateralism at a Crossroads? The Case of the Arctic Council
Kathryn Friedman, The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, USA

Multilateral Cooperation through Regional Governance for the 21st Century
Kimberly Collins, California State University, San Bernardino, USA

The Impact of the Pandemic Border Restrictions on Mobility and International Cooperation
Laurie Trautman, Border Policy Research Institute, Western Washington University, USA

Multilateralism and Enlightened Self-Interest in an Era of Fortified Borders
Miguel Sigala Gomez, School of Transborder Studies, Arizona State University, USA


Session Abstract

It is not an understatement to suggest that multilateralism is under stress. The most pressing challenges that the world collectively faces spread across borders and are inherently transnational. These include the COVID-19 pandemic (and the current Monkeypox “global health emergency”); climate change impacts; terrorism; and online hate speech. Adding to this mix, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted multilateral institutions and brought cooperation in some fora to a standstill. And it is no secret that China has its own vision of a new world order. All these events have led pundits, strategists, academics and policymakers to prognosticate on whether multilateralism has a place in this emerging landscape.

This panel will offer varying perspectives on whether multilateralism is at a crossroads, including how the COVID-19 pandemic placed multilateralism under severe stress and whether multilateralism in the Arctic is now at risk given Russian aggression. In the end, the authors will consider the following question: is it still worth investing in a multilateral framework in the 21st century?


Multilateralism at a Crossroads? The Case of the Arctic Council

Kathryn Friedman

It is not an understatement to suggest that multilateralism is under stress. The most pressing challenges that the world collectively faces spread across borders and are inherently transnational. These include the COVID-19 pandemic (and current Monkeypox “global health emergency”); climate change impacts; terrorism; and online hate speech. Adding to this mix, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted multilateral institutions and brought cooperation in some fora to a standstill. And it is no secret that China has its own vision of a new world order. All these events have led pundits, strategists, academics and policymakers to prognosticate on whether multilateralism has a place in this emerging landscape.

My paper and presentation will focus on whether multilateralism in the Arctic is now at risk given Russian aggression. The Arctic Council suspended activity in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion. Currently, there are different views as to whether it can/should continue, or whether a new forum is required. What is the future of multilateralism in the Arctic?


Multilateral Cooperation through Regional Governance for the 21st Century

Kimberly Collins

If the past few years have taught us anything, it is that society (public, private and nonprofit) needs to work together to meet the challenges of the 21st century. There is need for 21st century governance, which is based in new institutions that are more transparent; flexible; close to constituents; equalitarian and based in social equity principles; and that work from a base of shared resources, cooperation and regionalism. This work will happen at the subnational level, away from the old institutional values set in national government supremacy. The need cannot be understated as communities today work to adequately respond to environmental pollution and climate change, pandemics, new technology innovations and social inequities based upon old institutional processes. Regionalism, which was supported by the UN Declaration in 2016 as a means to work collaboratively on migration (Lavenex 2018), can be the way to manage other areas of concern in borders. This paper will argue that we need to build upon the UN’s 2016 Declaration and develop further regional organizations, dialogues, and initiatives to find solutions to present-day and future challenges. Within this context, regionalism is a key part of 21st century governance and will be the new framework for multilateral cooperation.


The Impact of the Pandemic Border Restrictions on Mobility and International Cooperation

Laurie Trautman

Unlike trade, where international cooperation during the pandemic helped to mitigate the most serious disruptions to supply chains, border control decisions were made almost entirely at the national level. With the partial exception of the European Union, few nations worked with their neighbors to establish protocols on issues such as who qualified as “essential” travelers, modes of travel, targeted country restrictions, humanitarian and other exceptions, or the timing of the imposition and lifting of travel bans. And as with the post-9/11 period, the pandemic showed the ongoing risk of border control measures being politicized, devolving into a kind of “border theater” in which shutting out foreigners becomes a substitute for effective internal measures and for international cooperation. The politicization of border management has had both short-term and lasting negative effects in economic and human terms, and it has hampered the cross-border cooperation that will be needed to control future threats from pandemics to international terrorism to illegal and climate-induced migration. This presentation will use a comparative lens to explore how the response to the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated harmful trends towards increased nationalism and the breakdown of international cooperation, both of which have harmed effective border management and global mobility.


 Multilateralism and Enlightened Self-Interest in an Era of Fortified Borders

Miguel Sigala Gomez

In this presentation, I will discuss the state of multilateralism and borders since the Covid-19 pandemic through the concept of enlightened self-interest. The notion of enlightened self-interests is quintessential for a multilateral framework in the 21st century―just as it was for the post-war order. However, in the current global turmoil, national self-interests and the fortification of borders outweigh the spirit of international coordination, putting multilateralism in a more complicated condition to prevail. The purpose of this presentation is to illustrate the seemingly contradicting forces between advocating for global institutions while reinforcing national borders; this is observed in the foreign policies of the current North American leaders: Justin Trudeau, Joe Biden and AMLO. Furthermore, I will evaluate how this paradox takes ground as a feature of post-pandemic international relations.

17:00-19:00 Room 214 MD6

Borders at the Movies II

Filmistaan (India, 2012)


Filmistaan (transl. The land of films) is a 2012 Indian Hindi-language film written and directed by Nitin Kakkar.

The decision to partition the Indian subcontinent along sectarian lines in 1947 irrevocably tainted India’s celebration of its independence from colonial rule. Carving out the Muslim-majority nation Pakistan and establishing India as the home to Hindu, Sikh and other non-Muslim populations was far from a peaceful process: the spread of communal hatred sparked an unprecedented spate of rioting such as ‘massacres, arson, forced conversions, mass abductions and savage sexual violence that claimed 2 million lives and uprooted more than 15 million people.

Over the subsequent years, the memorialization of Partition has taken many cultural forms loaded with a variety of perspectives and points of view. The film examines memories of Partition and its ensuing socio-political consequences, as they are intriguingly linked with the popularity of Indian cinema. Director Kakkar’s vision for the film positions cinema as a tool to transcend borders and forge connections instead of perpetuating deep-rooted prejudices. Filmistaan highlights socio-cultural similarities and shared theatrical traditions between India and Pakistan to explain the significant and widespread appeal of Indian films that seemingly defy national borders.

These similarities are expressed through the film’s unusual protagonist Sunny (Sharib Hashmi), an Indian man and a Bollywood cinephile. Sunny is mistakenly kidnapped by a group of Islamic terrorists, which shifts the film’s action from India to a small border village in Pakistan. A series of comical situations and interactions among the characters that follows results in a surprisingly light-hearted navigation of this complex terrorist/hostage narrative. Humor is used as an effective tool that allows the narrative to debunk communal anxieties, prevalent Indo-Pak stereotypes and hardliner rhetoric about these issues. This aspect of the film is particularly intriguing because of the strong contextual presence of Partition through memories and other identifiable references to it.

17:00-19:00 Room 210 (Film) MD7

Shuttles return hotels


​Tuesday 14th February 2023

02/14/2023 8:30 am

Field Trip .

Shuttle(s) leave hotels


EU Borders― Border Perception in Europe in Times of Crisis

Chair: Irasema Coronado, Arizona State University, Arizona, USA

Border Realism and Ontological (In)security
Paul Richardson, University of Birmingham & James W Scott, University of Eastern Finland

Sensing, Imagining and Doing Europe: Europeanisation in the Boundary-work of Welcome Cultures
Dorte Jagetic Andersen & Lola Aubry, University of Southern Denmark

Perceptions of Energy Borderlands―Multidimensional Discursive Practices in Europe’s Coal Regions during the War in Ukraine
Kamil Bembnista,

The Perception of Borders in the Narratives of Inhabitants of European Twin Towns
Elzbieta Opiłowska, University of Wroclaw, Poland.


Border Realism and Ontological (In)security

Paul Richardson & James W Scott:

‘Border realism’ can be understood as the idea that there is an objective and inescapable logic behind the creation and use of (state) borders that is most fundamentally security-driven. Because the realist perspective explains away the significance of perception and value orientations, realism obfuscates the psychological nature and the socio-spatial and symbolic power of borders. Recently, border scholars have renewed efforts to emphasize the multifarious nature of borders, i.e., not just as biopolitical instruments or control mechanisms but also as sources of ontological security and empowerment. In this paper, the authors outline some of the ways in which border studies finds itself assuming a critical position in an urgent research agenda to interpret, negotiate and challenge how populist and civilizationist narratives have injected borders with a renewed emphasis on simulating division and distinction. Borders are being reterritorialized and rescaled but instead of restoring ontological security, this process is creating confusion and consternation for a wide range of communities. We will thus sketch some of the ways in which border studies needs to be adaptive and alert to the rescaling and reshaping of the border as an interface of local, national-populist and civilizationist themes.


Sensing, Imagining, Doing Europe: Europeanisation in the Boundary-work of Welcome Cultures

Dorte Jagetic Andersen & Lola Aubry

In the paper, we shed light on and problematize the everyday sensing, imagining and doing of Europe in the boundary work of welcome cultures. Following Della Porta we contend that the ad-hoc welcoming activities performed by citizens during “the long summer of migration” in 2015 created new possibilities for Europeanization-processes understood as material-discursive activities and processes envisioning Europe as a troubled topos for political, democratic participation. When Europe is on the radar in welcoming activities, it is as a (highly evasive) bordered territory articulated in policing and state violence. However, we read the activities as openings for imagining and doing borders beyond institutional violence. Hence, we insist on the productivity of these practices, and it is our argument that through these everyday activities of welcoming other spaces emerge; heterotopia, following Michel Foucault, materialized as “elsewheres” and articulated in resistance to as well as mirroring and mimicking EU and state bordering. We thereby understand the European welcome culture as opening for renegotiating and reimagining the contours of Europe as sensed, imagined and performed in everyday practices. Grasping these everyday re-articulations and enactments of Europe imply a close-up and sustained study of practice enabled only by ethnographic methods, erasing scalar and level distinctions and being attentive to horizontal relations of power and meaning making. Our arguments are thus based on ethnographic work conducted over the last four years in welcome cultures in Paris and Flensburg respectively, providing us with in situ sites of articulations.


Perceptions of Energy Borderlands―Multidimensional Discursive Practices in Europe’s Coal Regions during the War in Ukraine

Kamil Bembnista

The Russian war in Ukraine has caused an eruption in Europe regarding the import and production of energy. Depending on the strategy of the respective country, transition processes in favor of low-carbon energy are now perceived as accelerated; at the same time, the governments can also be perceived as a “decelerator” of independence processes from Russian energy sources. Due to diversification strategies in Europe, energy supply security is seen as threatened by winter 2022, which is why a re-transition of coal-generated electricity in coal regions is being debated. The coal regions studied in this contribution are located at the German-Polish border area, on the one hand, and at the French-Luxembourgian-German border ,on the other, and emblematically show different constructions of energy-related vulnerabilities and resilience, as well as the handling of un/certainties as a societal response after exogenous shocks, such as the war in Ukraine. In the framework of the project Energy Borderlands, we explore to what extent energy spaces develop in these particular border areas between global and European frameworks, nation-state policies and regional and local implementations. The analysis is based on discourses in regional newspapers of the respective study region, as well as social media and expert interviews. The combination of a discourse-analytical and a space-theoretical approach with border studies approaches enables a differentiation and a comparison of the borderlands and their spatial constructions as socio-material energy spaces with different degrees of interdependence.


The Perception of Borders in the Narratives of Inhabitants of European Twin Towns 

Elzbieta Opilowska

Narratives are a significant tool to map the complex means by which social relations are organized, made meaningful and maintained (Somers 1994). They play an important role in the process of constructing the city space, the identities of citizens and (trans)border practices and are also crucial for the drawing and maintaining of borders and social boundaries. The content and the way inhabitants talk about the city (Michałowska 2014) construct a local, urban reality; the city is created and lived precisely in narratives (which may include behavior, speech, but also architecture, everyday stories, myths). In March 2020 the social reality of open borders space was disrupted by the sudden and unexpected closure of borders caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. What impact does the event have on the perception of borders?

By analyzing narratives this paper seeks to identify images, symbols and ideas that are encoded in stories told by citizens and elites of two selected twin towns:- Cieszyn-Český Těšín at the Polish-Czech and Słubice-Frankfurt/Oder at the Polish-German border. Especially on European borders, social relationships are often constructed across national dividing lines and are interwoven into two cultural, social and political systems. Thus, the paper will examine how border and (trans)borderland are constructed in three types of narratives: individual, public and spatial, as reconstructed from urban spaces, official documents as well as focus group interviews.


9:00-11:00 Room 122 TA1 (BIG Panel 6 & BSHAPE Panel I

Borderlands and In-Between Spaces in the Middle East

Chair: Daniel Meier, Sciences Po Grenoble, France & University of Geneva, Switzerland

The Challenge of the Southern Arab-Kurdish Border of Türkiye
Jean Marcou, Sciences Po, University of Grenoble, France

Economic (In)securities in the Borderland between Turkey and Iran (V)
Johanna Ollier, Sciences Po, University of Grenoble, France

Shrinking the Old Frontiers, Edging Its Zonal Interests and Joining the Dots: Contradictions in Britain’s Early Twentieth-Century Approaches to Middle Eastern Boundary-Drawing
Richard Schofield, Kings College, University of London

The Art of Difference: Ontologically Exploring the Materiality of Division in Israel-Palestine
Merril Hopper, Kings College, University of London

The Role and Importance of Modern Enclaves in the United Arab Emirates
Moran Zaga, University of Haifa, Israel

28 Years of Successful Joint Israeli-Jordanian Boundary Making and Boundary Maintenance

Haim Srebro, Israel Survey Department


Session Abstract

In order to escape the rigid confines of boundary lines and simplified assumptions about their operative spatialities, employment of the term “borderland” potentially signifies a more subtle and nuanced engagement with the socio-historical depth of the border, as well as its social construction. Moreover, it lays the ground for understanding the many actors that play everyday roles in characterizing the border by considering a wider spatial spectrum that brings state and non-state actors as well as landscapes into the picture.

Classical authors stated that borderlands came into being through various processes of border making that are most of the time outcomes of wars, forced displacements, mass killings and are often contested. Yet the focus from the 1960s onwards on routine, everyday flows and interactions across international boundaries in peacetime and the facilitation of borderlands as cooperative zones was itself a significant break from the classical boundary studies approach of the pre-war years (House, 1981; Rumley & Minghi 1991; Martinez, 1994). In some cases, borderlands resulted from the division of regions of identity that straddled international boundaries, creating ethnic minorities on both sides, while in other cases they became borderlands after the formation of national states due to their location at the edge (confines) of the newly-drawn territorial framework, as with the Druzes in Syria and Jordan. If less successfully integrated within the new state, such borderlands became relegated to a subordinate status, creating an image of enduring peripheries. Centralization processes in core urban centers, as observable in most Middle Eastern states, contributed to borderlands becoming objects rather than subjects of policies and politics (Anderson & O’Dowd, 1999). One may therefore agree with Liam O’Dowd’s statement that “frontier zones are ‘workshops’ of state and nation formation that are best understood over long periods and at multiple scales” (O’Dowd, 2012: 160).

As a place of contact, confluence and hybridity that mediates passage from one side to the other (Amilhat-Szary and Fourny, 2004), borderlands appear as spaces that can enable living across borders rather than inside borders: formation of identities defined by belonging to multiple places and national cultures. “In this light, borderlands emerge as in-between spaces, transitional spaces that can serve to smooth over differences and facilitate interaction” (Popescu, 2012: 81)


The Challenge of the Southern Arab-Kurdish Border of Türkiye

Jean Marcou

For almost three decades now, the southern Syrian-Iraqi border of Turkey has been marked by profound transformations resulting from successive crises that rocked Iraq and Syria. This new configuration generates multiple issues for Ankara. First, it is a matter of managing a new, varied and sometimes conflicting neighborhood: what relations exist with the different actors of the crises that the Syrian and Iraqi states are experiencing? This new border also reflects the rise of the Kurds in the region, which now have two quasi-states: the KRG in Iraq, with which Turkey first normalized its relationship since 2007, the Rojava in Syria, which Turks consider as the Syrian branch of the PKK. Whereas since the summer of 2015, the Kurdish provinces of Turkey are once again the scene of a real war, this situation of course has consequences. Finally, more generally, this new border situation poses for Turkey strategic problems that go far beyond these neighborhood questions and their intrinsic conflicts: relations with Western allies, relations with the neighboring regional powers (Russia and Iran), relations with main players in the Arab world (Saudi Arabia, Egypt in particular).

The paper stems from a constant monitoring and analysis, on a day-to-day basis, of the evoked border situation since the beginning of the Syrian crisis (2011-12). Through a historical, legal and geopolitical analysis, it will try to identify the main previously addressed issues, and it will show what they can teach us about the notions of border and state in the Middle East.


 Economic (In)securities in the Borderland between Turkey and Iran (V)

Johanna Ollier

The border between Turkey and Iran is ancient, rooted in the history of the Ottoman and the Safavide empires. Because of its longevity, this border is usually considered as stable in space and not particularly worthy of interest in the academic field. However, similarly to the border between Turkey and Syria, a wall is under construction on the Turkish-Iranian border since 2017. More generally, a higher degree of securitization is implemented in this borderland. We suggest that this securitized borderland (Deleixhe, Dembinska & Iglesias, 2019) is a good standpoint to question the link between border and security. The securitization process matches the state national interests and its conception of security and threats. It implies a higher degree of militarization of the border area and a movement of closure with the construction of the wall. However, at the same time, more and more Iranian tourists aim to go to Turkey for vacation, involving a larger opening of the border.

Indeed, for about five years, more Iranian tourists tend to cross the border with Turkey to enjoy vacations on the other side of the border. This trend is really well appreciated in the border city of Van, relying on those economic resources to revitalize the local economy. Therefore, city branding efforts are being made by the Van municipality to attract Iranian tourists. In the opposite direction, only few Turks cross the border to Iran, essentially for trade and not for holidays. Those asymmetric flows are impacted by different factors such as economic crises and exchange rates between currencies. We can also assume that the state conception of security influences border management and the sorting of different cross-border flows.

Beyond the state-vision of what border security means, this communication aims to question local perspectives on economic security and the role played by the border in this regard. Based on fieldwork conducted in the cities of Van and Doğubayazız between 2021 and 2022, this study provides content regarding local conceptions of economic security and border management. In this framework, we can observe that border security measures could also lead to new insecurities for borderlanders.


Shrinking the Old Frontiers, Edging Its Zonal Interests and Joining the Dots: Contradictions in Britain’s Early Twentieth-Century Approaches to Middle Eastern Boundary-Drawing 

Richard Schofield

Overstating the importance of Sykes-Picot on its centenary in 2016 was too great a temptation for many to resist but, in truth, this classic zonal arrangement of imperial interests was only one part in the story of how the Middle Eastern political map emerged.  Britain’s imprint on its territorial framework began with a determination from the mid-nineteenth century to stabilize and narrow a traditional frontier along the Zagros mountains and then continued into the early twentieth century with its efforts to forge spatial limits for its developing presence in three corners of Arabia when challenged by the Ottomans in Aqaba, Kuwait and Yemen.  Sykes-Picot would provide the basis for filling the gaps (joining the dots, if you like) between the European imperial powers’ areas of interests; though, in many respects, the arrangement would soon become a dead duck.

In addition to arguing for this interpretation, the paper will highlight some of the contradictions that characterized British approaches and transactions.  For instance, how hazy but operative notions of zonal spheres of interest stood coterminously alongside detailed boundary delimitation agreements and proposals, how the latter would sometimes result not from local considerations but wider imperial desiderata and imaginaries.  Outcomes would always depend to a degree on the proclivities of individual boundary-makers though there were clear, centralized differences in priorities, approach and regional application in evidence. This paper will rely inter alia on the observations and perceptions of a number of influential individuals responsible for evolving the imperial political map (and particularly how centralized British aims and ambitions would translate to application on the ground); amongst their number are Arthur Balfour, Percy Cox George Curzon, Ernest Hubbard and Arnold Wilson. It will note how shared political space would be instituted (with the introduction of Neutral Zones) when delimitation challenges could not be squared centrally rather than when local contradictions could not be ameliorated on the ground.


 The Art of Difference: Ontologically Exploring the Materiality of Division in Israel-Palestine

Merril Hopper

We understand ourselves on the basis of who we are not. This makes difference innate to human life. One way in which we can view difference geographically is through the material manifestations of division that command the spatiality of a landscape. This project aims to take discussions on the ontological underpinnings of division and apply them to material forms of division in the West Bank, Israel-Palestine. It looks at both the visible, formal form of division seen in the separation barrier in the region, but also addresses the invisible dividers, such as water tanks and signs, which produce a greater performance of division. I argue that this is due to the manipulation of invisibility that directs division only to those implicated. Ontologically, this project contributes to an understanding about the fluctuating social life of objects, despite their static physical build, which consequently establishes borders both everywhere and nowhere


The Role and Importance of Modern Enclaves in the United Arab Emirates

Moran Zaga

Political enclaves and exclaves are a rare phenomenon in the Arab world. However, there are ten enclaves of different types in the United Arab Emirates alone. These geopolitical characteristics derive from tribal affiliation, which used to be a more important principle than territorial affiliation and continuity. Today, these enclaves express a combination of traditional practice and modern political order.

The lecture analyzes the role and importance of the UAE enclaves and exclaves 50 years after their formal foundation. We will focus on their political significance under the federal structure and the prominence of the enclaves’ borders. The main methodology is an examination of the state policy that either strengthens the enclaves’ distinction or aims to integrate them with their surroundings. We also examine the social impact of these enclaves on local identities, the tribal institution, and everyday life.

This original research is supported by archival materials, a review of policy records and an analysis of contemporary characteristics of enclave management. A corresponding article will soon be published in the “Geography Research Forum” journal as part of a larger project dealing with the delineation and significance of political borders in the region.


28 Years of Successful Joint Israeli-Jordanian Boundary Making and Boundary Maintenance

Haim Srebro

In 1994 Israel and Jordan signed a Peace Treaty, which included an innovative boundary delimitation, making use of orthophoto maps for the first time. It included boundary making procedures regarding demarcation, monument placement and surveying, boundary documentation and maintenance. It also included maritime boundary delimitation. For these tasks the treaty formed a Joint Team of Experts (JTE) as part of the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC).

The boundary line passes on land (Ha’Aravah/Wady Araba Valley), in the sea (The Red Sea), through a lake (The Dead Sea), and along rivers (The Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers). During its first 28 years, the JTE has successfully fulfilled all its tasks, solving all the challenging boundary issues.

These issues included reconstruction and placement of boundary pillars because of natural elements like seasonal floods and sea water erosion, as well as reconstruction and re-placement of boundary pillars due to artificial works along the boundary. It included delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Aqaba/Eilat and the boundary in the Dead Sea, which keeps shrinking fast as a result of lowering of the sea surface, including its northern coastline, that moves southwards, enforcing the elongation of the Jordan River for hundreds of meters and thus creating a new situation regarding the boundary line (a boundary line in the lake is transformed to a boundary in a river in a different location). Other cases referred to rivers, including natural changes in the river course of a boundary river, resulting from both slow natural changes due to accretion and sudden natural changes due to floods and the collapse of river banks. Other cases referred to changes in the course of rivers due to artificial activities.

The joint active cooperation of the JTE continuously contended with all these issues, sometimes proactively in order to prevent or take measures before problems arise, and many times dealing with issues on the fly.

The chairs of the JTE report to the chairs of the JBC. In order to cope with the situation, the JTE, which acts as the right hand of the JBC, has prepared Standard Operating Procedures; it holds annual reconnaissance along the boundary line and annual meetings. In addition, it holds many other meetings according to requirements. The members of the JTE maintain close relations with other ministries on each side, and especially the defense authorities, as well as legal advisers and the liaison organizations on both sides.



9:00-11:00 Room 208 TA2 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/Ylqth7s2rec


Representations and Impacts in Borderlands Digital Humanities

Chair: Sylvia Fernandez, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA

Digital Activism in the Mexico-U.S. Border
Carolina Alonso, Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado, USA

Borderlands and the Digital Humanities
Maira Alvarez, University of Texas at Austin, USA

Representations of Transborder Dynamics in the First Phase of United Fronteras
Sylvia Fernandez, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA

Bordering the Spectrum: pre-2022 Jamming of TV Broadcasting in Eastern Ukraine as a Claim for the Information Sovereignty
Ekaterina Mikhailova, Institute of East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany


Session Abstract

How border representations are embedded in the nature of power which replicates the structure of colonialism and imperialism and models we have inherited deal with structures of power that do not understand people’s lived experiences (Posner 2016). Derived from this observation, those who are equipped with the capacity for humanities inquiry have the responsibility to intervene and ensure that the stories and voices which have been underrepresented in both print and digital knowledge production can be heard by creating their own digital stories through new models and infrastructures (Risam 2019). This panel will discuss the ongoing initiative of border[lands] digital humanities (BDH) as a framework for research, praxis and engagement with borderlands experiences across the Americas, bringing forward perspectives that oftentimes contradict the sentiments of division frequently influenced and represented by those in power. This session will discuss various aspects of the project United Fronteras, its team and methodology, including bilingual workflows, social justice praxis and transnational engagement. Each presenter will explore representations and impacts though local practices, digital activism and transborder dynamics, introducing specific border[land] DH projects from the Mexico-United States border region that cover topics such as digital archives, social media, art installations and mapping, using a variety of digital technologies and storytelling approaches.


Digital Activism in the Mexico-U.S. Border

Carolina Alonso

This paper will discuss social justice and border activism in the Mexican-US border region and how this has been represented through digital humanities projects. For numerous communities and disenfranchised people, DH has become an opportunity to organize, act and promote social change. Certainly, this activism has occurred in the transfronterizo context where border regions have historically exhibited political and cultural frictions and resistances. In the case of the Mexico-US border region, numerous DH projects with an emphasis on social justice and activism have been generated from both sides of the border; several of these have been compiled in the United Fronteras digital project. Most of these projects and their approaches aim to empower and create visibility for border communities that, in the case of Mexico and the United States, have often been described and represented through external discourses and fallacies. The compilation of projects by UF exemplifies the interstices and spaces not represented by the official history imposed through colonizing practices where people (re)write, visualize and manifest their struggle for social justice.


Borderlands and the Digital Humanities

Maira Alvarez

Border[lands] DH expands on how we circulate knowledge to challenge the danger of the single story, as addressed by Chimamanda Ngoni Adichie (2009, by using digital tools and humanistic methods with real-world issues to engage with multiple publics in new ways and beyond academia. Thus, BDH presents new ways of thinking and understanding colonial violence within the analog and digital cultural records that have denied the production of knowledge from the borders. Limitations to the cultural records contribute to educational inequities, and the absence of representation fuels stereotyping, stigmatization and marginalization against border[lands] knowledge. BDH is an effort to bridge the gap between research and community and amplify the conversation on shared knowledge, access, gatekeeping and unrepresented communities’ ancestry and history in the Americas, as well as the questioning and uses of computational technologies and its methodologies.

BDH recognizes that knowledge and ownership are unique to country of origin and local communities and deserve individual attention given that, as Anzaldúa mentions, are “in a constant state of transition” (2007, 25). While open access is common in DH practices, not all producers of knowledge and ownership agree to openness, especially when digital tools and structures can perpetuate colonization. Similarly, acknowledging the multi-border regions is important when working across national barriers. Within the work frame of border studies, to prevent intellectual colonialism, Debora A. Castillo and María Socorro Tabuenca Córdoba (2002) suggest taking into consideration the multi-border regions present or to be specific about the region one is going to talk about or study and situate the material in their historical context (4). This echoes Roopika Risam’s observation on the recording of digital knowledge: “Humanities scholars must all work to make sure the digital cultural record does not only reflect the epistemologies, knowledge hierarchies, and values of the Global North” (2019, 140). Considering this, United Fronteras is an example of BDH; the collaborative initiative emerged in 2019 as an autonomous and independent DH project that creates a third public and digital space.


Representations of Transborder Dynamics in the First Phase of United Fronteras

Sylvia Fernandez

Referring to transborder experiences at the Mexico-United States borderlands, what would archives, maps, data visualizations and datasets look like if they were built to show us the fluidity that border communities have experienced with data from the humanities and social sciences, not as they have been captured and advanced by businesses and governments? Derived from this observation and realizing the potential of Digital Humanities intersected with decolonial and postcolonial methods, this presentation will go over the model that United Fronteras followed by creating a transborder public resource that compiles digital material and projects from both sides of the Mexico-US border. Its bilingual metadata and digital exhibit presenting border[lands] digital production exemplifies the pluralistic notion of the border[lands]. Moreover, it will discuss how some of its documented material and digital stories represent transborder dynamics and communities and are represented through archives that document and record the history of people’s lives and cultural expressions on both sides or cross the geopolitical border constantly. Digital art and virtual games that are produced and installed on the physical border but rather than emphasize the division it challenges these notions and makes us aware of movements and connections. Maps that visualize fluidity in lands and communities that have been affected and transformed due to political boundaries, showing how the border communities have changed through time, space and movements of migration.


Bordering the Spectrum: Pre-2022 Jamming of TV Broadcasting in Eastern Ukraine as a Claim for the Information Sovereignty

Ekaterina Mikhailova

The paper examines the pre-2022 jamming campaign in Eastern Ukraine. This campaign, sometimes referred to as the “war of TV transmitters,” commenced shortly after the establishment of the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s republics (LPR and DPR) when TV transmitters in Luhansk and Donetsk superior to all other TV towers in the area started broadcasting LPR and DPR TV programs as well as Russian TV on the frequencies that used to broadcast Ukrainian TV channels. Seeking to regain control over the electromagnetic waves within its entire territory, Ukraine has been blocking the LPR, DPR and Russian broadcasting and boosting its national TV signal by renovating destroyed TV transmitters and erecting new ones along the line separating Ukrainian-controlled territories from Russian-backed LPR and DPR.

Jamming was originally considered “an accurate barometer of the international climate” (Varis 1970,177) indicating international crisis. Was the 2014–2019 jamming campaign one of the overlooked signsof the upcoming full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022? What were the keymilestones of the 2014–2019 informational confrontation? What personalities and agencies played thedecisive role in the launch of jamming? How did that Ukrainian jamming campaign to protect itsinformational sovereignty differ from those typical of the Cold War period as described in e.g.,Warlaumont (1988)? By addressing these questions, I will, on the one hand, reconstruct the historicalcanvas of pre- and post-jamming events in 2014–2019 and, on the other hand, reveal the main featuresof the Ukrainian strategy to defend its informational sovereignty and present this strategy in ahistorical comparative perspective against the backdrop of selected Cold-War jamming campaigns:GDR’s 1961 anti-West German TV campaign and the US-Cuban “radio wars.”



9:00-11:00 Room 123 TA4

Climate Change in Border Regions

Chair: Tareq Abu Hamed, Director, Aravah Institute for Environmental Studies, Israel

Climate Change, Environment, and Its Implications for Cross-Border Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa
Raphael Rudnik & Yochai Guiski, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Securitizing Migration and Climate Change: Creating a No-Man’s-Land for Climate-Induced Migration
Mathilde Bourgeon, Universite de Quebec a Montreal (UQAM), Canada

Toward a Regional Response for Global Change Resilience: The Case of the Central American Dry Corridor
Yosef Gotlieb, David Yellin College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel

Post-Border Wall Environmentalisms in the U.S-Mexico Border Lands
Ana Sanchez-Bachman, State University of New York (SUNY), Binghamton, USA


Climate Change, Environment, and its Implications for Cross-Border Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa

Raphael Rudnik & Yochai Guiski

Climate change presents the entire Middle East and North Africa with a complex reality that ignores the borders between countries in so far that heat waves, dust storms, disease intrusion and climatic extremes will occur in vast areas that do not differentiate between countries.

At the same time, an effective response to future climate challenges will require cross-border cooperation and is an opportunity to accelerate the following initiatives: in the field of energy―renewable energy production, storage and smart grid management between several states. In the field of water―joint utilization of resources, desalination and restoration of wastewater across borders. In the field of food supply―development of common processing areas and implementation of technologies to improve water use in a way that will lead to reduced water loss and increased agricultural productivity. In the field of Carbon Sinks―encouraging the planting of trees and the preservation of vegetation and ecosystems throughout the Middle East, with joint funding. In the technological field―sharing knowledge in a variety of areas to increase efficiency (of water and energy use) and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In the foreseeable future, these collaborations can also promote political and economic stability as well as security for the entire region. Scientific and technological innovation can promote solutions to many of humanity’s challenges but must be combined with cross-border perceptual and strategic innovation.

There are a number of areas and partnerships in the region that can serve as an excellent base in this context: the common border area between Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians. The first swallow for the potential inherent in this area is the initiative to build a solar power plant in Jordan that will sell electricity to Israel in exchange for desalinated water (when both water and electricity will be used by the Palestinians as well); The GCC―as a space where there are structured partnerships, similar needs, alongside entrepreneurial capability and diverse funding sources. UA’s leadership position in the field of climate crisis preparedness alongside the initiative and ambition to develop the field of green hydrogen (produced from natural gas) creates potential cooperation alongside competition. Abraham Accords, the Saudi initiative for a green Middle East and green hydrogen export initiative from Morocco to EU.

The study will examine these possibilities by analyzing the major drivers, both barriers and opportunities, strewn along the way.


Securitizing Migration and Climate Change: Creating a No-Man’s-Land for Climate-Induced Migration

Mathilde Bourgeon

Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the United States, the securitization of immigration has been institutionalized mainly at the federal level. The DHS has emphasized the security threats migrants cause in the US while militarizing the southern border to control it. This securitization of immigration is directed at individuals who do not qualify for a visa or are not eligible to receive asylum in the US, and the threat is towards individuals, primarily US citizens. On the other hand, the DHS seems to have overlooked the threats and the actual danger caused by the effects of climate change on individuals. In that sense, climate change is presented as a threat to the environment, not people. The DHS does not seek to construct climate change as a security threat by not securitizing it in its line of work. This lack of emphasis on the risks caused by climate change to individuals represents a substantial obstacle to recognizing the threats to life that climate-induced migrants suffer. Indeed, because climate change is not mentioned in international refugee law, it is not considered a basis for an asylum claim in the US. Accordingly, climate-induced migrants fall into the cracks of protection because they do not fit into the solid legal framework.

For this reason, my dissertation argues that the misconstruction of security threats by the DHS is pushing away individuals in dire need of protection. To do this, I will develop a critical analysis of human and environmental security described by the Copenhagen School. I will investigate the DHS’s securitization of migration and climate change to demonstrate the inefficiency of these security definitions working in silos.


Toward a Regional Response for Global Change Resilience: The Case of the Central American Dry Corridor

Yosef Gotlieb

The Central American Dry Corridor (CADC) extends inland from Guatemala along the Pacific into El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. With a population of ≈22 million people, this agrarian region constitutes 27% of the Central America landmass, including major cities. Distinguished by unique climatic, ecological and socioeconomic characteristics, the CADC is prone to natural disasters and rising aridity, and extreme hydroclimatic events attributable to climate change (CC) are increasing. Deforestation and the degradation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems due to prevailing production systems, weak policies, poor resource management and illegal activities persist.

Land- and water-based resources are abundant and their exploitation for the production of export crops, sea products and meat for international markets are central to the CADC’s national economies. Yet, many regional communities are chronically food insecure and poverty is prevalent. Deficits relating to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) endure, and low living standards and social maladies are the norm. Subsistence agriculture is a way of life for many rural families, although they are dependent on supplementary income as laborers on latifundios or remittances from family members working abroad. Migration is a widely adopted coping mechanism.

Cyclical intergenerational poverty and environmental degradation has made the CADC countries particularly vulnerable to CC, the Covid-19 pandemic and global supply-chain disruptions. Accordingly, regional cooperation relating to these common challenges would seem axiomatic. Indeed, the Central American Integration System (SICA), a regional framework has existed since the early 1990s and aspires toward common cause given that the regional population, with the exception of indigenous and minority communities, share a common language, history, religious traditions and culture.

These national differences and divergent policies pursued by the state centers hamper the implementation of effective solutions to trans-border problems. However, the region’s vulnerability to global crises and the depth of need suggest that a semi-autonomous, professional regional authority in the SICA framework could be effective in building resilience through improved infrastructure and resource management, restoring vital ecosystems, ensuring food security and making progress toward the SDGs. Such an authority could serve as a model for other transboundary regions at a time when planetary threats require increased cooperation across borders.


Post-Border Wall Environmentalisms in the U.S-Mexico Border Lands

Ana Sanchez-Bachman

Border scholars have long studied the intersections of environmental conservation and border policy. Contributing to the study of environmental issues and the impact of national policies, this paper focuses on the U.S-Mexico border, specifically the region which cuts through the Sonoran Desert, one of the world’s most biodiverse desert landscapes. The Sonoran landscape is of particular focus because of the ways in which the State has often positioned this environment as a “protected” landscape to defend against degradation while at the same time endorsing agencies and policies that are themselves destructive. This paper argues for the analysis of hegemonic discourse on conservation in the region which warns of the dangers of migrant traffic, overpopulation related to migration and even humanitarian activity in the Sonoran borderlands. This reveals the contradictions inherent in the differences between these narratives and the actions of State agencies on the ground. This region contains several protected areas which lie on either side of the border, and which currently face environmental damages as a result of completed construction of border wall segments. Border Wall construction began under the Trump administration and, despite political statements otherwise, is slated to be finished under the Biden administration. The construction of the border wall through the Sonoran Desert landscape along Organ Pipe National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and El Pinacate and Desierto del Altar Biosphere Reserve have brought attention to the consequences of border fortifications for the environment of the border region, such as danger presented to at risk species in the area and to its water sources. Less present in narratives of environmental protection are the threats these border enforcement activities pose to human lives; instead migrants who cross the border in this area are identified as an additional threat to the environment. This paper contributes to the existing scholarship on migration and the environment in this region, and further interrogates the relationship between border militarization, environmental degradation and narratives of blame regarding environmental damage to the Sonoran Desert. Sources such as public communications and media from communities in this area, reports from U.S. Federal agencies such as Border Patrol, National Parks Service and Fish and Wildlife are drawn upon, as well as previous literature to present the ways that environmental damages on the part of the state are underplayed and shifted onto migrant populations.


9:00-11:00 Room 213 TA5

The Spirit of Borders III: Writing Borders

Chair: Michel Ben Arrous, Universita Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis, Senegal

The Border in Dino Buzzati’s novel The Tartar Steppe
Bjarge Schwenke Fors, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Global and Local Borders in Nicholas Murray’s Travel Writing
Jopi Nyman, University of Eastern Finland

Conceptualizing Mental Borders through Political Fiction: A Case Study of Indo-Bangladesh Border
Vishal Mishtra, Banaras Hindu University, India

Understanding the India-Pakistan Border through Travelogues
Shubhi Misra, University of Vienna, Austria



The Border in Dino Buzzati’s novel The Tartar Steppe

Bjarge Schwenke Fors

Literature offers border scholars a rich insight into borders across time and space and may sometimes provide us with new ideas of what borders are, may be and should be. Dino Buzzati’s celebrated novel The Tartar Steppe was written in 1938, on the eve of World War II, against the backdrop of uncertainty and rising tensions along the borders of Europe. It seems to have attained a new relevance today, following the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The novel tells the story of an army officer, Giovanni Drogo, who spends most of his adult life guarding a remote and inaccessible border fortress overlooking “the Tartar Steppe,” a vast (perhaps endless) desert. The purpose of Drogo’s outpost is to protect an unnamed European state (resembling Austria-Hungary in the 19th century) against the neighboring “Northern Kingdom” as well as against the wild and unpredictable Tartars of the desert. Thus, the fortress serves both as a state border and as a border between civilization and barbary. All through the narrative, the guarding of the border, and the power and meaning of borders in general, are recurring themes. My aim in the paper is to explore and analyze the various border representations in the novel, focusing on their current significance.


Global and Local Borders in Nicholas Murray’s Travel Writing

Jopi Nyman

This paper will examine the representation of global and local borders in Crossings: A Journey through Borders (2016), a contemporary travel narrative by the Welsh writer Nicholas Murray. Murray’s narrative of his journeys across diverse British, European and global borders will be examined in the context of travel writing studies and borderscaping theory. The focus of the paper is on the way Murray examines the thematic of border discourse, external and internal borders, and the interaction between the global and the local. First, while Murray pays particular attention to ways in which borders of various kinds function as sites of exclusion and inclusion, his approach to borders is critical and reflexive, as is shown in the way the text comments on diverse concepts pertinent to border studies and its discourse as seen in his musings over border writing, ranging from theorists such as Régis Debray and Michel Foucault to creative writers including James Joyce Graham Greene. As a travel text, Murray’s book addresses concepts from border discourse and applies them to vignettes telling of his encounters with, and experiences at, a particular place (e.g., line in relation to Cyprus; edge to Trieste) to challenge conventional binary-based border thinking. Second, in addition to describing external borders, Murray’s text aims to understand the effect of borders on his own life and positionality by including reflections on growing up in Britain in the 1950s, linking the public and the private through the North/South border. Here the concept of liminality will be applied to the representation of the narrator as a border figure to show how borderscaping theory (e.g., Brambilla 2016) with its emphasis on becoming and belonging, can be supplemented with analyses of in-betweenness and liminality (e.g., Bhabha 1994). Third, what is of particular attention is the way in which the second part of Crossings focuses on the border between England and Wales, complementing the global borders with a local border narrative where it is possible to “cross the border without leaving home” (2016, 143), encouraging us to negotiate and reassess the effects of the border at various levels. In so doing, Murray’s text underlines the ambiguity of the border addressed often in imagining the border that is at the same time annihilating but also provides glimpses of hope and agency (see Nyman and Schimanski 2021).


Conceptualizing Mental Borders through Political Fiction: A Case Study of Indo-Bangladesh Border

Vishal Mishtra

The states in South Asia share a common colonial past. Decolonization in South Asia has led to the emergence of new states in the global order and created a new regional identity in the different parts of the region. South Asia is geographically divided into borders and boundaries, but at the same time their culture and civilizational identity are somehow similar. Despite South Asia being the geopolitical term for the region, the phrases South Asia and South Asian subcontinent are sometimes used synonymously. Borders, both physical and mental, are signs of societal and political divisions. Borders have a significant impact on millions of people’s daily lives throughout South Asia. Borders serve as a factor of strategic relevance for foreign policy and security in South Asia. Borders take a political form in South Asia and form a significant factor in shaping the narratives of local political debates.

This paper attempts to understand South Asian borders and boundaries from a sub-regional perspective. Numerous variables have affected the story of South Asian integration; some have aided the process, while others have hindered it.

There is a plethora of work available to understand the stated phenomena in relation to the borders between India and Bangladesh. However, there is a gap in the literature regarding analyzing it from people’s perspectives. Scholars have mostly probed the borders in South Asia from a statist perspective. This paper aims at understanding the border and boundaries through political fiction. Understanding the popular imagination of Mental Borders will significantly contribute to the broader discipline of Border studies in South Asia. The present research paper examines three significant works of political fiction: Main Borishailla by Mahua Maji, The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh and Bengal Partition Stories: An Unclosed Chapter, edited by Bashabi Fraser. The methodology deployed in the paper is discourse analysis and semi-structured interviews. The objective of the paper is to understand and analyze people’s popular perception of on the Indian and Bangladeshi border. The concept of mental borders will be probed through the narratives of political fiction.


Understanding the India-Pakistan Border through Travelogues

Shubhi Misra

Crossing a border is an intriguing experience and more so when the border in question is a contentious one and involves a tedious process. In this regard, the travelogue is a nuanced way of understanding the disparate ways in which borders are inscribed. Crossing a border is not just akin to moving across places beyond the sovereign space of the state and entering the other, it is something more than that. Border crossing is a process whereby there are interactions of several political, social and ideational myths and realities to which one otherwise might remain oblivious. There is always a sense of unfamiliarity and often this unfamiliarity is socially constructed through various mediums and modes. By traveling across the border, one is able to know the putative unknown and through personal encounters, there is an evaluation of perceived notion with the experienced reality providing a means of unlearning and learning. In the course of this experiential learning, some perceptions get obliterated while the others become more concretized. Traversing a border is an interactive process of witnessing both the state erected institutional mechanisms of control, surveillance and security as well as socially constructed cognitive mental images which dictate the perceptions of those from the other side. These types of border understanding look at the multiple dimensions of the border such as their spatiality, physicality and also the semiotic through which they are validated. Thus, crossing a border is a unique process through which borders can be analyzed and interpreted.

The paper attempts to foray into the dynamism of the India-Pakistan border by looking at the travelogues. The select texts are a combination of print and digital. These texts were purposively chosen for the study and include Stephen Alter’s book Amritsar to Lahore (2000) and Karl Rice’s YouTube Chanel Karl Rock (2.18 million subscribers). Alter’s book is a work of non-fiction which consists of travel narratives, anecdotes, and events which the author himself witnessed firsthand traveling from India to Pakistan. The second source is a similar but much more recent documentation by a Blogger from New Zealand named Karl Edward Rice who has traveled extensively across India and Pakistan and has posted his short documentaries on the same, offering a rich source of information on the India-Pakistan border crossing.


9:00-11:00 Room 214 TA6

Coffee Break


Plenary Session: Environment, Climate Change and Borders

Plenary Session: Environment, Climate Change and Borders

Chair: Heather Nicol, University of Trent, Canada

Environmental Diplomacy: Working Regionally to Address the Climate Crisis
Tareq Abu Hamed, Director, Aravah Institute for Environmental Studies, Israel

Environmental and Social Justice Dimensions of Climate Change Across Borders
Irasema Coronado, School of Transborder Studies, Arizona State University, USA


Environmental Diplomacy: Working Regionally to Address the Climate Crisis

Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed,

The Middle East is a global hotspot for climate change and environmental stress vis-à-vis water, energy, agriculture, health and other essential necessities. Many cities in our region are predicted to become uninhabitable by the end of the century. In recognition of this pressing reality, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and its Palestinian partners conduct regional environmental diplomatic activities, academic research and initiate and execute projects throughout the Middle East.

The need to equip national and regional policy makers, diplomats, community leaders, security experts and health officials with the tools to deal with the growing risks of climate change is urgent. At present, no bi-lateral or regional effort combines scientific understanding of climate change with political, economic and strategic analysis of national and regional effects to give policy-makers actionable insights and to give businesses sustainable opportunities to combat this challenge, all while addressing the political realities and levels of mistrust among parties.

In this plenary, advancing climate justice and resilience in conflict zones and examples of trans-boundary environmental projects, such as water production, wastewater treatment, solar energy applications and water-energy-food nexus projects, will be presented.


Environmental and Social Justice Dimensions of Climate Change Across Borders

Professor Irasema Coronado,

The effects of climate change have led many people living in vulnerable conditions to move from at-risk and disaster affected areas and to cross borders in the process of relocation.  his, however, can likely put them in even more at-risk circumstances. Leaders need to address these potentially dangerous situations, on both local and global to local scales, and find equitable solutions to the threats posed by climate change. Border regions are facing the effects of climate change from droughts, floods and wildfires while simultaneously dealing with refugees and asylum seekers looking for shelter and protection.  Borders can either be centers of collaboration, accountability, responsiveness and empowerment or danger, confusion and abuse of power when addressing the needs of displaced people due to climate change. By choosing to address their own environmental and health challenges, border communities can help advance environmental, social and climate justice goals, from the local to the global stage.

11:30-13:00 Auditorium TB1 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/t32zi_m22Mw



Mini Plenary: The Evolution of Israel’s Borders (Prelim to Field Trip)

Chair: Tamar Arieli, Tel Hai College, Israel

The Creation of Israel’s Southern Boundaries with Egypt and Jordan.
Gideon Biger, Dept of Geography, Tel Aviv University

The Delimitation of the International Land and Maritime Boundaries at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba/ Eilat
Haim Srebro, Israel Survey Department

This session will provide background for the field trip to the Israel-Jordan-Egypt border that will take place on the following day. Two of the field trip’s guides, experts on Israel’s borders, past and present, will discuss the wider context of the field trip within an overview of Israel’s borders with her neighbors.


The Creation of Israel’s Southern Boundaries with Egypt and Jordan

Gideon Biger

Israel shares borders with both Egypt and Jordan in the Negev region. The demarcation of these borders was determined at the beginning of the twentieth century: with Egypt in 1906 and with Jordan in 1922. A mixture of influences, including British imperialist designs, aspirations of the Zionist movement, along with promises made to the local Arab populations, had to be balanced with each other. Although a hundred years has passed since the original demarcations, and the Egyptian border underwent a number of changes as a result of wars ad peace treaties, the borders created by the British are, in effect, the contemporary borders of Israel.


The Delimitation of the International Land and Maritime Boundaries at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba/ Eilat

Haim Srebro

Until about 75 years ago, the Gulf of Aqaba / Eilat region was a deserted area, with only a few hundred people. However, today the population has increased to over 250 thousand people, with tens of thousands of tourists and vacationers.

Three land boundaries and two out of five maritime boundaries have been delimited between the four states at the head of this gulf: Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The three delimited land boundaries include the Israel-Egypt international boundary (the agreement was signed in 1979 and finalized in 1989), the Israel-Jordan international boundary (signed in 1994 and finalized in 1995), and the Jordan-Saudi Arabia international boundary (signed in 1965).

The three land boundaries historically originated with the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, which reigned around 400 years, between 1416 and WWI; it was replaced by Great Britain as the leading power in the region, following the annexation of Sinai to Egypt (1906) and the establishment of Palestine, Trans-Jordan and Saudi Arabia (1922–1927).

The two delimited maritime boundaries include the Israel-Jordan maritime boundary (signed, ratified and delimited in 1996) and the Jordan-Saudi Arabia maritime boundary (signed in 2007 and ratified in 2010). The Israel-Jordan maritime boundary was the first maritime boundary in the territorial sea in this corner of the world. The three maritime boundaries between Egypt and Israel (with adjacent coastlines) and between Egypt and Jordan and Saudi Arabia (with opposite coast lines) have not yet been finalized.

Since the head of the Gulf of Aqaba/Eilat is very narrow (less than 10 NM), all these maritime boundaries are located in the territorial sea (except a narrow strip of Jordanian water beyond its 3 NM territorial sea claim until the median line of the gulf). A sixth maritime boundary―between Israel and Saudi Arabia―ceased to be relevant since 1965, after the August 10, 1965, Jordan-Saudi Arabia exchange of territories (which commenced on November 7, 1965), in which Jordan gained a 19-kilometer enlarged coast line along the Gulf of Aqaba.

This paper analyzes the process of delimiting the five agreed boundaries located at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba Eilat, just several kilometers from the ABS conference venue.

It also analyzes the correlation between the land and maritime boundaries in this region.



13:45-14:30 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/t32zi_m22Mw

EU Borders―Border Influx and Border Temporalities in and beyond Europe

Chair: Irasema Coronado, Arizona State University, USA

Historic Memory and Identity in the Alsace Region
Birte Wassenberg and Frederique Berrod, Sciences Po, Strassbourg

The Intercultural Dimension of Cooperation in the Franco German Border
Anne Thevenet, Euro Institut, Kehl, Germany / TEIN (Transfrontier Euro-Institut Network)

Culture, Memory and Heritage: What the Franco-Belgian (Cross) Border Region Shows
Fabienne Leloup, University of Louvain, Belgium

Border Temporalities in the Greater Region
Machteld Venken, University of Luxembourg




Session Abstract

The panel Border Influx and Border Temporalities in and beyond Europe aims to shed light on research that focuses on the spatial as well as on the temporal dimension of borders, borderlands and border regions in Europe. It is part of the Borders in Globalization (BIG) program, within the working group on culture and nationhood (European section). The contributions shed light on the spatial and/or temporal dimension of borders in Europe by exploring border practices, border discourses and analyses of border regimes and life at the border in Europe. This panel focuses in particular on border identity and historic memory in the Franco-Belgian, Franco-German, German-Dutch and the Upper Rhine border region.


Historic Memory and Identity in the Alsace Region

Birte Wassenberg and Frederique Berrod

What does European Memory mean with regard to the European Integration process? Is there a new European Memory of Peace that emerged from the end of WWII, supported by the idea of reconciling and re-unifying the European people? And how is this European Memory of Peace perceived in European Border regions, where the border is still felt as a “scar of history” marked by the suffering of the wars and conflicts? This contribution examines the construction of a European Memory of Peace by taking the example of the Franco-German-Swiss cross-border region of the Upper Rhine and in particular the Region Alsace, which has been torn between France and Germany and changed national affiliation several times since the 1870 Franco-German war until the end of WWII in 1945. It presents the results from an interdisciplinary historical-sociological study in 2013, published in 2020, which analyses a series of interviews with key actors in the cross-border regions regarding their perceptions on European identity, Franco-German reconciliation and (tans)regional cooperation.


The Intercultural Dimension of Cooperation at the Franco-German Border

Anne Thevenet

Meetings, decision-making processes, time management, communication, coordination etc.: These are essentials while working on a cross-border project. Nevertheless, what those items really mean can differ greatly from one person to another―especially when these persons are from a different cultural backgrounds―and this can have sustainable consequences for the cooperation and the project. The contribution will demonstrate that even if the Franco-German border has a very specific historical context and is now considered a model of a well-functioning border, the intercultural dimension is present and remains a daily challenge. I will also try to identify some ways, tools and methods in order to manage this intercultural dimension optimally and present the experiences of the Euro-Institut in this context.


 Culture, Memory, and Heritage: What the Franco-Belgian (Cross) Border Region Shows

Fabienne Leloup

The paper is based on research focused on the temporal dimensions of the Franco-Belgian border. The question

that structures the text is formulated as follows: Does the Franco-Belgian (cross)-border region produce a common history or separate histories? The current border is an open border, easily crossed physically, the subject of over 5,000 Interreg projects since 2000 and the place of three official cross-border institutions (the Grande Région, the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) West-Vlaanderen / Flanders-Dunkerque-Côte d’Opale and the Eurometropole Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai). As regards this high degree of institutionalization and practices, what about the social representations and the discourses such a border produces? The proposed point of view is based on some historical battles and some examples of UNESCO heritages located in this area, and uses them in order to reveal which kind of memory they produce in the long term.

The conclusions show that the memorial elements studied, whether they are battles or labeled heritage, do not create cultural cross-border identity, they go on separating the “us” from the “other,” amplifying national or even regional diversity and specificity even though the cross-border region is highly integrated in terms of flows, projects and even institutions.


Border Temporalities in the Greater Region

Machteld Venken

This presentation summarizes ongoing research on the contemporary history of social welfare within the Belgian/Luxembourgish/French/German borderlands. Four scholars are conducting research within the work package I am leading as part of the research project SOCIOBORD funded by the European Research Council. The project seeks to reframe the history of welfare and social care in modern Europe by restoring to view the contributions of states, families and associations to shaping welfare systems in European borderlands. The key to managing the extended geographical scope and long chronology lies in the project’s precise, carefully-chosen case studies, which allow for comparison across time while tracing the transfer of ideas, institutions and practices of social action among and within borderlands. We have chosen to organize the research around studies involving mobilizations of local actors on behalf of three groups of beneficiaries: children, working-class women and veterans. This presentation introduces a study on the social assistance to working mothers and young children in northeastern France and Belgium, and on the migrations of women workers across the Franco-Belgian frontier in the late 19th and early 20th century. It continues with insights into the temporalities of mixed welfare provision to cross-border veterans in the aftermath of the First World War. It finishes with a focus on the history of an orphanage in Luxembourg, where educators who received their training in different countries composed a unique vision of giving care.



14:30-16:30 Room 122 TC1 BIG Panel 7

Borders Reloaded II: The Impacts of Rebordering Shock on Cross-Border Cooperation

Chair: Laurie Trautman, Border Policy Research Institute, Western Washington University, USA

Economics of North American Cross-Border Cooperation Post-Trump & COVID: The USA Perspective
Laurence French, University of New Hampshire, USA, and Magdaleno Manzanarez, Western New Mexico University, USA

Slovak-Ukrainian Cross-Border Cooperation amid and after COVID-19 Pandemic: Factors and Perspectives, Impact on Policies
Martin Lacny, Institute of Political Science, Faculty of Arts, University of Presov, Slovakia

Evaluating the Effects of the Latest Crises on the Willingness and Understanding of Cross-Border Cooperation
Martin Guillermo Ramirez,  Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), Juan M. Trillo-Santamaría, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and Eduardo Medeiros, ISCTE-IUL, Portugal

Re-Bordering and the Security Dilemma of the US-Mexico Border
James Gerber, San Diego State University, USA

Escaping the Territorial Trap? Resilience Strategies of Border Regions facing the Covid-19 Rebordering Politics
Elżbieta Opiłowska, Center for Regional and Borderlands Studies/University of Wroclaw, Poland


Session Abstract

These two sessions aim to examine the impact that rebordering shocks generate on cross-border cooperation, the principles, beliefs and conceptions of the world that underlie it and that steer the discursive and political construction of cross-border regions. In recent years, several (geo)political events (e.g., Brexit, the ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe, the rise of populism and the global COVID-19 pandemic) have induced border closures and triggered the hardening of border regimes. Although these various events have each been the subject of particular attention as regards their effects on border regions and in particular on the daily practices of their inhabitants, their longer-term consequences for the meaning and scope of cross-border cooperation remain understudied.


Economics of North American Cross-Border Cooperation Post-Trump & COVID: The USA Perspective

Laurence French & Magdaleno Manzanarez

North American countries (Mexico/USA/Canada) share an often-turbulent history from the time of European colonialism, and the ensuing practices of Indigenous genocide, and slavery under the guise of Christianization and economic exploitation. Fast forward five centuries and we still see remnants of these geopolitical strifes within and between the three nations emerging from their colonial past. Clearly, the USA played a pivotal role in North American economics and sectarianism with its contention of Manifest Destiny dominating unilateral expansionism, often through wars and intimidation; actions that help define the current political and economic landscape and cross-border interactions. Despite often divergent political, sectarian and racist rhetoric within and among the three North American nations, their joint economic stability depends upon a viable tripartite trading arrangement, one that transcends political rhetoric and calls for greater isolationism. The strength of these economic ties was challenged recently by both the Trump administration’s “America First” and the “Build the Wall” narrative as well as the devastation wrought by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Our paper looks at the unique human, geo-political and socio-economic factors emanating from North American interactions. Border politics are especially intriguing, if not paradoxical, given that the USA/Canadian border at 5,525 miles (8,891 kilometers) is flaunted as being “open” (free of military checkpoints), while the southern USA/Mexico border at 1, 954 miles (3,145 kilometers) is heavily policed, despite a viable borderland component. Nonetheless, all three countries realize the existential significance of maintaining cross-border economic interactions regardless of negative rhetoric or political narratives. We explore this phenomenon.


Slovak-Ukrainian Cross-Border Cooperation amid and after COVID-19 Pandemic: Factors and Perspectives, Impact on Policies

Martin Lacny

Recent research shows that a pandemic must be understood as a dynamic and sweeping global phenomenon that alters social, economic, institutional, cultural and power structures in border regions across the world. In the wake of “covidfencing,” the advent of unilateralism and one-size-fits-all behavior by central states, the day-to-day functioning of many cross-border regions changed dramatically in the course of particular pandemic waves. At the same time, pandemic borders became a crash test for existing forms of cross-border cooperation and a testing ground for its new forms. As it has been explained by previous research, apart from the restrictions introduced by measures and regulations, the impacts of pandemics were mainly psychological (usually explained through worries or perceived risks) and there were short-term or longer-lasting changes in behavior related to cross-border mobility and interaction observed. Within the outlined context, our research aims to identify the perceptions and preferences of regional and local CBC actors on both sides of the border amid and after the COVID-19 pandemic, influencing their capacity to take advantage of existing and presumed opportunities for the development of CBC on the Slovak-Ukrainian border as a part of the EU’s external border. The EXLINEA research tool (used in our previous research) supplemented by questions addressing the impact of worries and perceived risks, and modified to also assess the situation retrospectively, allows us to compare the perceptions and preferences of regional and local cross-border cooperation actors amid and after the pandemic with the pre-COVID situation.


 Evaluating the Effects of the Latest Crises in the Willingness and Understanding of Cross-Border Cooperation in Various Continents

Martin Guillermo Ramirez, Juan M. Trillo-Santamaría and Eduardo Medeiros

This paper aims to present the preliminary results of a survey implemented by the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) among its members in September-October 2022 to ask border regions—sub-national public authorities—and cross-border structures—euroregions, eurodistricts, eurocities, European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs), etc.—about the extent to which the various series of crises faced in the last years have affected their willingness and understanding of cross-border cooperation and the “open borders” paradigm. For that, we will use two sets of questions: 1) general topics, such as the effects of COVID-19, the refugees’ crises and migration phenomena, the rise of populism and the need to react effectively to global warming; 2) specific topics for specific actors, such as the effects of Brexit in Ireland, the consequences of the Ukrainian war in Eastern European border regions and the transition to greener sources of energy in traditional coal producing areas. To reach a further level of answers, we will also promote a “cascade effect,” asking for someone else in everyone’s circle to further or better respond to any of the questions.

The questions posed in this call for papers have been very inspiring to better shape our survey, which seeks to present a general trend of different transformations linked to cross-border cooperation and regionalism. Therefore, we will explore how rebordering is challenging local and regional stakeholders’ cross-border strategies, and how they handle opposite border discourses. We also plan to inquire how they are facing demographic, energy and digital transitions.


Re-Bordering and the Security Dilemma of the US-Mexico Border

James Gerber

The US and Mexico share one of the most asymmetric borders in the world. Economy, language, culture and political systems differ significantly, and the history of conflict between the two nations continues to instill distrust. Recently, populists in both countries have heightened tensions through trade actions, refusal to cooperate on migration policies and new nationalistic investment rules. Current conditions reflect a long-running narrative in the United States that the border is chaotic, out of control and a source of potential danger to U.S. citizens. This narrative is supported by the imprecise and opaque definitions of border security given by the Department of Homeland Security. Resources invested in security industries in low income, high unemployment communities on the border reinforce the narrative of a chaotic border that requires increased militarization and reduced constitutional rights. This approach continues to damage border communities and citizens through human rights violations, derogations of the rule of law, environmental destruction and increases in negative economic externalities. The alternative to the current approach is one that recognizes border security as a case of complex interdependence between the United States and Mexico. This implies a need for a regime of rules and norms operating as an intergovernmental organization outside the control of a single nation.


Escaping the Territorial Trap? Resilience Strategies of Border Regions facing the Covid-19 Rebordering Politics

Elżbieta Opiłowska

The Covid-19 pandemic has had numerous social and political consequences for border regions. The temporary closure of borders not only impacted the lives of borderlanders whose everyday practices are embedded in cross-border space, but also the functioning of institutional actors involved in cross-border activities. It demonstrated how fragile the internal borders of the EU can be. Many EU member states introduced internal border controls and banned access to their territories for neighboring communities. This was a manifestation of state power vis-à-vis local and regional decision-makers and reterritorialization of the Schengen area.

14:30-16:30 Room 123 TC2

Cross-Border Dynamics in Africa

Chair: Willie Eselebor, Universal Research & Training Institute, Badagry, Lagos, Nigeria

Migratory Dynamics of non- Native foreign Farmers in the Sikolo sub-Prefecture.
Ferdinand Adja Vanga Moussa Sangare, Université Peleforo Gon Coulibaly, Korhogo, Ivory Coast

Cross-Border Mobility and Merchant Networks in the Commune of Ketou (Benin)
Azandegbe Judith V. Espérance, Hermione Godonou & Benoit Koffi Sossou, Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development Laboratory (LADYPOD); Population Training and Research Center (CEFORP), University of AborneyCalavy, Benin

Cross-Border River Police Profiling Experience in the Southwest of the Republic of Benin: Context and Issues
Vagbe Dakpéhou Donatien, Ph.D Student, University of Aborney-Calavy, Benin. Fonctionnaire de Police

Social Capital of Cross-Border Trade Between Benin and Togo
Benoît Koffi Sossou, Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development Laboratory (LADYPOD), Benin

EU Externalization, Border Management and Migration Control in Africa
Ngozi Louis Uzomah, Dept of Geography, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria





Migratory Dynamics of Non-Native Foreign Farmers in the Sikolo Sub-Prefecture

Ferdinand Adja Vanga Moussa Sangare

The migratory phenomenon in Côte d’Ivoire is closely linked to the development of the plantation economy. Indeed, the country appealed to nationals of Upper Volta (current Burkina-Faso), French Sudan (current Mali), Guinea, Dahomey (current Benin) to develop the plantation economy during the colonial period (Yao, 2012). At independence, the Ivorian authorities continued this policy of welcoming foreign immigrants to make up for the lack of manpower observed in rural areas (République de Côte d’Ivoire, 1971). The foreign labor was directed to the cocoa plantations in eastern Côte d’Ivoire called the Cocoa Loop. However, the aging of the orchards and the vagaries of rainfall that resulted in reduced yields have pushed planters to abandon their farms to seek new land further west (BALAC, 2002). The migratory movement is redirected towards the more prosperous regions of the center-west, then the south-west of Côte d’Ivoire. However, today there is an agricultural migration of foreigners to the Tchologo region. Indeed, agricultural migrants from Burkina Faso and Mali settle in Sikolo to cultivate cotton. The massive arrival of these farmers is a source of concern for indigenous communities because of the scarcity of land resources. This concern thus constitutes a source of degradation of social relations between foreign and native communities.



Cross-Border Mobility and Merchant Networks in the Commune of Ketou (Benin)

Azandegbe Judith V.  Espérance, Hermione Godonou & Koffi Benoit Koffi Sossou

In West Africa, the mobility of populations, their ability to cross the border, to take advantage of the opportunities offered in the neighboring country, generates interactions between actors and gives rise to business networks. This paper aims to study how cross-border mobility interferes with the logic of actors and participates in the establishment of a merchant network. The survey sample carried out by reasoned choice is made up of 220 actors selected in the municipality of Kétou. The surveys were conducted using a quantitative as well as a qualitative approach. The results revealed that in the municipality of Kétou the main actors of cross-border mobility are traders (59.79%), transporters (12.70%) and breeders (8.47%). Measured on the basis of the exploitation of border differentials, proximity to Nigeria and sociolinguistic affinities, market activities constitute the main reason underlying cross-border mobility. These actors develop different strategies and build business relationships, both nationally and transnationally. In this way, real commercial networks are formed that can be categorized according to gender. The calculation of the E/I index revealed a divergent business network among men (E/I = -0.24) while a homophilic business network develops among women (E/I= – 0.64); for all the actors, the business network formed is divergent (E/I = -0.47). Cross-border businesswomen are teaming up to break the gender-based glass ceiling against the development of their economic and social capital.



Cross-Border River Police Profiling Experience in the Southwest of the Republic of Benin: Context and Issues

Vagbe Dakpéhou Donatien

This paper demonstrates the territorial intelligence technique used to profile users of the river border in southwestern Benin. focusing on the modus operandi of transnational criminals. Securing the river border is done by the Mobile River Unit, which sails on the river along the border in both directions on board the flying boat. It is a truly porous border with a very large number of passages connecting the two states, created in all directions by the local populations depending on whether someone buys a boat. It is responsible for calling on the river the makeshift boats used by the local populations for the movement of people and goods. The team is responsible for checking the identity of the occupants by taking information on their origin, their destination and the load. As soon as there is a suspicion, the boat and all the occupants are taken to the shore at the fixed immigration post for an identity check and a meticulous and thorough search of the load. The arrests are often accompanied by an awareness session for the occupants. The results showed several weapons of war seized, various drugs, human trafficking is increasingly controlled and the alleged perpetrators are arrested. It follows that the river border gradually ceases to be a corridor of cross-border organized crimes.



Social Capital of Cross-Border Trade between Benin and Togo

Benoît Koffi Sossou

This research was based on the social capital of 16 merchant intermediaries who had established 270 business relationships with customers in the cross-border area between Benin and Togo at the level of Hilacondji. The snowball technique used made it possible to characterize the commercial networks set up according to sex. The research results showed that, in this regional border on the Abidjan Lagos Corridor, the main actors of cross-border mobility are adult traders and transporters whose age is between 25 and 54 years old. These actors move according to the logic of opportunity, border differentials and rely on business networks structured according to the type and nature of the products marketed. The analysis of the commercial networks set up by the actors reveals an average preference of women for homophilic business relations. These commercial networks contribute to local development directly (local taxes) and indirectly through schooling and health tasks.



EU Externalization, Border Management and Migration Control in Africa

Ngozi Louis Uzomah

Most projects and practices shaping border management and controls in Africa are stimulated by EU externalization policies geared towards lowering the trend of Europe-bound migration. The EU gives development funds to African countries in exchange for implementing strict border controls within their territories, which contradicts the free movement norms/agreements in the continent. For example, the deployment of MIDAS in Nigeria to collect and analyze travelers’ information in real-time over the border network may help in monitoring the pattern of migration and detecting criminals, but it has some concerns in terms of bias-based profiling. The EU supports countries along migration routes towards its borders to curb irregular migration from Africa. Accordingly, the ongoing biometric exercise in Mauritania to capture foreigners’ identity, the newly planned operations by Frontex in Mauritania and Senegal to tackle human trafficking to the EU and deepen border management cooperation and counter terrorism/smuggling activities, the use of Niger Republic as a rentier state for repatriation of migrants and modulation of Europe-bound migration, and the recently renewed EU/Morocco partnership after the Melilla tragedy to strengthen border management and controls at EU southern border with Africa may be of interest to the EU in its externalization policy, but they impede the historically circular movements in Africa and restrict genuine travelers and those seeking protection from reaching Europe. These EU supported projects are outside the hegemonic relationship, which, according to Fonan’s theory of post-colonialism, reinforces violence in Africa in the form of restrictive border control practices. This may continue to shape geopolitics of border management in Africa.

14:30-16:30 Room 207 TC3

Border Economics

Chair: James Scott, University of Eastern Finland

Economic Bordering of Central and Eastern Europe: Core-Periphery Relationships from a Geoeconomic Perspective
Szilard Racz, Institute for Regional Studies, Hungary

Shifts of the Migration Patterns in Sri Lanka: Analyzing the Impact of Ongoing Financial Crisis on the Growth of Out-Migration
Niruka Sanjeewani, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka

The Dialectical Relation of Historical Capitalism and The Concept of Border Identity
Melike Seker, Dept of Sociology, Munzur University, Turkey

Enhanced USMCA Rules-of-Origin Provisions for Automotive Products: Implications for Mexico’s Northern Border Industrial Base
Lucinda Vargas & Chris Erickson, New Mexico State University, USA

Post-Conflict Normalization through Trade Preferential Agreements – Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the QIZ Initiative
Tamar Arieli, Tel Hai College, Israel


Economic Bordering of Central and Eastern Europe: Core-Periphery Relationships from a Geoeconomic Perspective

Szilard Racz

Despite its normative goals of deepening interstate integration, ‘de-bordering’ European societies and promoting a greater degree of territorial cohesion, the European Union remains a highly and intricately bordered space. Economic bordering within the EU involves the investigation of the geoeconomic relationships that have emerged as a result of global market re-integration and EU membership of post-socialist states during the economic transition of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). We apply a geoeconomics perspective, assessing the role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in border spaces, as well as offering a historical context with the introduction of a post-colonial perspective relevant to the position of CEE states within the EU. We argue that concepts of core-periphery relations in the form of postcolonial dependency regimes continue to be relevant for interpreting the development of post-socialist states whose geo-economic positionality within the EU can be characterized as one of semiperipheral & intermediate (post)coloniality. Our method involves a reconstruction of FDI and financialized credit-debt impacts on CEE economies in terms of growth and convergence. At the same time, we will discuss different core-periphery ideas in terms of their suitability for interpreting the geoeconomic context. We evaluate the role of foreign capital, and the FDI model in particular, in conditioning geo-economic relations and exacerbating the vulnerability of CEE economies. External capital dependency in postcolonial dependency regimes poses long-term disadvantages for the accumulation of financial, human and even social capital, a problem that can be considered a historical weakness of CEE, especially after periodic “transformation crises” caused by frequent regime changes and the accompanying transformation losses. The limitations of our approach are given by the fact that we analyze CEE as part of a generalized heuristic of core-periphery relations in order to highlight the role of foreign economic influence and investment in CEE. However, we suggest that these limitations are offset by our general conclusions regarding geoeconomic dependencies within the EU.



Shifts of the Migration Patterns in Sri Lanka: Analyzing the Impact of Ongoing Financial Crisis on the Growth of Out-Migration

Niruka Sanjeewani

Sri Lanka is currently undergoing its worst financial crisis since independence. This unprecedented economic turmoil has led to an increase in out-migration from the country. Since the soaring inflation has been badly affected the livelihoods of people, most of the people attempt to leave the country by searching for new opportunities in other countries which can be identified as a significant shift of the migration patterns in Sri Lanka. This situation is followed by the shortage of foreign exchange, essential necessities such as fuel and medicine and economic mismanagement by the leaders of the country as a whole.

Within this context, the discussion of the paper mainly deals with two aspects: namely legal and illegal migrants. Under the aspect of legal migrants, people who have become vulnerable from the economic downturn seek to leave the country in order to work in the countries like Korea, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom etc. The government has also issued a circular by allowing the public servants to work in other countries by considering it as one of the tools to increase the dollar inflows to the county. Then in the case of illegal migrants, people have put their lives at risk by leaving the country in illicit ways, with the aim of enjoying a good life and meeting basic needs. For instance, a lot of illegal boat migrants who were crossing the borders to reach Australia were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Coast Guards. On the other hand, some of the people have already reached the Southern part of India as asylum seekers.

In this setup, the key objective of this paper is to examine how these out-migrations can affect the development of the country. In this regard, how foreign remittances can contribute to regain the development of the country will also be discussed. The qualitative methodology will be used in this study to analyze both dependent and independent variables. The ongoing financial crisis in the country is considered as the independent variable while the rise of out-migration is considered the dependent variable. The qualitative research methodology will be employed to examine the data gathered from both primary and secondary sources.



The Dialectical Relation of Historical Capitalism and The Concept of Border Identity

Melike Seker

The study aims to focus on the basic concept of the impact on the social structure of the border in the context of Global Capitalism in general. Within the complex and interrelated system, the construction of identity mediates the functioning of the Capitalist System. The research will reveal how border functions in the Capitalist System as a Modern World-System and what identity formation and expression achieve significance in associated borders. Modern capitalism and its processual character have accompanied common nation-states, the establishment of the state border and different state practices. The differentiation has created a divergent integration process of ethnic identity into national identity. For this reason, this study professes that the forms and intensities of articulation to the international capitalist system have an impact on associations with the national identity within the adjoining borders that enable segments expressed to have the same ethnic or religious identity to become citizens of different nation-states. To understand the difference between state border practices, the study focuses on a direct and dialectical relationship between the dominant national identities in different nation-states where people with the same ethnic identity live, and the conflict and harmony between the nation-states they live in and their ties in tandem with historical capitalism. From this theoretical perspective, there have been parallel relations between the intensity and relation of the Capitalist systems of Turkey and Iran and the process of integrating into the central national identity of Kurds living in the border region mentioned above. One of the border regions between Turkey and Iran has been populated by Kurds. Although they have the same ethnic, religious and linguistic ties, they have been citizens of two different countries (Turkey and Iran) because of the borderlines. In this case, the study starts by asking the question: How have the differences in the level of articulation of the capitalist system in the Turkish Republic and the Iran Islam Republic formed and affected ethnic identity in the Kurdish context? Within this broader agenda, it tries to shed light on how nation-states have formed their policy―inside and outside―to regard the international capitalist system and in connection with this, how borders have been functionalized in neighboring countries, as a case study of Turkey and Iran.



Enhanced USMCA Rules-of-Origin Provisions for Automotive Products: Implications for Mexico’s Northern Border Industrial Base

Lucinda Vargas & Chris Erickson

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) supplanted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2020. Relative to NAFTA, the USMCA stipulates more stringent rules of origin in determining North American regional content for automotive products to qualify for duty-free trade among the three countries. The new requirements on regional content, to be implemented in 2023, are prompting automotive manufacturing export companies in Mexico, largely concentrated across five of the six states that border the United States, to reevaluate their production strategies in the country in light of potential noncompliance. At the same time, both Mexico and Canada are contesting the specific U.S. interpretation of regional value content determination, which deepens the compliance requirement. The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to analyze the implications of the enhanced USMCA rules-of-origin provisions for specific automotive manufacturing export companies located in the Mexican border states of Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Nuevo León; and (2) to assesses the wider implications of the new rules for Mexico’s economy and its northern border region.


Post-conflict Normalization through Trade Preferential Agreements – Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the QIZ Initiative

Tamar Arieli

This study contributes to the broader debate regarding the potential and limitations of facilitating post-conflict normalization through trade preference agreements.


The Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) model of border-located, duty and quota-free industrial regions is a policy tool designed to capitalize on cross-border cooperation to facilitate post-conflict normalization. This U.S. policy was introduced in 1996 and offered to Israel’s neighbors, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, in the spirit of the then ongoing regional peace negotiations.

Economic incentives are commonly used to advance political agendas, particularly in international relations. Indeed, local economic and commercial interests present opportunities to facilitate regional interdependence as a buffer against a return to conflict. Yet the analysis of trade incentives and their outcomes must include not only those expected and deemed positive but rather must extend to cases in which seemingly profitable incentives do not achieve their desired goals in terms of policy intentions.

Jordan immediately seized the opportunities which the QIZ framework offered, while Egypt chose to stand on the sidelines for nearly another ten years before implementing this framework and the Palestinian Authority never joined the initiative. We analyze the significance of international globalization in formulating, timing and implementing trade-based political policy. Although preferential trade agreements are highly sensitive to globalization, we claim that it would be simplistic to attribute the unrealized potential of the QIZ model only to globalization forces. There are significant lessons to be learned from the mechanisms of the QIZ implementation, which contributed to its minimal political and economic impacts.

Our methodology involves identifying interested parties and their motivations regarding the QIZ and examination of the initial stages of its institutionalization through an analysis of official documents and semi-structured interviews conducted with public officials and private actors of the business communities of Israel, Jordan and Egypt. We analyze official statistical data regarding trade and employment to evaluate the QIZ’s economic impact on the local political economies.

We found that economic brokerage fostering trade and industrial cross-border cooperation can be side-tracked to serve one-sided economic interests while minimizing spillover to political or social realms, contrary to original intentions. The QIZ experience demonstrates the importance of the self-motivation of each of the parties regarding specific cooperative ventures as well as the balance between them in guaranteeing the success of cross-border cooperation.



14:30-16:30 Room 208 TC4 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/Ylqth7s2rec

Urban Borders and Geopolitics

Chair: Hila Zaban, Kineret Academic College, Israel

The New (Urban) Borderland? Urban Displaceabilities and the Return of the Colonial
Oren Yiftachel, Dept of Geography, Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Preserving ‘the Enemy’s’ Architecture: Preservation and Gentrification in a Formerly Palestinian Jerusalem Neighborhood
Hila Zaban, Kineret Academic College, Israel

A City of Many Borders: Crossing the Sacred and Profane Spaces of Hebron
Gideon Elazar & Miriam Billig, Ariel and Bar Ilan Universities, Israel

Changing Urban Boundaries in a Postcolonial Setting: The Case of Mitrovica (Kosovo)
Yehezkel Lein, Ben-Gurion University, Israel



The New (Urban) Borderland? Urban Displaceabilities and the Return of the Colonial

Oren Yiftachel

Cities are increasingly becoming the main ‘borderlands’ of the contemporary political order. The paper builds a conceptual framework for understanding the evolution of urban bordering in multi-ethnic/racial/national cities. It highlights the differences between ‘old’ and ‘new’ urban divisions forming around identity groups. The ‘old’ refers to essentialized homeland national, or racial minorities, who are nonetheless state and urban citizens, such as the prominent examples of ‘divided cities’―Belfast, Nicosia, Johannesburg or Chicago. The ‘new’ refer to the vast majority of cities, which host growing groups of (international and internal) migrants and indigenous peoples. These are ‘displaceable’ urban residents who are denied full civil rights in the city and are hence ‘bordered out’ from full urban citizenship.

Accordingly, the paper suggests that the contemporary merging of ‘old’ and ‘new’ divisions, alongside the current formations of ‘neoliberal’ capitalism and digital governance, spawn the emergence of neocolonial relations. The process is best described as ‘inversed coloniality,’ whereby the traditional colonial mode of expanding into new borderlands is replaced by massive urban migration and de-facto apartheid regimes, as the extreme examples of Dubai and Hong Kong illustrate. The new relations are marked by deepening control measures imposed ‘from above’ on the ‘unwanted/irremovable’ groups, through multiplicity of legal, spatial, digital and political borderings. In contrast to the putative open, democratic and liberal image of most cities, these practices create new forms of spatial and aspatial conditions of ‘separate and unequal’ and minority displaceabilities, resembling ‘old’ colonial relations. The arguments will be illustrated through vignettes from the multiple bordering practices evident in different regions of Israel/Palestine.


Preserving ‘the Enemy’s’ Architecture: Preservation and Gentrification in a Formerly Palestinian Jerusalem Neighborhood

Hila Zaban

The Baka neighborhood in Jerusalem was built by wealthy Palestinians in the late nineteenth century during Ottoman rule and was further developed during the British Mandate period. The neighborhood was conquered during the 1948 war and was soon densely re-populated by working class Jewish migrants. After the 1967 war and the geopolitical changes in the city’s borders, Baka ‘centralized’, becoming an inner-city neighborhood. Additionally, an emerging architectural trend cherished the aesthetics of the Palestinian architecture, regarding it as ‘authentic.’ This triggered a long-going process of gentrification in Baka, which later turned into super-gentrification. These processes were also combined with privileged migration of Jews from Western countries. Baka’s unique Palestinian architecture had been the ‘engine’ of the neighborhood’s gentrification process, which later shifted from the Palestinian homes to newly built housing units and additions on Palestinian homes, and finally even to the poorly built housing developments of the 1960s, eventually turning Baka into a trendy, prestigious neighborhood. This paper focuses on the preservation of Palestinian buildings in Jerusalem and raises the question of why state institutions act to preserve Palestinian architecture, bearing in mind the context of a difficult past and an on-going conflict. It addresses the way Jerusalem’s heritage discourse focuses only on preserving Palestinian buildings’ architectural styles, and not the narrative of their builders. The main argument is that while preservation is presented as a civilized practice, it is driven by the commodification of the buildings and sites and their valued ‘authenticity.’ The common practice is to ‘preserve’ these buildings by developing them massively to create more housing units, inevitably contributing to gentrification. Moreover, even when intangible aspects of heritage are pushed aside, preserving these buildings comes with the ‘risk’ of them being used as memory sites for subaltern groups of Palestinians, Israelis or others


A City of Many Borders: Crossing the Sacred and Profane Spaces of Hebron

Gideon Elazar & Miriam Billig

Hebron is a city of multiple boundaries, both sacred and profane. For almost three decades, since the 1994 Goldstein massacre, the Tomb of the Patriarchs/ Ibrahimi Mosque has been divided between Muslims and Jews. Two years later, with the signing of the Hebron accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the city was divided into Palestinian (H1) and Israeli (H2) areas. Unlike the single demarcation line dividing cities such as Nicosia, Cold War Berlin or pre-1967 Jerusalem, Hebron’s urban frontier is a highly complex array of checkpoints, barriers, Jewish enclaves and various degrees of restricted mobility. Moreover, Hebron’s borders are of two distinct natures: while the boundary between H1 and H2 is based on citizenship (Israeli or Palestinian) and official state permits, entrance to both sides of the Tomb of the Patriarchs is determined solely according to religion. Muslims of all passports are forbidden entrance to the Jewish side and vice versa. As the category of religion is rarely written on official documents it is the task of the Israeli soldiers and the Muslim authorities (waqf) guards to question tourists regarding their religion. Finally, within the Tomb of the Patriarchs itself lies a border that remains almost entirely uncrossed: the division between the structure of the building and the ancient burial cave beneath the floor where the Biblical and Quranic figures are allegedly buried.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Hebron between 2019 and 2022, this lecture will focus on the borders of Hebron, examining the movement of tourists and pilgrims within and across the city’s various spaces. Our goal is to analyze the ways in which movement within the Tomb of the Patriarchs and across Hebron is employed both to challenge and maintain Hebron’s boundaries. Thus, Jewish and Evangelical groups move westwards from the Tomb of the Patriarchs through the Jewish neighborhoods to the site of biblical Hebron and the extreme edge of H2. Such movement through Hebron aims to a narrative of exile and return of a national and religious nature. Narratives of Hebron’s past and sacred space are challenged by Palestinian solidarity tours of the city, moving through the many checkpoints and barriers and attempting to deconstruct Hebron’s sacred geography and reveal a broken and stagnant urban landscape. In between, Muslim and Christian pilgrims make their way towards the sacred center in the Tomb.


Changing Urban Boundaries in a Postcolonial Setting: The Case of Mitrovica (Kosovo)

Yehezkel Lein

During and after the 1998–99 war, Mitrovica, Kosovo’s second largest city, witnessed a mutual ethnic cleansing of Christian Orthodox Serbs from its southern part and of Muslim Albanians from the northern one. In 2008, following Kosovo’s unilateral and contested declaration of independence, the ethnic and geographical division of the city solidified, leading to the establishment of two separate municipalities.

These developments triggered a growing academic interest in Mitrovica as a divided and post-war city. The bulk of this scholarship has focused on the ethnonational (cultural, linguistic, religious) cleavage as the exclusive driver of segregation and recurrent escalations of tensions and violence. As a result, other forces co-shaping Mitrovica’s urban fabric have been understudied, including the following three:

Serbia’s settler colonial practices aimed at undermining Kosovo’s statehood and the related counter efforts by the Kosovan state. Much of this struggle is centered in Kosovo’s northern borderland, including Mitrovica, where Serbia operates a range of parallel institutions and provides incentives to its nationals to settle.

The patriarchal order of society, which is reinforced by the reliance of both ethnonational narratives on symbols of war heroism and martyrdom, as reflected in the monuments and memorials erected in both parts of the city.

The emergence of a few, primarily commercial, places of spontaneous (i.e., non-donor-driven) peaceful encounters between Serbs and Albanians, which have contributed to a limited and still fragile spatial desegregation of the city.

Based on a series of in-depth interviews, field observations and secondary sources, this presentation aims at highlighting the ways in which the intersection of these structural forces shapes the dynamics of segregation and coexistence in a borderland and postcolonial city.



14:30-16:30 Room 213 TC5

Bordering Practices and Geopolitics in Asia

Chair: Dhanajay Tripathi, South Asian University, Delhi, India

Bordering Practices in the Western Himalayas
Krishnendra Meena, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

The Everyday in the Nepal-India Borders: Analyzing the Political Sociology of Nepal-India Relations
Manish Jung Pulami, South Asian University, New Delhi, India

Borderland of the Frozen Highland in the Transforming Geo-Strategic Terrain: A Case Study of the Sikkim Himalaya
Uttam Lal, Department of Geography, Sikkim University, India

India-China Border Dispute: Understanding the Geostrategic Relevance of Ladakh
Surya Prakash, Department of Political Science, Banaras Hindu University, India


Session Abstract:

Theoretically, there is an unambiguous definition of border mainly referring to its function, and that is to divide. Still, the perception and interpretation of borders are region-specific. For Western Europe, borders as dividing lines and security challenges are not the correct representation. It is about coordination and linkages. In Asia, borders are anything but political connections. It is security and geopolitics  that predominates the discussion on borders in Asia. Even in academic circles, except for a few borders, Asian borders are primarily described in terms of national security. This obsession with border security narrows the research agenda in Asia, especially in South Asia. Contrary to this hegemonic discourse on Asian borders, we can find that there are different facets that require our attention. As the history of so many Asian borders, it is not only tied to colonialism. Borders in this region have been shaped for ages, even before the arrival of the British, but there is a lack of academic literature on the subject. Similarly, there are fascinating stories about border towns – it is of enmity, collaboration, and border economy. There are other themes like the feminist idea of borders which is quite strong in South Asia but ignored by mainstream International Relations. Satisfactorily in the last few years, the border discourse in Asia has changed, and we have scholars working on different themes. This is good for border studies as it will add a new dimension to the subject.



Bordering Practices in the Western Himalayas

Krishnendra Meena

The paper intends to examine bordering practices adopted by Indian agencies in the Western Himalayas. One line of inquiry relates to the difficult physiographic conditions and border infrastructure in the region. Since the June 2020 border crisis, both India and China have invested in infrastructure in the region to create strong supply lines and achieve improved mobility for their forces. The paper will assess developments since the last two years in the border state of Himachal Pradesh and the benefits it accrues for the border residents.

A second aim of the paper is to investigate linkages between this work of the Indian state and the perception of the State in the border zone. The nature of center-periphery relations in this hostile terrain is significant because of the intense geopolitical rivalry with the economic powerhouse, China, across the border. Furthermore, bordering practices are only enhanced and improved with the involvement of border residents. The paper will examine whether such borderwork on behalf of the state changes perceptions about it. Intensive field work in the form of interaction with border residents and the administrative set up at the local level forms an inherent part of the study.



The Everyday in the Nepal-India Borders: Analyzing the Political Sociology of Nepal-India Relations

Manish Jung Pulami

A significant amount of the population resides in the Nepal-India borderlands. The everyday life of people is different within the borders compared to the other parts of the country. Lives are highly integrated and interdependent on the borderlands. Nepal and India have historical relations with the exchange not only of commodities but of culture, religion and several other aspects. The study of Nepal-India borders is primarily based on geographical explanations, which have guided the political reasoning of the decision-makers in bilateral relations. The people in the Nepal-India borderlands are the ones who directly experience the authority of the two governments. The formal and informal transnational mobility is a day-to-day ritual for the people at the open borders. Thus, the study perceives borderlands as an everyday space.

However, when we observe the political decisions regarding bilateral relations, sometimes soured by the border conflicts between Nepal and India, the aspects of the people in the borderlands are not considered. Regarding political relations with neighbors, both countries have primarily viewed borders from the state’s perspective. Some unspeakable and extraordinary actions happen regularly at the Nepal-India open borders. Thus, the study believes that examining everyday life along the Nepal-India open borders is essential to investigate the relations between the two. We will also investigate whether the state perspective on the bilateral relations harnesses advantages for the actual people who are in daily interaction with the neighbor or not. The research emphasizes that the framework of political sociology will provide a clear picture of the need for people-centric political relations in Nepal with its neighbors.

The theoretical framework for the research is the idea of political sociology. The theoretical framework of political sociology in the research provides the inductive level of analysis. The Nepal-India open border, as a point of interaction, through which the interaction of the state and society shall be examined. Although many scholars have viewed power (or, in the case of borders: territoriality and sovereignty) as an essential concept; however, this study has tried to contest this traditional idea. The nature of the research shall be qualitative. By focusing on the local environment, the ethnographic study highlights how boundaries are built, negotiated, and seen from “below” via the daily activities of the residents. This study’s research method shall be field visits and unstructured interviews with people in the borderlands.



Borderland of the Frozen Highland in the Transforming Geo-strategic Terrain: A Case Study of the Sikkim Himalaya

Uttam Lal

Perceptions of the Himalayas oscillated between the idea of a remote physical scape to the psychologically central ‘cultural entity’ in the Indian and Tibetan psyche as well as the borderland geography of the modern nation-state. As both Indians and Tibetans shared a lot of commonalities including the nuanced persona of a belief system which can be traced back to the nature-worship era of pre-Hinduism and pre-Buddhism, elements of nature became holy in these faiths. Thus, the Himalayan wilderness has been perceived as sacred and is represented as revered sites. As the sacred meant pure, propitious, pious, divine, etc., the least frequented places came to be visualized as unpolluted, hence pure, meaning holy. Naturally, the Himalayan wilderness consisted of forests, other living beings, and desolate spaces such as glaciers, lakes, springs, barren rocky terrain, caves, etc.; these have been revered as sacred groves and holy sites. With the geo-strategic games and the cartographic readjustments of the previous century, stronger expressions of modern nation-states and the metamorphosis of the soft borders into hard ones, the Himalayan trails heralded an era of routes and rivals. Thus, they also played a defining role in competing security concerns and economic growth. Thereby leaving the rather frozen Himalayan highland to come to terms with the changed realities of politico-social and ecological settings. Located at the geographic crossroads between Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China, Nepal and Bhutan, Sikkim regularly registered limited but somewhat unregulated footfalls of people until recently. However, the area underwent a major change post 1960s owing to the transformation of the international boundary into securitized borders after the Sino-India war.

This work is set in the Eastern Himalaya’s Sikkim and is an attempt to trace the migrating memories through the lenses of space-relation and the borderland as homeland. It is an attempt to capture the shocks which the fragile Himalayan borderland ecology has undergone in recent decades. The study will incorporate participant observation and Focused Group Discussion to understand perception, attitudes, practices and preferences pertaining to resource usage & space-relation in the context of the Sino-Indian geo-politics rumblings, besides using Remote Sensing & GIS to understand the physiography of the area.


India-China Border Dispute: Understanding the Geostrategic Relevance of Ladakh

Surya Prakash

The Ladakh region plays an important role because of its geostrategic location and historical relevance for the ancient silk route, which passed through this region and played a vital role in the development of culture, religion, philosophy, trade and commerce in the past. Ladakh connects some politically and economically significant zones of the world like Central Asia, South Asia, China and the Middle eEast. Recently, on the backdrop of the military clash between India and China, palpable tensions have emerged in different sections along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), especially in the Ladakh region. Ladakh became the hotspot of frequent skirmishes between the Indian and Chinese armies.

The first incident was triggered on 5–6 May 2020 at the Pangong Tso sector in eastern Ladakh, which led to an aggressive face-off between the two countries. Such a detrimental military clash happened after 45 years along the LAC in Ladakh region in which 21 casualties from the Indian side and 43 casualties from the Chinese side were reported by the media (The Hindu, June 17, 2020). Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed all party meetings after the clash and tweeted that “India is a peace-loving country, it can give a befitting reply if provoked.” In the wake of the Ladakh standoff, both countries have increased the presence of troops in critical areas like Daulat Beg Oldie, and Demchok, and in areas adjacent to Galwan river and Pangong Tso lake. Till July 2022, sixteen rounds of talks were held between Indian and Chinese corps commanders to resolve the standoff (Press release, MEA website, July 17, 2022). The still unresolved Ladakh standoff has created a new strategic reality for India, marked by renewed political hostility with China and increased militarization of the Line of Actual Control. Instead of a place of confrontation, the local people of Ladakh want to see their land as geostrategically important in terms of cooperation, trade hub, peace and prosperity. The present research paper is an attempt to deconstruct the relevance of the concept of geostrategy in the India-China border through the Ladakh region. It also probes the multiple facets of the diplomatic, political and economic impact of the Ladakh crisis in the broader realm of border studies in south Asia.


14:30-16:30 Room 214 TC6

Borders at the Movies III: The Terminal (USA, 204)

The Terminal (USA, 2004)

 The Terminal is a 2004 American comedy-drama film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom HanksCatherine Zeta-Jones and Stanley Tucci. The film is about an Eastern European man who is stuck in New York‘s John F. Kennedy Airport terminal when he is denied entry to the United States and at the same time is unable to return to his native country because of a military coup.

Viktor Navorski, a traveler from the fictional country of Krakozhia, arrives at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and learns that a coup d’état has occurred back home. The United States does not recognize Krakozhia’s new government, and Viktor is not permitted to enter the United States or return home as his passport is no longer considered valid. Because of this, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seize his passport and return ticket pending resolution of the issue. He becomes a refugee and is forced to live at the airport

The film is partially inspired by the true story of the 18-year stay of Mehran Karimi Nasseri in Terminal 1 of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, France, from 1988 to 2006. In 1988, Nasseri flew from Brussels to London via Paris; however, he was sent back to Paris because he lost his refugee passport. Nasseri lived in the transit area of Terminal 1 at Paris-Charles de Gaulle until 2006, after France denied him entry

14:30-16:30 Room 210 (Film) TC7

Coffe Break


Going Beyond the Security Lens

Chair: Martin Guillermo Ramirez, Association of European Border Regions, Berlin, Germany
Discussant: Sanjay Chaturvedi, South Asian University, Delhi, India

Border Studies in Asia: An International Relations Perspective
Dhanajay Tripathi, South Asian University, Delhi, India

Normative Borders in East Asia (V)
Edward Boyle, International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) Kyoto, Japan

Third Wave of Migration in Japan: Focusing on Local Government Initiatives (V)
Naomi Chi, Hokaido University, Japan

Political Ecologies of Covid-19 Borders―Transboundary Spaces and Mobilities in South Asia
Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi, India


Session Abstract

Every region has a unique understanding of borders. For Europe, despite recent events, much of the discussion is premised on integration and connectivity; for Asia, by contrast, there are still several unresolved critical issues. For most Asian states, borders are still viewed through the lens of security, a primary optic that distorts efforts to view borders from other perspectives. Therefore, while there is ample discussion regarding border securitization, the same is not true for research on borderlands, border community, connectivity and non-traditional security issues around climate change and human security, and such work that is conducted is frequently distorted by the dominant security lens.

The panel intends to reflect on these issues by bringing together scholars from two contrasting Asian contexts, specifically from Japan and India. The panel will seek to go beyond the security lens to reflect upon how bordering processes affect state territory, the role of demands for autonomy on how borders are perceived by both states and populations, and how these domestic border political issues come to be refracted geopolitically across global regimes.


Border Studies in Asia: An International Relations Perspective

Dhanajay Tripathi

Border Studies is a young and flourishing academic discipline. It is drawing the attention of scholars in different regions of the world. Border Studies is multidisciplinary, yet still from the International Relations (IR) perspective one can find that there is less engagement. This is particularly true for post-colonial and post-partition regions like South Asia. The simple reason is that coloniality, partitions and civil unrest shape the political consciousness of South Asian countries. Theoretically, it is predominantly Realism that guides foreign relations of South Asian states. Efforts at regionalism met with little success in South Asia due to prevailing mistrust amongst states. For states, regional cooperation is a zero-sum game, and such a rationale is an antithesis to the concept of soft and open borders. Securitizing the border is largely an accepted theme as it is a matter of national security concerns. So studying borders in South Asia is majorly confined to those IR scholars who endorse the Realist paradigm. Scholars who subscribe to other schools of thought also never seriously contested the Realist lens for South Asian Border Studies. As a result, Border Studies failed to find many scholars in the IR departments, albeit it has patrons in other social science departments. On this background, there is a need to challenge the Realist perspective on the South Asian border and, at the same time, to engage with other theories in order to expand the canvas of discussion. The objective of this paper is to generate debate in South Asian IR scholarship about Border Studies, by focusing on other pertinent theories like Liberalism and Constructivism.


Normative Borders in East Asia  (V)

Edward Boyle

Japanese anxiety stemming from the nation’s territorial disputes, most notably with China since escalation in the East China Sea in 2012, has been well-documented. Although the state has drawn upon the notion of “inherent territory” in order to foreground these islands as a security imperative, all three disputes are increasingly framed by the terms of UNCLOS. However, UNCLOS is also reshaping notions of Japan itself, and there exists a parallel anxiety in Japan regarding the maintenance of sovereignty over remote areas of the national body.

The possession of numerous small islands has served to expand Japan’s “territory sixfold,” but their current isolation and rapid depopulation is a cause of mounting concern. The decision in early 2017 to single out 71 of these islands as “inhabited border territories,” ones able to avail themselves of special support because “letting islands become uninhabited is bad for national security.” shows how the ontological insecurities of East Asian states have come to be refracted through outlying border islands.

This paper will consider the relations between the multilateral institution of UNCLOS as offering new normative border claims, and its relationship with understandings of state territory. However, it will also reflect on how such international claims come to be nationalized and indigenized in domestic political contexts in order to legitimate these novel bordering practices, which work to re-assert and re-routinize the stability of the state’s maritime territorial claims.


Third Wave of Migration in Japan: Focusing on Local Government Initiatives (V)

Naomi Chi

In April 2019, the Japanese government revised the Immigration Control and Refugee Law and implemented new visa statues as a measure to fill in for the lack of labor in non- to less-skilled work, including manufacturing, construction, services, agriculture and fishing. Japan’s official position on migration was to accept only highly skilled workers, thus, this is considered the first time that the Japanese government has officially announced the acceptance of “blue collar” migrant workers to Japan. With this revision, it is expected that there will be an increase in “blue collar” foreign migrant workers; however, even though this provides an opportunity for small local municipalities to counter depopulation and revitalize their community, many still lack the resources and infrastructure to integrate migrant workers into their community.

This presentation will attempt to first examine the history of the acceptance of migrants into local communities starting from the 1990s, when Brazilians and Peruvians with Japanese heritage were able to apply for a residence visa, and, second, explore some of the new and innovative measures introduced by progressive local governments to attract migrant workers to their community.



Political Ecologies of Covid-19 Borders―Transboundary Spaces and Mobilities in South Asia

Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

The Covid-19 pandemic brought about fundamental changes in the manner and methods through which we understand mobility and migration across borders and transboundary spaces. There were mobility restrictions as well as mass migrations of human populations across and within countries at the same time, bringing in layers of challenges to communities and ecologies across transboundary spaces. This paper attempts to employ a political ecology approach to understand such dynamics of inclusion and exclusion of communities and their ecologies in South Asia, particularly in the context of the eastern Himalayan borderlands. This paper will examine the pressures of mobility restrictions across nation-state borders and mass migrations within nation-state borders, and how territorial container understandings of spaces have proliferated.

The spaces that this paper examines have been regularly prone to multiple ecological hazards over decades and centuries, and communities have adapted to such hazardscapes. However, with COVID-19 as an additional jeopardy on which national and international attention is focused, this paper attempts to examine the additional layers of jeopardies that mobility restrictions and mass migration have brought upon such communities and ecologies. The socialization of the Covid-19 situation as a new normal on the backdrop of the regular hazardscape of the region is of particular research interest. This will contribute to a comparative understanding of the effects of such epidemiological crises, and how national and provincial governments have responded to such challenges in public policy and transboundary cooperation context.





17:00-19:00 Auditorium TD1 BIG Panel 8: Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/t32zi_m22Mw

Everyday Life and Local Perspectives in Conflictual Border Regions

Chairs: Anett Schmitz and Gerhild Perl, University of Trier, Germany

Emergent Solidarities―Migrant Support and the Prefiguration of New Communities in Gran Canaria
Charlotte Naab, University of Bern, Switzerland

Occluded Mobilities: Urban Conjunctures and Border Effects along the “Balkan Route”
Jelena Tossic, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

The Inner Fringe of the EU External Border as “Grey Space”: On Border Temporalities and Entangled Movements and Halts within the Croatian-Bosnian borderzone
Carolin Leutloff-Grandits, Europe-University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany


Session Abstract

How do the interplay of migration movements and the militarization of borders shape diverse European border regions on a political, economic, social and cultural level? How do enforced border control, border infrastructures and discourses on reterritorialization impact everyday life in border zones? And how do diverse actors such as locals, migrants, activists and civil servants navigate everyday life and how are relationships between these different actors negotiated?

At the edges of the EU, for example in Turkey, North Africa, the Balkans and Belarus, but also within EU territory, like on the Greek Islands, the Canary Islands or the English Channel, so-called hotspots are formed, where myriad people gather and are hindered from moving forward due to visa restrictions, security control and illegal pushbacks. Those who overcome these obstacles and manage to enter the EU often end up in the detention centers or make-shift camps that substantially mark everyday life in border regions.

In this panel we explore how ever tighter border controls, including infrastructures, increased police presence and migrants stranded en route impact the everyday life of dwellers in border regions. We explore how different people evaluate these border configurations and how they relate to one another. Local responses to contemporary border configurations in and around the EU oscillate between hospitality and hostility. They might manifest in acts of solidarity and so-called “welcome cultures”; or they might reveal conflictual boundary processes between migrants and locals. Against this backdrop, the panel aims at comparing everyday life in different conflictual border regions such as the Canary Islands, the English Channel, Greece, the Balkans, Morocco and Turkey. Therefore, we explore the social fabric of border regions across and beyond Europe and ask about both conflicts and challenges as well as possibilities and unexpected opportunities for local structures and border realities.



Emergent Solidarities―Migrant Support and the Prefiguration of New Communities in Gran Canaria 

Charlotte Naab

Adapting to the increasing surveillance of the Mediterranean and the externalization of the EU-border control to North Africa, a growing number of migrants cross the Atlantic from West Africa and Morocco towards the Canary Islands. More than 23,000 migrants entered mainly Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Fuerteventura during 2021, a migration rate that the archipelago has confronted with since the early 2000s. In combination with the Covid-19 pandemic, the resulting absence of tourists and a rising unemployment rate, many locals developed concerns about the newcomers and possible economic effects. In addition, the government has been unprepared to manage such an increase in migrants, which initially led to improvised and inadequate handling of the situation. Migrants, now stuck on the islands, face racial and ethnic discrimination, high precarity and uncertainties, and while they wait to be transferred to mainland Spain, they are more likely to be returned to their origin countries.

Already considered the “new Lesvos,” authorities, activists and locals are concerned that Gran Canaria, the former tourist “paradise,” will soon be transformed into another island prison for migrants. Responding to the rise of anti-migrant sentiments, the failure of government measures and the migrants’ suffering, residents of “La Isleta,” a small working-class neighborhood in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, spontaneously took matters into their own hands and organized a variety of migrant support, such as private shelter, language classes and legal assistance. While redefining the boundaries of belonging and responsibility, the common creation of new spaces, collaborations and infrastructures also appear to reclaim the neighborhood against touristification and impending alienation.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this presentation will provide insights into the motivations, practices, challenges and achievements of the emergent solidarities as well as into the transformative potential of the encounters and the prefiguration of new communities in Gran Canaria.



Occluded Mobilities: Urban Conjunctures and Border Effects along the “Balkan Route”

Jelena Tossic

This paper looks more closely at an urban neighborhood (Savamala) in Belgrade, Serbia, which figured (and still does) as a mobility knot along the so-called Balkan Route and at the same time is a locus of neoliberal restructuring and urban boundary making. It relates two different socio-spatial processes converging in Savamala by foregrounding how they are both marked by, even though in a crucially different way, occluding mobility. The first one is the movement of forced migrants heading towards the Hungarian and Croatian borders, which climaxed in the long summer of migration 2015 (when Savamala became a humanitarian-securitized mobility hub), and which is still ongoing, but by and large ignored by the authorities. The second is the complete transformation of the neighborhood by enforced dispossession and relocation of the local population and destruction of entrepreneurial and art spaces by the state, which has sparked repeated protest walks and expert critique. The latter is highlighting that the new part of the city (Belgrade Waterfront) emerging out of the destruction of Savamala is a form of violent and long-term unsustainable construction in terms of ignoring the fact that is it built on moving water and soil.

The paper tries to think about how, if and why not these two different processes (and their protagonists, such as migrants, local dwellers and entrepreneurs, activists and others)―which are both manifestations of a global deepening of inequalities, state surveillance and neoliberal reforms and are marked by making (non)human mobility invisible―converge and have mutual effects. The paper is based on long-term patch-work ethnography, media analysis and relevant scholarly literature.


The Inner Fringe of the EU External Border as “Grey Space”: On Border Temporalities and Entangled Movements and Halts within the Croatian-Bosnian borderzone

Carolin Leutloff-Grandits

The border between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina establishes an EU external border, which has been increasingly securitized since the official closing of the so-called “transit route” through the Western Balkans in 2016. On the Bosnian-side of the border, many migrants from the global South are stuck, as they are regularly pushed back by Croatian border guards as soon as who try to cross the border unauthorized. In my presentation, I want to look at the transformation of this region from the perspective of local inhabitants living on the Croatian side of the border. While they have very limited contact with migrants, who move through this region as invisibly as possible, the everyday life of local inhabitants is still affected by the rescaling of the region into an EU external border zone. By linking different scales―the EU to the national and local―I will unfold the perspectives of local residents. I will argue that the place local residents inhabit is constructed by the diverse border temporalities and movements through and from the region and thus becomes an ambivalent “grey space.” Local inhabitants adopt European hierarchies towards Bosnian neighbors as well as migrants from the global South. Simultaneously, they feel increasingly peripheralized―within Croatia, but also by the EU, as their region has not only become a transit zone for people from the global South but also a place of outmigration for local inhabitants, not only because of the war along ethno-national lines in the 1990s but also because of neoliberal transformations and, lately, also through Croatia’s EU membership.



17:00-19:00 Room 123 TD2

Post-Covid Era in South American Borders: Security and Everyday Life

Chair: Yosef Gotlieb, David Yellin College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel

Security Impacts on Transit during the Pandemic at the Triple Border
Adriana Dorfman & Rafael Francisco França, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Mobility and Immobility on Brazilian Borders in Pandemic Times
Alex Dias de Jesus, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Borders under Tension and (Re)Integration Processes in South: The Case of Amapa and French Guiana
Miguel Dhenin, Universidade Federal do Amapa, Brazil

BorderRrelations in South America: Brazil’s Defense Diplomacy with Its Different Neighbors
Danilo Marcondes, Brazilian War College, Brazil


Security Impacts on Transit during the Pandemic at the Triple Border

Adriana Dorfman & Rafael Francisco França

The increase in controls at ports of entry in terrestrial borders, at ports and airports, or their total closure, during the Covid pandemic prevented most passages but did not stop clandestine methods of movement. In the border region between Brazil and Paraguay, more specifically at the extension of Lake of Itaipu, the Paraná River and the Triple Border between Presidente Franco/PY, Puerto Iguazu/AR and Foz do Iguaçu/BR, what really happened was an increase in prices charged for the illegal passage of goods and people.

In Foz do Iguaçu, as an urban area, the changes caused by the pandemic were emblematic. As a region of coexistence between Paraguayans, Argentines and Brazilians, the Triple Frontier population resorted to clandestine methods of crossing the river to satisfy the interests of businessmen, students and travelers. When the borders were uncoordinated, many of those who live in Foz do Iguaçu, but trade or work in Ciudad del Este or Puerto Iguazu, used chibeiros (or paseros) and their small boats to cross the borders without passing through control points; Brazilian medical students enrolled in Paraguay and who were surprised by the closure of the International Friendship Bridge used the same methods to pass back to Brazil. Also, residents of Puerto Iguazu crossed the Iguaçu River towards Brazil to buy food due to the shortage announced there. This unequivocally points to the following premise: the internal demands of each country impact the region and not the opposite.

Regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic itself, the ramifications were felt very differently in the region. Brazil was much more severely affected by the health tragedy, which made neighboring countries close their borders to control the spread of the virus. But only Brazil has a health system with universal care. This includes the application of vaccines to prevent SARS-COV2, attracting Argentines and mainly Paraguayans. Even with restrictions on passage, Brazil continued to serve as a “refuge” to remedy health problems faced by the population of neighboring cities. And when it was necessary to get in and out, those who needed it used the “services” of the same networks that organize and maintain the trade of illicit items. The flows returned to normal after the opening of the borders, although with “prices” still inflated by increased demand in illicit markets.



Mobility and Immobility on Brazilian Borders in Pandemic Times

Alex Dias de Jesus

The Covid-19 pandemic profoundly impacted the various forms of mobility within and beyond international borders. All over the world, restrictive measures were implemented to reduce the spread of the virus, such as mandatory testing, social isolation or even a total ban on entries in the most acute period of the crisis. In Brazil, mobility across international borders was subject to control, mainly through federal government decrees and ordinances. More than thirty normative acts were published, focusing mainly on the mobility of subjects from neighboring countries. Given this scenario, this paper aims to analyze these documents and the administrative records of the National Migratory Registration System (Sismigra) and the International Traffic System (STI), both from the Federal Police, the institution responsible for migratory control in the country, during the years 2020 and 2021, to measure and qualify the effect of these measures on the mobility and immobility of international migrants at Brazilian borders.



Borders under Tension and (Re)Integration Processes in South: The Case of Amapa and French Guiana)

Miguel Dhenin

The global pandemic linked to the Sars-Cov-2 virus (or COVID-19) affected the South American continent in a very significant way from March 2020 until today. Faced with this phenomenon, states massively adopted urgent measures, choosing the logic of temporarily closing their borders, as replicated in many regions of the world. Despite regional governance structures, we can only note the absence of a shared health policy to limit the impact on populations and on national health systems. Indeed, all countries suffered many human losses, with South America even being at the epicenter of the spread of COVID-19 during the year 2021.

On the other hand, since 2018, we can observe a gradual political shift from right to left in many different countries that could eventually lead to a new integration process, or, as we labelled it, a reintegration, bringing together key actors, such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile or Colombia. We want to focus on the impact of those regional trends for local borderlands issues, particularly regarding health and local governance issues.

This paper presents an overview of the main border tensions in South America during the last two years, particularly in the Amazonian context. For that matter, we want to stress some key elements that can offer new data.

One among many aspects of the recent period is the fact that the region is shifting from right-wing oriented countries to liberal-left wing ones, changing the political momentum of the region, and this was indeed a key factor in some local political adjustments. Another key element was the local resilience of border regions, being able to manage the Covid-19 crisis despite the fact that health resources sometimes took a long time to reach local populations, particularly indigenous ones. This paper aims to stress how that process was put under pressure by local, national and international actors.

Finally, we want to offer a balanced view of the experience between 2020 and 2022 in the borderlands of the state of Amapá (Brazil) and French Guiana. This case study should bring relevant data to stress some positive and negative aspects of the Covid-19 crisis management by governmental stakeholders, from both sides of the border.



Border Relations in South America: Brazil’s Defense Diplomacy with Its Different Neighbors

Danilo Marcondes

Relations with neighboring countries are a key element in the foreign and defense policy strategies of emerging powers. In most cases, such as China and India, these countries face challenges and contestation regarding their regional aspirations. Brazil has been a particularly unique case of an emerging power that is geographically satisfied and whose border disputes were settled in the 19th and 20th centuries. In spite of the above-mentioned considerations, our paper seeks to understand a more complex picture of the current border relations between Brazil and its South American neighbors. By employing a Defense Diplomacy perspective, the paper unpacks the existing relations by looking at the multiplicity of actors involved in the day-to-day management of Brazil’s border relations, including diplomats, defense attachés, Brazilian Intelligence Agency officials and Brazilian Federal Police attachés.

Defense Diplomacy allows for a more complex assessment of the ecology of actors present in border relations, as well as an analysis that contemplates the need for foreign policy agents to coordinate their activities with other state officials. In addition, the Defense Diplomacy approach allows for an understanding of the importance of military exercises, joint border patrols, as well as the exchange of officers for courses and other training activities.

By looking at Brazil’s relations with South American states, the paper manages to capture the variety of border relations that exist within one single regional space. For example, the political, cultural, security and commercial dimensions of the border relations between Brazil and Argentina are significantly different from the border relations between Brazil and Guyana. In doing so, the paper contributes to advancing the understanding of border studies, including those looking at cases within the Global South.


17:00-19:00 Room 207 TD3

Geopolitics and Strategic Management of African Borders and Borderlands

Chair: Benoît Koffi Sossou, Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development Laboratory (LADYPOD), Benin

Cross-Border Terrorism and State Responses in Northern Border Areas of the Ivory Coast
Guipie Gérard Eddie Marc, Universite Peleforo Gon Coulibaly University of Korhogo, Ivory Coast

Migration and Trade of Agricultural Products in ECOWAS Countries
Marie Odile Attanasso, National School of Applied Economics and Management, University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin

Socio-Cultural Obstacles to the Fight against Insecurity in Border Towns of Cote D’Ivoire: The Jihadist Threat
Ainyakou Taiba Germaine & Dosso Namodé Alice Epse Binaté, Universite Peleforo, Gon Coulibaly, Korhogo, Ivory Coast

Border Asymmetries: Contribution to the Search for a Concept of Geopolitical Analysis of Benin in the Cross-Border Median Sub-Basin of Okpara
Alfred Oniboukou, Agence Béninoise de Gestion Intégrée des Espaces Frontaliers (ABeGIEF), Benin

Nearing the End of National Peripheries in West Africa? A New Look at West African Borders in the Era of State
Redeployment and Increased Border Insecurity (V)
Djolar Kossigari, Université de Kara, Togo & the Sorbonne, France





Cross-Border Terrorism and State Responses in Northern Border Areas of the Ivory Coast

Guipie Gérard Eddie Marc

Long spared by terrorist attacks that were previously limited to the Sahelian zone, Côte d’Ivoire was hit hard by the Armed Terrorist Groups (GAT) in the strategic area of the Gulf of Guinea during the Bassam attacks in March 2016. Frozen in the southern urban areas despite surreptitious radicalization, terrorist attacks have moved northwards to the borders with Mali and Burkina.

Since July 2020, attacks have increased in intensity. While the threat remains largely dependent on groups commanded and financed from abroad, it is nevertheless tending to become more indigenous. The strategic response of the Ivorian authorities mimics that of the GAT and responds to the vulnerabilities exploited by the latter. It is based primarily on strengthening the training and military education of the army’s elites to enable them to better understand the strategic issues at stake in order to effectively assist in political decision-making.

This is what could be called ‘strategic renewal,’ which implies a reform of strategic planning, legislative normativity, spatial restructuring of the deployment of the armed forces and a special economic and social program dedicated to the rural populations affected by terrorism.

This paper aims to highlight the strategies used by the belligerents. It is based on a corpus of semi-qualitative interviews and updated scientific literature on the terrorist threat in the Gulf of Guinea.




Migration and Trade of Agricultural Products in ECOWAS Countries,

Marie Odile Attanasso

This paper examines the mechanism by which migration affects trade in agricultural products of the Economic Community of West African States. In order to achieve this goal, a structural equation model is adopted. This regression is based on panel data referring to the period from 2004 to 2018. The results show that an increase of 3.17% in exports increases immigration 1%, while immigration increases by 5.2% with 10% increase in imports. On the other hand, an increase of 1% in the emigrant population leads to a decrease in exports of 3.48%. With respect to imports, a 14.8% increase in the number of immigrants represents the response to a 10% increase in imports of agricultural goods. In terms of economic implications, this study suggests the implementation of effective migration policies that will help unleash the enormous benefits of trade that link emigrants and immigrants to their countries of origin. The establishment of structures for the supervision and training of migrants in the receiving countries, but also in the countries of origin, because all countries are beneficiaries of the exchange of goods, services and skills available, can boost trade in agricultural goods among ECOWAS countries.



Socio-Cultural Obstacles to the Fight against Insecurity in Border Towns of Cote D’Ivoire: The Jihadist Threat

Ainyakou Taiba Germaine & Dosso Namodé Alice Epse Binaté


‘The terrorist is first and foremost an extremist who adheres radically to a radical idea. His belief system logically leads to the death of others, convinced that true faith must prevail at all costs’ (Bronner, 2009, p. 130). This quote allows us to question the security at the country’s borders, when we know that in 2016, with the events in Grand-Bassam, and in 2020 in Kafolo, Côte d’Ivoire became the target of jihadism in West Africa. At the heart of the issues highlighted, the objective of this study is to link the security issue at the borders with the real involvement of the population in the fight against jihadism, since the population should play an early warning role to ensure their own security. To do this, this qualitative study mobilized more than thirty resource persons from the localities of Kafolo and Danane, divided into six (6) groups for a focus group, and twenty (20) individual interviews.

Our findings show that several social and cultural factors that were not taken into account in the creation of borders by colonization, the construction of certain social links, as well as traditional and religious values, explain why jihadism is taking root in the country, without any real reaction from the population.

Emile Durkheim’s reference theory of the social bond (1897) will help explain how the strength of social bonds, built in the heart of border populations, becomes at the same time their weakness in the fight against jihadism.




Border Asymmetries: Contribution to the Search for a Concept of Geopolitical Analysis of Benin in the Cross-Border Median Sub-Basin of Okpara

Alfred Oniboukou

This contribution questions the geopolitics of Benin in relation to structural transformations and economic dynamics of cross-border spaces in the Okpara median sub-basin due to border asymmetries. The concept of border asymmetry is placed at the center of the analysis in order to highlight the transplantation of a large non-indigenous Beninese community on the left bank of the Okpara in Nigeria for agricultural purposes. The methodology employed uses both continuous and discontinuous techniques (problem tree, objective tree). Compared with the colonization of the left bank by migrants, most of whom came from the departments of Atacora and Donga according to the logic of border transplantation, 6,447 agricultural settlers were recorded on the Nigerian left bank in 34 localities. Of the 34 localities, 19 depend on the geographical continuum of the local government area of Tchaourou (56%), 9 of that of Ouèssè (26%) and 6 that of Savè (18%). There are 824 heads of household including 406 in the geographical continuum of the local government area of Tchaourou (49%), 276 for Ouèssè (34%) and 142 for Savè (17%). Migrants come from 14 sociolinguistic groups. They are not secure on the lands they work: 74% have access by rental, 25% by sharecropping and 1% by purchase. On the other hand, no agricultural migrant of Nigerian origin is settled on the right Benin bank of the Okpara for agricultural purposes. This imbalance and inequality in terms of the occupation of the banks of the Okpara hydrosystem-border integrating border asymmetries have shown the limits of Benin’s geopolitics compared to that of its neighbor, Nigeria.





Nearing the End of National Peripheries in West Africa? A New Look at West African Borders in the Era of State Redeployment and Increased Border Insecurity (V)

Djolar Kossigari

The scientific community has produced numerous concepts to account for the functioning of West African border spaces are numerous. However, some of these concepts deserve to be revisited because of changes in the socio-economic, spatial and political frameworks in which they were developed. This is the case with the concept of “national peripheries” coined by John Igue in 1989. This notion refers to dynamic border spaces structured around networks of cross-border exchanges animated by numerous actors and whose functioning escapes the control of the state. Today, the return of economic growth in many West African states, the strengthening of increasingly coercive state control mechanisms against smuggling and other trafficking in border region, and the context of growing insecurity raise questions in more than one respect: Do national peripheries still exist in West Africa? The objective of this paper is therefore to revisit the concept of “national peripheries” considering new border practices and realities at the beginning of the 21st century. I will use the example of the “national periphery” of Dapaong-Bakwu-Bittou, which straddles Togo, Ghana and Burkina Faso, where I conducted ethnographic surveys and observations over nine months in 2021. This paper argues that the notion of “national peripheries” rather imperfectly embraces the recompositions and dynamics of the border spaces referred to under this term at the beginning of the 21st century.

17:00-19:00 Room 213 TD4

Border Security

Chair: Eiki Berg, University of Tartur, Estonia

Border Fortification: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Elisabeth Vallet, Universite de Quebec a Montreal (UQAM), Canada

Transforming Ceasefire Lines into De Facto Borders through Border Security Policies and Wider Securitization Processes in the Caucasus
Giulia Prelz Oltramonti, European School of Political and Social Sciences (ESPOL), Lille Catholic University, France

Ceasefire Lines: Spaces of In/Security
Sabine von Lowis, Centre for East European and International Studies, Germany

Belarusian-EU Border Crisis as an Element of Russian Plans for Invading Ukraine
Oksana Voytyuk, Dept of Political Science, University of Bialystok, Poland

Changing Ukraine’s Borders the Wrong and Right Way
Tim Waters, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University, USA


Border Fortification: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Elisabeth Vallet

When the Berlin wall fell at the end of the Cold War, mobility became the new analytical framework of the world system, where the walls embodied the archaism of a bygone world. However, research has shown that border walls were part of the redefinition of territoriality as well as consubstantial with globalization: the spaces where the walls are erected combine both the modernity of a new norm of international relations and the archaic dimension of a feudal fortification. They produce entropy and accomplish a self-fulfilling prophecy as they generate instability for which they become the predicted remedy. Drawing on a decade long survey of the world’s border walls, this paper addresses the global border fortification movement through its de-structuring effects as it generates, in turn, more instability.



Transforming Ceasefire Lines into De Facto Borders through Border Security Policies and Wider Securitization Processes in the Caucasus

Giulia Prelz Oltramonti

How are ceasefire lines made to evolve in cases of secessionist conflicts? This paper focuses on the border policies that state and contested state actors (such as, respectively, Russia and Abkhazia) have crafted with the aim of transforming ceasefire lines into de facto (hard) borders. The paper looks at the ceasefire line that, since 1993, divides the territory controlled by secessionist authorities in Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia. It zooms in on this case over two separate periods: between the declaration of Abkhaz independence in 1993 and the 2008 Russo-Georgian war; and after the 2008 war and the recognition of Abkhaz independence by Russia. It explores the changes and variations that occurred during these two periods.

The paper addresses the following questions: How and why have different actors engaged in the processes of hardening and militarization of the ceasefire lines that resulted from the separatist conflicts that took place in the early 1990s? What border security policies have they devised and how effective were they in achieving their goals? To do so, it identifies the various stages of border and military practices along the ceasefire lines and in the adjacent borderlands. While the action of contested states and patron states is driven by different motives, the transformation of the ceasefire line is the result of the interaction of both.

In looking at the bordering practices that took place over the course of three decades, the paper starts by sketching out the differences between different kinds of boundaries, including ceasefire lines and borders, as well as discussing some of their attributes and functions. It then proceeds to look as how bordering is an element of state building and, as such, crucial to the secessionist strategies of Abkhazia. It further progresses by including the Russian factor in the processes of bordering along the ceasefire lines, delving into the dynamics of the Abkhaz ceasefire line along the Inguri River. In doing so, it shows the complexity of means in bordering practices along ceasefire lines and the competing rationales driving the processes.



Ceasefire Lines: Spaces of In/Security

Sabine von Lowis

A ceasefire line as part of peace negotiations is a special type of border. It is characterized, first and foremost, by security issues. This logic corresponds to a traditional perspective of borders. However, in the context of war and attempts at conflict resolution, the security of civilians becomes prevalent from the perspective of peace negotiators.

Demarcation lines resulting from ceasefire agreements cut through settlements and often divide historically, socially or economically integrated communities. Individuals and whole communities may feel that they have been left on the “wrong” side―in addition to the individuals fleeing from the war region. Both previous linkages and war-related pressures necessitate border crossings. Part of a ceasefire line is the installation of a border regime that regulates the movement of people and goods across the line. A border regime controlling the flow in both directions is therefore critical for the security of the population on both sides of the line. However, it also inhibits the imaginative and performative effects of displaying a political and social status demarcation of separation, which may result in a lasting effect of a new social and political order of the local population.

This duality also helps to understand and conceptualize a ceasefire line as a Janus-faced border: it is a more or less fixed territorial divide that aims to limit or end the extent of violence, ensure the safety of civilians and eventually facilitate peace, but at the same time it violently separates people who have not been divided before and represents a spatial structure of fear. People cross the line officially and unofficially, thereby simultaneously asserting and subverting the separation agreed to by the contesting powers.

While we know a lot about the violence resulting from conflicts regarding contested borders or the different forms of violence migrants experience at borders, we do not see systematic approaches that analyze the creation of borders within or as result of a (violent) conflict and how it is perceived and shaped by those affected by the conflict. The paper aims to put ceasefire lines in focus as a special type of border reaching from individual perceptions and practices around ceasefire lines to aspects of the role of the political and regional elites negotiating them, the military and the border guards upholding them.






Belarusian-EU Border Crisis as an Element of Russian Plans for Invading Ukraine

Oksana Voytyuk

The main purpose of the paper is to show that the Belarusian-EU border crisis was one of the elements of Russian strategy to divert the attention of the West from preparations for an armed invasion of Ukraine. The paper will present the Russian and Belarusian points of view on the unfolding of the crisis, as well as the reaction of the Ukrainian side and Poland and the EU to the problem.


Changing Ukraine’s Borders the Wrong and Right Way 

Timothy Waters

Changing borders by force is dangerous and destabilizing, but that does not mean that any change is wrong. Whether the current war ends in stalemate or victory, Ukraine will confront hard choices about its territory and population, and just invoking ‘territorial integrity’ will not supply useful answers. Ukraine and its allies should not recognize Russian aggression, but they should start thinking about what changes might contribute to a stable peace, and the principles and processes that could justify and facilitate a legitimate change in borders.

This paper argues that a model founded on principles of self-determination and realized through consultative processes could provide the basis for border rectifications and transfers, either after the cessation of hostilities or as part of negotiations to bring that about.

Doing so would require a revision of the global order’s commitments to territorial integrity and even non-recognition norms, but these may be both necessary and salutary, if indeed that order’s rigid norms are beginning to fail. The world is a dangerous and unjust place, and it is no longer clear whether unchanging borders makes it less so. What we are seeing daily in Ukraine and a dozen other conflicts is proof that however daunting it is to imagine, we either change borders in peace or we do it in war.


17:00-19:00 Room 122 TD5

Thinking Beyond the Box: Alternative Border Narratives

Chair: Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, University of Grenoble – Alpes, France

Geographies of Development and Ecologic Border: Understanding Terrains of Resistances
Biswajit Mohanty, University of Delhi, India

Borderization as a Tool of Warfare in Grey Zones
Olga Dorokhina, Caucasus International University, Georgia

Animal Traces and the Deconstruction of Border Law
Angelos Evangelou, University of Athens, Greece

Eternal State Borders, Tools of Power on Territory, versus Individual Human Rights (V)
Fabrizio Eva, Independent Scholar, Milan, Italy


Geographies of Development and Ecologic Border: Understanding Terrains of Resistances

Biswajit Mohanty

Modernity and bordering are co-evolutionary processes. The ideology of economic development, an offshoot of modernity, created the condition both of bordering and de-bordering processes as the ideology penetrated globally through colonial conquest. As the new social, political, economic and social values became entrenched, this generated the borders of values. The border system not only internally differentiated and excluded individuals and communities in the colonized countries but also categorized and segregated nations in post-colonial times. As dominant values dispossessed people of their sources of livelihood, an alternative concept of border developed in the processes of contestation and resistance. The ecologic conception of borders challenged the dominant bordering processes and the value it possessed.

Border formation is the interplay of a complex negotiating activity among dominant forces of society and the values they profess. Diverse arrays of social, political, economic and cultural values compete to institute them as a dominant value that would envelop society, subsequently initiating border formation processes. In border studies, the dominant agency is attributed to the state, and the passivity of the collectivity of citizens and non-citizens remains sub-text. The collective actions undertaken by citizens constitute the border act, which is a collective and collaborative action not only to sustain, construct, recreate and negotiate the border but also to resist borders. Resistance to the border(s), both internal and external, remains an under-researched area. This is true of the people with different identities, lack of resources and sources of livelihood. They have been treated as passive agents with no capacity to change their circumstances and conditions of living. Evidence shows how people transcended their passivity to become collective agencies or sole agency of change to transcend socially and state constructed borders. The paper uses some case studies of gender and religious minorities and highlights the agentic capacity in subverting the internally constructed borders.



Borderization as a Tool of Warfare in Grey Zones

Olga Dorokhina

In recent years due to new challenges brought about by military operations and migration crisis, building fences and walls along state borders or dividing lines became quite usual occurrence. Particularly interesting for study of walls is the case of Georgia, and especially the situation along the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABLs) that have separated Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region from the rest of Georgia since August 2008. In the case of Georgia, borderization refers to the process of physically designating ABLs with various qualities and equipment and it is still ongoing today.

In my paper I analyze interconnections between two theoretical concepts: “borderization” and “gray zone.” The neologism “borderization” has become highly popular, and it is widely employed in academic, political and public discourses. It is applied in a variety of cases, contexts, ideas behind it. Borderization, as a mechanism of securitization of borders and border policies, is discussed in application to the Tri-Border Area (Grimson&Renoldi, 2019), migration crises in the Mediterranean (Cuttitta, 2014) and pandemic related border restrictions on external and internal borders of the EU (Wille, 2021). Its connection to the case of Georgia has a completely different context.

The concept of gray zone, despite its ancient history, just recently became the focus of studies and research (primarily by military analysts-practitioners). The new term has different parameters and shades in interpretations by different authors (territoriality, volume functionality, etc.). The two main descriptive elements of a gray zone are a condition between war and peace, being below the level of traditional war. A gray zone may be considered as an object or situation in which there are mixed, confused, tangled differences within binary systems like public-private, truth-lie, reality-imaginary.

I argue that “borderization” as a consequence of war and military operations is at the same time a tool of warfare in “gray zones” of Europe, and particularly in Georgia. We can clearly see a military rationale behind fencing ABL by different means as along with “borderization” the process of building Russia’s military bases on occupied territories is underway. This tool creates high levels of ambiguity and uncertainty and the gravity of situation is intensified by human rights violations. “Borderization” has visible effects, physical marking of territory, but it also has invisible effects, influencing adjacent territories, affecting local communities and cultures and changing humans’ mentality.



Animal Traces and the Deconstruction of Border Law

Angelos Evangelou

This lecture aims to draw attention to the function of animal characters in border narratives, thus attempting a dialogue between Animal and Border Studies. Specifically, I will concentrate on Marios Piperides 2018 film “Smuggling Hendrix,” which, through the employment of Jimi the dog alongside the human characters, exposes the absurdity and dehumanization suffered as a result of living in the shadow of the border that divides Cyprus. I will explore the ways animals are used as platforms of left, reconciliatory, anti-border politics because of their ability to embody the possibility not of metaphorical but of a literal crossing of borders denied to humans. This power of transgression assigned to animals acquires a political significance which subverts the authorities’ technologies of bordering by exposing the restrictions of movement upon humans. Piperides structures the story around the significance of travel documents through which border crossing is represented in terms of legality and illegality. Jimi, a “sans-papiers” who crosses the border underground, embodies a living challenge to border logic and by extension to border law. Drawing on Tugba Basaran’s work on borders and law and Walter Mignolo’s work on borders and decoloniality, law will be revealed as constitutive of borders and itself subject to the ideological forces that shape it. The discussion will conclude with a critical consideration of the contribution of non-human subjectivities to the very deconstruction of border law and of law more broadly, inviting, I suggest, a reconsideration of the concern voiced by Animal Studies scholars regarding the risks of cultural representations of animals.


 Eternal State Borders, Tools of Power on Territory, versus Individual Human Rights (V)

Fabrizio Eva

The conceptual cage of the nation-states system, supported by political leaders, the mass media and most of IR experts, is that the current borders of the pretended anarchic international order are untouchable in order to gain “stability” (and peace, they say). The most used symbolic-conventional words (iconographic, a la Gottmann) are: sovereignty, territorial integrity, stability; with the corollary of: (internal) security, fighting terrorism. To (self) justify any action (internal or trans-border, legal or illegal) carried out by a government “to prevent the instability” or “to keep/restore the security.”

The current borders of the states can only be changed through juridical-institutional procedures so articulated and “hostile” to change that within this frame the most successful geopolitical strategy, even if not absolute, seems to be the practice of the fait accompli on the ground (i.e., physical control of the space), thanks to an armed capacity, and gaining time, with the aim of transforming the de facto situation into a recognized status or at least a stable one thanks to the “lack of (geopolitical) interest” by global and regional powers.

Conceptually, the duration of the present boundaries seems to be conceived as eternal, because the top-down exercise of power is always concrete in space that must be fixed and delimitated; but this is in contrast to the human dynamics and life forms, which are, in general, necessarily in a process of bio-physical, social and cultural change. This is human nature. The current conception of “eternal” borders is the main source of geopolitical problems.

Furthermore the hubris of some “nations” is the (hidden) desire to have a geopolitical role, i.e., to expand the space of power. Nationalists are the same everywhere because “nationalism” and its iconographic words are a mental attitude, almost always linked to a specific territory only because humans must transfer their ideas, their perceptions, their emotions to something physical like space. Better reduce the sacredness of (and the narratives about) borders and use them in a functional way, starting from the basic, concrete human needs. There are practical examples working for years/decades. Good neighbors make good fences and not vice versa. You have to work on humans and not on borders to have stable and peaceful relational dynamics; otherwise, the humans/citizens are again serfs, bound without a say to the territory. Gaining time is a useful tool, but after negotiations, not after an act of force.



17:00-19:00 Room 208 TD6 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/Ylqth7s2rec

The Impact of Covid 19 and Re-Bordering trends (BSHAPE Project II

Chair: Elżbieta Opiłowska, University of Wrocław

Resilience of Cross-Border Cooperation at the Franco-German border in Times of COVID-19
Birte Wassenberg, Sciences Po, University of Strasbourg, France

Mobility and the Perception of the Dutch-German Border During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Martin van der Velde, Nijmegen Centre for Border Research, Radboud University Nijmegen

Euroregions as Political Actors: Managing Border Policies in the Time of Covid-19 in Polish Borderlands
Wojciech Opioła, University of Opole & Hynek Boehm, University of Opole/ Technical University of Liberec, Czech Republic


Session Abstract

Resilience of Cross-Border Cooperation at the Franco-German border in Times of COVID-19

The COVID19-crisis has shown how fragile borderlands are when re-bordering takes place in Europe. At the Franco-German border, the first lockdown in Spring 2020 was experienced as a traumatizing shock, as the closure of the border happened without any consultation of the local and regional authorities, nor consultation of the borderland population. Entire families were suddenly torn apart without prior notice and cross-border cooperation was completely paralyzed. In the Euro-district Strasbourg-Kehl, the re-bordering was particularly painful, as all four bridges across the Rhine were entirely blocked and the border closure was hermetic. But not only the disrupted mobility was a problem for the border population, but also, or even more so, the “ressentiments” that resurged between French and German borderlanders. Indeed, Alsatian cross-border workers were accused on the German side of being responsible for the spread of the virus, putting the whole process of Franco-German reconciliation suddenly into question. However, surprisingly, after these first negative repercussions, the cross-border population and political stakeholders showed considerable resilience by manifesting cross-border solidarity and by developing new initiatives and tools of cooperation during the crisis. This communication will retrace how from a state of shock and national re-closure, a process of cross-border solidarity unfolded from Spring 2020 until Spring 2021 in the Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Kehl, proving the resilience of cross-border cooperation and of the function of cross-border territories as models of European Integration.



Mobility and the Perception of the Dutch-German Border During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Martin van der Velde

One of the explicit goals of the Interreg V-A program Germany-Netherlands is to diminish citizens’ perception of the border as a barrier for mobility and interaction. The gist is that cross-mobility and interaction across borders will intensify if the perception is more favorable where it concerns the barrier effect―eventually fostering socio-cultural integration and economic development. This paper reports and builds on two sources. The first one is the Euroregional monitor designed to provide a longitudinal assessment of the perception of the barrier effect among citizens living in the area of Interreg Germany-Netherlands, comprising four Dutch-German Euregions. This monitor was used for an effect measurement in April 2021 to assess, amongst others, the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on the perception of the Dutch-German border. The second source is data on cross-border mobility in the Euregion Rijn-Waal. The border between the Netherlands and Germany was not officially closed but citizens on both sides were demotivated to go across if the reason to do so was ‘not essential’―e.g., in the case of shopping, leisure and social meetings. For this particular border context, this paper analyses the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on cross-border mobility and the perception of the Dutch-German border.



Euroregions as Political Actors: Managing Border Policies in the Time of Covid-19 in Polish borderlands 

Wojciech Opioła

The paper examines the role of the Euroregions in the first Covid-19 pandemic wave in Europe. The beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 led to the closures of state borders. This complicated the situation of Polish cross-border commuters working in Germany and the Czech Republic. The border closure also showed the strength of Euroregions, able to react and transmit the demands of borderlanders to the Polish government. To analyze this question, we adapt the deliberative system theory. The actions taken by Euroregions, as institutions of public space, were considered deliberative consequences of non-deliberative actions of government.


17:00-19:00 Room 214 TD7

Borders at the Movies IV: The Syrian Bride (Israel, 2004)

The Syrian Bride (2004)

The Syrian Bride is a 2004 film directed by Eran Riklis. The story deals with a Druze wedding and the troubles the politically unresolved situation creates for the personal lives of the people in and from the village. The film’s plot looks at the Arab–Israeli conflict through the story of a family divided by political borders, and explores how their lives are fractured by the region’s harsh political realities.
In Majdal Shams, the largest Druze village in Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border, the Druze bride Mona is engaged to be married to Tallel, a television comedian who works in the Revolution Studios in Damascus, Syria. They have never met each other because of the occupation of the area by Israel since 1967; when Mona moves in Syria, she will lose her undefined nationality and will never be allowed to return home. Mona’s father Hammed is a pro-Syrian political activist who is on probation by the Israeli government. His older son Hatten married a Russian woman eight years ago and was banished from Majdal Shams by the religious leaders and his father. His brother Marwan is a wolf trader that lives in Italy. His sister Amal has two teenage daughters and has the intention to join the university, but her marriage with Amin is in crisis. When the family gathers for Mona’s wedding, an insane bureaucracy jeopardizes the ceremony.

17:00-19:00 Room 210 (Film) TD8

Conference Dinner

Conference Dinner

Professor Haim Hames, Rector Ben-Gurion University
Professor Becky Kook, Chairperson, Dept of Politics and Government, BGU


Shuttles return hotels


​Wednesday 15th February 2023

02/15/2023 9:00 am

Ben Gurion University Eilat Campus

Field Trip – Israel-Jordan-Egypt Border

Gideon Biger, Department of Geography, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Zeev Zivan, Ben-Gurion University
Haim Srebro, Israel Survey Department
Eliza Mayo, Arava Institute
Avigdor Orgad, Orgad Maps
Tamar Arieli, Tel Hai College, Israel

08:30 - 18:30 AM

​Thursday 16th February 2023

02/16/2023 9:00 am

Ben Gurion University Eilat Campus

Shuttles leave hotels


Patterns in Border Security

Chair: Martin Guillermo Ramirez, Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), Berlin, Germany

Patterns in Nascent Ascendant and Mature Border Security
Christian Leuprecht & Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, Royal Military College of Canada and Queens University, and University of Victoria, BC, Canada

Mature Border Management and the United States Canada Security Community
Todd Hataley & Christian Leuprecht, Fleming College, Canada, and Royal Military College of Canada and Queens University, and University of Victoria, BC, Canada

Security Beyond the Border: Australia and New Zealand Trans-Tasman Relations in a Globalized World
Jamie Ferrill, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Between Triple Borders: Border Security across Latin America’s Southern Cone
Adriana Dorfman & Rafael Francisco França, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

So Similar Yet So Distant: Border Security Management between India and Pakistan as a Laboratory of NonExperimentation
Dhananjay Tripathi, University of South Asia, Delhi, India


Session Abstract

How do security communities transform into security regimes? The panelists discuss contributions to a new volume that compares the construction of cross-border security regimes across five regions of the world to illustrate how trust emerges from the day-to-day relations of coordination, cooperation or collaboration. Patterns in Border Security: Regional Comparisons studies the way borderland communities develop, implement and align border policy to enhance their sense of security. Borders have been evolving rapidly in direct response to the multifaceted challenges brought on by globalization, which has had a nuanced impact on the way borders are governed and border security is managed. Taking a methodical comparative regional approach, this book identifies and contrasts determinants of nascent, ascendant and mature border security regimes, which the book documents in seven regional case studies from across the globe. The findings identify conditions that give rise to cross-border and trans-governmental coordination, cooperation or collaboration. Specifically, pluralistic forms of communication and interactions, sometimes far from the actual borderline, emerge as key determinants of friendly and trustful relations among both contiguous and non-contiguous regions. This is a significant innovation in the study of borders, in particular in the way borders mediate security. For six decades international security studies had posited culture as the bedrock of security communities. By contrast, the book identifies conditions, a method and a model for adequate and effective cross-border relations, but whose outcome is not contingent on culture.


Patterns in Nascent Ascendant and Mature Border Security

Christian Leuprecht & Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly

This paper raises the prospect of trust-based determinants of security communities other than cultural similarity. The case studies document the emergence of cross-border and transgovernmental policy and enforcement networks that facilitate policy development, implementation and alignment through coordinationcooperation and collaboration: nascent communities coordinate, ascendant communities coordinate and cooperate but struggle to collaborate, while mature communities coordinate, cooperate and collaborate. Specifically, pluralistic forms of communication and interactions away from the actual borderline seem to play a key role in the emergence of friendly and trustful relationships among border dyads that need not necessarily be contiguous.




Mature Border Management and the United States Canada Security Community

Todd Hataley & Christian Leuprecht

The United States and Canada have a long tradition of bilateral and binational security coordination, cooperation and collaboration. This is evident in a vast and growing number of transgovernmental networks that facilitate and enable policy alignment and parallelism in defense, border security, intelligence and counter-terrorism. The security community has mastered coordination and cooperation. The US–Canada relationship is based on reciprocity. Despite its common cultural bedrock though, the US–Canada security community’s hallmark is policy parallelism. Forms of mature collaboration remain limited and are only found on occasion. Partnerships have proven more successful in functional areas than in principled ones.


Security Beyond the Border: Australia and New Zealand Trans-Tasman Relations in a Globalized World

Jamie Ferrill

This paper addresses contemporary security challenges related to borders within Oceania, focusing on trans-Tasman relations. We address border security between Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Australia as a matter of an ascendant relationship, based on coordination and cooperation. By interrogating shared and divergent attributes between the nations, we are able to provide an overview of approaches towards regional threats. Behind these approaches are socio-political contexts, including drivers and authorities for cooperation as well as cultural and political identities. Importantly, the evolution of shared practices between the nations and a future scan of security in the region lead to important geopolitical considerations.


Between Triple Borders: Border Security across Latin America’s Southern Cone

Adriana Dorfman, Julian Mokwa Felix & Rafael Francisco Franca

Border management in Brazil cuts across state projects, land disputes and traffic repression, in a complex Latin American context. Analyses of the 1,765 km stretch between two triple borders in the Southern Cone show a dissimilar security architecture in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, reflecting national perspectives and problems. Despite existing cooperation and coordination agreements, border control is managed without a coherent and shared framework. National mindsets impose barriers on regional interoperability. Also, distinct population and network densities account for multiple border conditions. Since concrete institutional contacts are insufficient, the regional structure is heavily reliant on personal and temporary relations.



So Similar Yet So Distant: Border Security Management between India and Pakistan as a Laboratory of Non-Experimentation

Dhananjay Tripathi

Borders on the Indian subcontinent are notable for a distinct lack of cross-border cooperation. Among the most intractable border dyads in the world, it is as volatile as it is securitized. Instead of facilitating trade and movement, both sides pursue a border policy to create a strong barrier. The puzzle that informs this paper is the extent to which the bilateral border relationship is characterized by political animosity, despite a shared history and culture that the conventional approach to security communities would posit as enablers of coordination and cooperation.



9:00-11:00 Room 122 THA1 BIG Panel 9

Borders in Asia

Chair: Sanjay Chaturvedi, University of South Asia, Delhi

Contextualizing Borders of South Asia: The Emerging Discourse
Dipikanta Chakraborty, Department of Political Science, Ambedkar College, Unikoti, Tripura

India-Bangladesh Border Enclaves: Looking Through Gender Lens (V)
Anamika Roy, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Changing Contours of Great Power Politics: A Case study of India-China Maritime Boundaries
Saumya Shivangi, Department of Political Science, Banaras Hindu University, India

Contextualizing Borders of South Asia: The Emerging Discourse

Dipikanta Chakraborty

Contrary to the colonial construct of borders and boundaries as the physical limits of state sovereignty, the socio-cultural permeability across the border and edge of nation-states has gained currency in contemporary border studies in the domain of International Relations. This has engaged us to rethink the borderland also as a space for socio-economic interaction of the borderland communities, which could be a better alternative than policing the borderland governance. The foreign rulers imposed meandering borders in Asia to separate the countries within Asia, notwithstanding the community question and traditional Asian values. In post-colonial times, especially after the 1950s, colonial borders were routinized, obliterating the community-centric approach. Furthermore, the proposed BRI sheath of China, dissolving the boundaries of the South Asian nations and thereby coalescing all the land and maritime borders in the region and beyond, raised the essentiality of the South Asian region.

While the emerging concept of the region could emplace the anthropological inter-relations of the people and their cultural ties with different states in South Asia, the borders largely became the emerging space of market economy which created regional groupings like SAARC, BIMSTEC, BBIN, BCIM, SAPTA, SAFTA, SAGQ etc. for creating free trade zones.

The fall of the Berlin wall, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the integration of east and west Europe, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the attack on 9/11, the continuous expansion of Israel towards Palestine and most prominently the assassination of Bin Laden on the soil of Pakistan by American troops raise some serious debates on the changing nature of borders and power relations. The present study is interdisciplinary in nature. The historical and analytical method is followed in the entire research exercise. The paper focuses on the borders of South Asia due to its unique location, surrounded by the busiest maritime borders from three sides. Under the broader objectives of capturing the scope of the political borders of South Asia, the paper attempts to understand the geo-psychology of the region.


 India-Bangladesh Border Enclaves: Looking Through Gender Lens (V)

Anamika Roy

The India-Bangladesh borderland inherited the largest number of geopolitical enclaves in the world. Enclaves are fragmented territories of a state surrounded by another state, such as Bangladeshi enclaves surrounded by Indian land and vice versa. In 2015, after almost seven decades, India and Bangladesh exchanged the enclaves. Before the exchange, the residents were abandoned by their home state, and judicial and citizenship rights were not accessible to them. They lived their lives in the absence of state administration, with no recourse to the law, which made their life vulnerable and fragile. Drawing on ethnographies in the former Bangladeshi enclaves in India, the paper tries to explore the lived experiences of women, something often overlooked by the usual representation of security and border fences. It argues that the impact of lawlessness and abandonment by the state should be studied through a gender lens. It underscores that the intersection of legal vulnerabilities in the enclaves with gender and religious identity leads women residents to socio-political marginalization.


Changing Contours of Great Power Politics: A Case study of India-China Maritime Boundaries

Saumya Shivangi

Since the establishment of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982, the issue of establishing of maritime boundaries between states has received serious scholarly attention in the broader discipline of border studies in International Relations. In 2017, the United States of America (USA) formally adopted the phrase “Indo-Pacific” for the first time in its national security plan, after a threat perception of China challenged the balance of power. To understand the threat perception and border relationship between Asian Countries, India-China Maritime borders have become one of the most important lenses for deconstructing the great power rivalry in the Asian continent. The historical interpretation of China contains the principle of the “Middle Kingdom” or “the Mandate to rule all under heaven,” which has led to the adoption of aggressive policies by China in the Indian Ocean Region (Belt and Road Initiative, String of Pearls Policy). However, when one country becomes more aggressive in international politics, other countries come together to form alliances to contain it (Walt,1990). As a result, Washington has sought alliances with like-minded countries, especially, India, Australia and Japan. This has in turn led to the establishment of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) for balancing the rise of China in the Indian Ocean Region. This resulted in maritime boundary disputes between India and China in recent times. In light of this contemporary issue, the present paper seeks to analyze the following questions-1) How the India-China Maritime dispute is affecting the states in the Indian Ocean Region; 2) What factors explain the rationale behind China’s intrusion in the Indian Ocean Region; 3) How the maritime dispute between India and China is shaping great power politics in the International system. The objective of the research paper is to analyze the maritime boundary dispute between India and China and understand the importance of the Indian Ocean Region as a site of strategic relevance in international politics.

9:00-11:00 Room 123 THA2

Ethnic Relations at the Border

Chair: Oren Yiftachel, Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Polish Tatars “Insider” or “Outsider”? Ethnic Relations in the Polish-Belarusian Borderland
Karolina Radlowska, University of Białystok, Poland.

Everyday Life and Sense of Place in a Borderland under Stress: Visual and Ethnographic Study of the FinnishRussian Borderland (V)
Virpi Kaisto, University of Antwerpen, Belgium

“Not Others”: The Value of Pesse in the Everyday Life of the Bugis Community in the Borderland Villages of Sebatik Island, Sabah (V)
Ramlah Daud, University Malaysia Sabah

Refugees’ Housing Commons vs Gentrification: The Street of Kastroplikta―Refugees’ Wall Houses in Thessaloniki (V)
Charalampos Tsavdaroglou, University of Thessaly, Greece

“If We Won’t Coexist Peacefully Here, We’ll Surely End up in Trouble”: Meanings of Various Types of Boundaries in the Ukrainian Hungarian Borderland
Peter Balogh, CERS Institute for Regional Studies, Hungary; Dept. of Social and Economic Geography, ELTE, Budapest


Polish Tatars “Insider” or “Outsider”? Ethnic Relations in the Polish-Belarusian Borderland

Karolina Radlowska

The Polish-Belarusian borderland is an example of an ethnic, religious and linguistic mosaic. Due to historical settlement processes and political changes of borders, Poles, Belarusians, Lithuanians, Russians, Roma and Tatars live here, as well as Jews and Germans in the past.

The aim of the paper is to present ethnic relations in the Polish-Belarusian borderland in the opinion of Polish Tatars. This small ethnic Sunni community has been living in this area since the 17th century. It is worth noting that despite living in a long-term neighborhood with the Christian majority and remotely from Muslim centers, they managed to maintain their own ethnic identity as well as Muslim religion. The aim of the paper is also to attempt to answer the question of what the processes of assimilation look like in the borderland today in an example of the Polish-Belarusian borderland and what ethnic relations look like, including with the Polish majority group and also what factors make the group feel here “insiders,” “outsiders” or “strangers.”



Everyday Life and Sense of Place in a Borderland under Stress: Visual and Ethnographic Study of the Finnish-Russian Borderland (V)

Virpi Kaisto

“Borderlands under stress” is a concept introduced by Blake (2000) at the turn of the millennium. With this concept, he refers to the many disputes and tensions that take place on a significant part of the world’s borders. I use the concept in this research as a metaphor for the Finnish-Russian borderland in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the political turmoil caused by the war in Ukraine. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, new international border crossing points were opened between Finland and Russia and the number of crossings increased significantly, turning the boundary into an important asset for the economies of the border cities and regions. Social interaction across the border developed and the two sides became increasingly connected with each other. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions were introduced on cross-border traffic, and the number of crossings dropped dramatically. Although most of the restrictions were lifted in the summer of 2022, everyday life in the borderland did not return to the situation before the pandemic. The war in Ukraine changed Finland’s security environment, the most notable manifestation of which was Finland’s application for NATO membership. In the borderland, people’s perceptions of the neighboring country and its people began to change, and political meanings began to be attached to the previously mundane cross-border mobilities and interaction.

This paper presents a study exploring everyday life and sense of place in the Finnish-Russian borderland in the summer and autumn of 2022. The study applies an ethnographic approach. Methods of data collection include photography, participant observation and in-depth interviews, and research material was also collected from local newspapers and social media. This presentation focuses on in-depth interviews conducted with people who have been actively involved in cross-border business or cooperation for several years during their lifetime and who live in one of the studied border cities (Imatra and Lappeenranta in Finland, and Svetogorsk and Vyborg in Russia). The aim is to shed light on how the everyday lives of these people and their subjective and emotional attachment to place—their sense of place—has evolved over time and changed especially during the past two “stressful” years.



“Not Others”: The Value of Pesse in the Everyday Life of the Bugis Community in the Borderland Villages of Sebatik Island, Sabah (V)

Ramlah Daud

I began the discussion by reflecting on my experiences the first time doing research in the villages of the Malaysian-Indonesian borderland on Sebatik Island. The villages are located in proximity to the international borderline and are inhabited by a mostly Buginese community. This ethnographic study lasted from October 2007 until September 2008. In the context of the Buginese community living in the borderland, cultural and ethnic identity elements are pivotal in their everyday life. Both elements serve as a band of solidarity and simultaneously function as an apparatus for survival living on the border. The findings of this ethnographic research show that the national identity of the community merely manifested symbolically towards Malaysian and Indonesian citizenship, whereas Bugis ties of solidarity based on the value of pesse (the spirit of loyal friendship and empathy) transcend the border obstacles of politics and geography.



Refugees’ Housing Commons vs Gentrification: The Street of Kastroplikta―Refugees’ Wall Houses in Thessaloniki (V)

Charalampos Tsavdaroglou

Kastroplikta (‘wall houses’) are small houses built by the Greek refugees who arrived in Thessaloniki from Turkey after the defeat of the Greek army in Asia Minor in 1922. Many of these buildings are adjacent to or use part of the medieval Byzantine and Ottoman city walls as part of the building. The kastroplikta-wall houses are connected with the identity, memories and physiognomy of the old town of Thessaloniki. However, the city authorities have, for a long time, been planning to demolish about 900 buildings along the city medieval walls in order to create a green zone accessible for tourists and to revitalize the surrounding area. Due to the reactions of the residents, the demolition and gentrification plan started to be implemented after 2010. Many of the wall houses have been demolished today, however, several remaining buildings are occupied by new refugees from the Middle East and North Africa who arrived in Thessaloniki since 2015. The new refugees, who refused to stay in the isolated state–run refugee camps on the outskirts of the city and claim “their right to the city” (Lefebvre, 1996/1968), transformed the old kastroplikta-wall houses buildings into collective housing commons. In this context the concept of wall is challenged. Usually, walls are referred to in the infrastructure of Europe, the US and other countries as preventing the entry of immigrants. Here, however, these old medieval walls may reverse the above function and importance. They can become a threshold infrastructure, a shelter but also an entrance to the city for those who do not have papers.

In this context, the presentation draws on the urban commons literature and critical border approaches aiming to understand and explore the street of kastroplikta-wall houses as a conflictual space that is balanced between the gentrification strain and the new refugees’ housing practices. The presentation combines spatial analysis and urban ethnographic research, and its main findings concern how the new refugees’ commons preserve, re-use and re-signify the kastroplikta-wall houses, while buffeted by the ongoing gentrification plans.



“If We Won’t Coexist Peacefully Here, We’ll Surely End up in Trouble”: Meanings of Various Types of Boundaries in the Ukrainian-Hungarian Borderland

Peter Balogh

In light of the drawn-out war in Ukraine, the borderlands of that country deserve attention not just vis-à-vis Russia. While Ukraine is not at war with any of its other neighbors, its relations with Hungary have considerably deteriorated over the past five to ten years. Hungary has been offering its diasporas the opportunity to obtain Hungarian citizenship, and many ethnic Hungarians and no few Ukrainians have taken advantage of this offer. In addition, Hungary has been providing considerable aid to Ukraine―especially to its westernmost region of Transcarpathia―which is met with suspicion by Ukrainian national politicians and others. Ukraine then passed language and educational laws in 2017 that curb the rights of its ethno-linguistic minorities to teach their languages in schools, etc. Anti-Hungarian demonstrations and myths of Hungarian separatist ambitions have also been circulating in the country, although this sometimes stems from Russia, which has an interest in destabilizing Ukraine.

This contribution is based on 22 elite interviews conducted on both sides of the border in late 2021 (i.e., prior to the escalation of Russia’s war in Ukraine). In light of the challenges briefly outlined, multi-ethnic coexistence was assessed surprisingly positively by our respondents. In fact, there is a long history of multi-ethnic coexistence in Transcarpathia that many native locals still take pride in. Accordingly, there was a consensus that most of the tensions stirred in the region originate from outside―although Ukrainians tended to attribute more blame to Russia, whereas Hungarians pointed out that several of the actors involved came from other regions of Ukraine that lie beyond the Carpathians. That mountain range first came to unite Transcarpathia with (Soviet) Ukraine in 1946 and still poses a cultural-mental boundary for native Transcarpathians―especially, but not only, for ethnic Hungarians. On the Hungarian side of the border, then, native locals are sometimes othering more recent arrivals from Transcarpathia irrespective of the latter’s ethnic identity. Thus, the fault-lines run not just along ethno-linguistic divisions but between people long rooted in their respective regions and those who moved there more recently.



9:00-11:00 Room 208 THA3 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/npThJv7AAz4

Control Mechanisms at the Border


Chair: Anne Thevenet, Euro-Institut, Kehl, Germany /TEIN (Transfrontier Euro-Institut Network)

The ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card and the Challenges of Interoperability
Willie Aziegbe Eselebor, Universal Research & Training Institute, Badagry, Lagos, Nigeria

Borders and the Creation of the Abject: Examining Israel-West Bank Border Mobility
Viktoriya Vinik, York University, Canada

Between Humanitarianism and Security at the Polish-Belarusian Border
Małgorzata Bienkowska, University of Biaystok, Poland

The Passport Tells a Story: Using the Passport as a Control Device at the Portuguese Border
Mafalda Carapeto, Centro de Administração e Políticas Públicas, ISCSP, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Changing the Narrative: Human Smuggling from and through Tunisia
Gabrielle Gagnon, Universite de Quebec a Montreal (UQAM), Canada


The ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card and the Challenges of Interoperability

Willie Aziegbe Eselebor

The international borders of Africa are greatly troubled by insecurities and one of the spin-offs is the lack of identity management framework. In order to address this problem, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in decision A/DEC.01/12/14 of the Authority of Heads of State and Government established the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card (E-NBIC) as a travel document within the sub-region―which also is in compliance with the UN Security Council Resolutions (S/RES/2178 (2014) & S/RES/2396 (2017)―in order to strengthen border security management. This study assesses the level of interoperability with other national ID systems and the functionality of the E-NBIC for travels. The objectives are to assess the challenges faced; factors of due diligence in standards of harmonization; and options in the enthronement of good practices in the implementation process. Combining traditional qualitative research models, the paper explores comparative analysis of findings from visits to Sierra Leone (Kambia border and Lungi Airport) and Senegal (Blaise Diagne International Airport), purposively selected for the study in response to border security gaps. Findings revealed that the absence of a unified verification matching remains a major challenge, including factors of access (ownership) control; and the non-compliance with the integration protocols for operational deployment; which combines to limit the functionality of the card as a valid travel document. Conclusively, the thinking is that the E-NBIC is deemed fit and holds great potential for enhanced border security, if faithfully implemented in West Africa.


Borders and the Creation of the Abject: Examining Israel-West Bank Border Mobility

Viktoriya Vinik

Israel’s new border crossing with the West Bank has received a lot of attention for not only its modernized mechanical means (a Wall, newly designed crossings and micro-mechanics such as turnstiles, signs and fences), but also for new and sophisticated scientific technologies, such as sensor machines and scanners, and modernized means of identification, such as advanced computer systems and biometric cards. Using Peter Nyer’s (2003) notion of “abject cosmopolitanism” and other abject theories of abjection, this paper analyzes the securitization of the Israel-West Bank border as a spatial dimension for the process of abjection. Abject cosmopolitanism refers to the formation of the cosmopolitan self and the abject other as a result of migration. While abject cosmopolitanism necessitates a critical examination of what Linda McDowell (1999) refers to as “categorization of the classifier,” in the construction of the abject as voiceless victims, invisible and apolitical, the abject is not a natural condition for a subject. As stated by Nikola Rose (1999), abjection is an act of force. The process of abjection describes the experience of today’s Palestinian population, which must navigate the Israel-West Bank border regularly into Jerusalem. Their ‘zone of shame, disgrace, or debasement’ is designated in ‘waiting areas,’ detention centers, border checks and occupied territories. Employing the conceptual framework of abject cosmopolitanism, this paper seeks to understand how the Israeli-West Bank boundary reformulates Palestinian political community, identity and practice as they traverse the West Bank and Jerusalem.


Between Humanitarianism and Security at the Polish-Belarusian Border

Małgorzata Bienkowska

The paper discusses events at the Polish-Belarusian border in the face of the migration crisis caused by Belarus. It was created on the basis of an analysis of the Border Guard’s publications on social media and posts by activists carrying out aid activities for refugees.

In the summer of 2021, the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border changed dramatically. The media received messages from residents of Usnarz raising the alarm about a situation they saw was getting out of hand: a group of 50 people were being held in the zone between Poland and Belarus. The news outraged public opinion, and journalists reported on the inhumane treatment of these people, the use of so-called “push-out” methods.

Polish authorities decided in August to erect barbed wire fences to discourage border crossings. A total of 180 kilometers of barbed wire fences were built on the border with the support of the military. A similar fence on the Hungarian-Serbian border was used as a model. On September 2, the Polish President issued a decree imposing a state of emergency in the border area, covering 115 counties in Podlasie Province and 68 in Lublin Province.

The purpose of the paper is to show the Polish-Belarusian borderland, considered until 2021 as an area of good relations, in the face of the migration crisis and conflict between the government side and local communities and activists helping to rescue migrants.


The Passport Tells a Story: Using the Passport as a Control Device at the Portuguese Border

Mafalda Carapeto


The passport, “that small booklet of paper with the power to open international doors” (Torpey, 2018), is the travel document common to all passengers, from various origins, and that is an object of major manipulation by border guards. Despite the apparent cross-references to this document, such as the size, some security elements and the identification function, when defoliated it tells the story of the person who carries it. The ‘value’ of passports as a mobility control device is associated with its security. There are passports that, for different reasons, are considered safer than others. Nationality is one of the criteria for defining the quality of the passport. The passport presents itself as a control device that can be approached in several ways in order to facilitate or hinder the passenger’s entry into the Schengen area.
Allied to the profile that is made of the passenger, when he walks towards the ‘box’―a subjective dimension of control―the border guards, in addition to the immediate verification of the nationality of the passport, can pay detailed attention to several factors such as the number of stamps in Europe, the date the document was issued, whether it has a cross stamp, whether it contains an American visa and, in certain cases, the affiliation.

As an analysis tool, the concept of device is developed by Foucault (2018). The passport “allows the justification and masking of a practice that remains mute” (Foucault, 2018: 364); once it is defoliated, it opens a panoply of possibilities of interpretation to those who are in the practice of document control, thus enhancing the exercise of discretion.

The research presented here, which aims to offer a contribution to the study of the borders of the state and its government, namely with regards to discretionary practices in document control, originates mainly from my field notes, the results of observations and informal conversations, collected during my incursion into the field at Humberto Delgado Airport in Lisbon, with the agents of The Foreigners and Borders Office, from June 2021 to the end of April 2022.

By exploring ethnographically the daily life of the agents in the box, and their encounter with citizens, I tried to understand how the passport tells a story, focusing on the elements that were shared with me throughout these 11 months of fieldwork.


Changing the Narrative: Human Smuggling from and through Tunisia

Gabrielle Gagnon

This paper examines the case of human smuggling from and through Tunisia to reflect how the participation of marginalized individuals in highly criminalized activities does not inherently involve negative or criminal intentions. Rather, it highlights how labor in the underground market of human smuggling allows migrants opportunities for self-growth and independence. The picture of smuggling as a community activity driven by solidarity strongly clashes with the official, pro-criminalization narratives of the state, wherein human smuggling facilitators appear as monsters preying on the desperation and vulnerability of agency-deprived migrants desperate to reach Europe (Sanchez, 2015). This paper seeks to demystify theses sensationalized narratives perpetuated by politicians and the media and to question the neo-classic explanations of migration that describe the phenomenon as nothing more than a reflex-like response to economic pressure or global income differentials by instead exploring the everyday lives of the men and women behind the journeys of irregular migrants and the way they articulate their role as agents of transnational mobility. In other words, the aim of this paper is to examine the possibility of conceiving human smuggling as an act of personal change and empowerment and as providing opportunities for the exercise of agency through the migrant’s adaptation and resistance in a highly constrained context.



9:00-11:00 Room 207 THA4

Conflict Resolution and Cross-Border Relations

Chair: Elisabeth Vallet, UQAM, Canada

28 Years of Successful Joint Israeli-Jordanian Boundary Making and Boundary Maintenance
Haim Srebro, Israel Survey Department

The Picnic: Stories of Refugees and Rebels in the Final Days of the Iron Curtain
Matthew Longo, Leiden University, the Netherlands

Cross-Border Co-operation in Visegrad Group Countries: From Debordering to Rebordering (and Back?)
Hynek Bohme, University of Opole, Poland

Refugee Flows, Foreign Policy, and Safe Haven Nexus in Turkey
Idil Oztig, Yildiz technical University, Turkey


28 Years of Successful Joint Israeli-Jordanian Boundary Making and Boundary Maintenance

Haim Srebro

In 1994 Israel and Jordan signed a Peace Treaty, which included an innovative boundary delimitation, making use of orthophoto maps for the first time. It included boundary making procedures regarding demarcation, monument placement and surveying, boundary documentation and maintenance. It also included maritime boundary delimitation. For these tasks the treaty formed a Joint Team of Experts (JTE) as part of the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC).

The boundary line passes on land (Ha’Aravah/Wady Araba Valley), in the sea (The Red Sea), through a lake (The Dead Sea), and along rivers (The Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers). During its first 28 years, the JTE has successfully fulfilled all its tasks, solving all the challenging boundary issues.

These issues included reconstruction and placement of boundary pillars because of natural elements like seasonal floods and sea water erosion, as well as reconstruction and re-placement of boundary pillars due to artificial works along the boundary. It included delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Aqaba/Eilat and the boundary in the Dead Sea, which keeps shrinking fast as a result of lowering of the sea surface, including its northern coastline, that moves southwards, enforcing the elongation of the Jordan River for hundreds of meters and thus creating a new situation regarding the boundary line (a boundary line in the lake is transformed to a boundary in a river in a different location). Other cases referred to rivers, including natural changes in the river course of a boundary river, resulting from both slow natural changes due to accretion and sudden natural changes due to floods and the collapse of river banks. Other cases referred to changes in the course of rivers due to artificial activities.

The joint active cooperation of the JTE continuously contended with all these issues, sometimes proactively in order to prevent or take measures before problems arise, and many times dealing with issues on the fly.

The chairs of the JTE report to the chairs of the JBC. In order to cope with the situation, the JTE, which acts as the right hand of the JBC, has prepared Standard Operating Procedures; it holds annual reconnaissance along the boundary line and annual meetings. In addition, it holds many other meetings according to requirements. The members of the JTE maintain close relations with other ministries on each side, and especially the defense authorities, as well as legal advisers and the liaison organizations on both sides.



The Picnic: Stories of Refugees and Rebels in the Final Days of the Iron Curtain

Matthew Longo

On October 4, 1990, the day after German re-unification, Chancellor Helmut Kohl remarked that it was in Hungary that the ‘first stone was removed from the Berlin Wall.’ He was referring to the flood of East German refugees who crossed the Hungarian border in August 1989. We usually think of the Iron Curtain in binary terms: it was the world’s hardest border, and with the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was gone. This is a misrepresentation. For over a year the institution had begun to decay, especially in Hungary. Why did it begin to crumble in this way, and why particularly in Hungary?

This paper revisits the final days of the Iron Curtain, with evidence drawn from interviews with former anti-communist revolutionaries in Hungary, and East German refugees who sought to cross the Iron Curtain, to understand their activity and specifically their moral-decision-making process during this period. It is a work of oral history, drawn entirely from first-person interviews about the events surrounding the final days of the Iron Curtain. As such, it is a nice corrective to presentist work on borders and securitization, which tends to ask how borders get built up. This paper asks the opposite question: how do borders de-securitize―i.e., how might they be brought down?



Cross-Border Co-operation in Visegrad Group Countries: From Debordering to Rebordering (and Back?)

Hynek Bohme

The presentation focuses on the principal outcomes of a complex project focusing on bordering and cross-border cooperation in Visegrád countries since the EU accession until today. The lecture will to try to propose answers to the following research questions:

How did cross-border cooperation influence borderlands in V4 countries? Did the space construction through European and national narratives affect border regions as living spaces? How have the above-mentioned developments influenced cross-border social practices?

Are the individual structural conditions (governance structures, border regimes, cross-border infrastructure, crossborder policies) appropriate to ensure a positive social and economic development of V4 border regions as places for a good life? Who are the decisive CBC actors there? What influence the pandemics had?

How did (if it is the case) the various financial incentives―mainly the EU funded INTERREG program―contribute to the change of borderlands in the V4?

Are the schools located in V4 borderlands affected with the CBC? Do their curricula reflect this special geographical position and do the schools raise new borderlanders, or the national Leitkultur prevails also there?




Refugee Flows, Foreign Policy, and Safe Haven Nexus in Turkey

Idil Oztig

While the relationship between refugees and foreign policy has been extensively studied, scarce attention has been paid to the linkages between refugee flows and safe haven policy as foreign policy. This article fills this gap in the literature by comparatively examining Turkey’s refugee and safe haven policies. Turkey witnessed two major influxes of refugees: after the Saddam Hussein regime oppressed the Kurdish uprising in 1991 and following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Turkey closed its Iraqi border to the Kurdish refugees and labeled their mass movement a threat to its national security. In sharp contrast, Turkey has generally adopted accommodative policies towards Syrian refugees with a strong emphasis placed on humanitarian values. During both crises, Turkey supported safe haven policies for the repatriation of refugees to their home countries on international platforms. While Turkey was immediately able to persuade the international community to create a safe haven in northern Iraq, it was less successful with respect to northern Syria, as it could only put its safe haven project on the negotiation table after relying more heavily on brute force.


9:00-11:00 Room 213 THA5

Roundtable Discussion: Border Culture

Chair: Victor Konrad, Carleton University, Ottawa


Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, Grenoble Alpes University, France
Chiara Brambilla, University of Bergamo, Italy (V)
Astrid Fellner, Saarland University, Germany
Jopi Nyman, University of Eastern Finland
David Stirrup, University of Kent, UK (V)



Session Abstract

Borders today remain as important as ever in differentiating and integrating nation-states, and the cultures that reside within these states and extend across their boundaries. Understanding border culture—what it is, where it lives, how it works, why it changes—are all important considerations in comprehending borders, why they continue to prevail and loom even larger with the increasing number of walls and fences in our ostensibly borderless world. Like the walls and fences, border culture is a manifestation of the engagement of peoples at the border. Border culture, however, is more than a construction; it is an ongoing process replete with imaginaries of the border, narratives of barriers and crossings, multiple identities and states of being, and expressions of plural belongingness and multi-dimensional in-betweenness. Border culture may be difficult to compartmentalize, because by its nature, border culture is something both beyond and in-between in time and space. Yet, border culture is something that is embraced across boundaries, and it is often portrayed with artistic flourish to convey the essence of cross-border engagement. Also, border culture conveys the despair of conflict and violence at borders and in the borderlands.

Our discussion will draw widely from the research experiences of the panelists to offer a synopsis of current thought on border culture based in both the humanities and in the social sciences, as well as drawing attention to debates in this field of study. Among the issues to be explored is the fundamental nature of border culture. How does culture cross borders? How do borders cross culture? How are border culture and politics intertwined? Current attention focused on the place of Indigeneity at settler society borders raises questions of border culture appropriation and control. How do we relate the imagination of borders to the production of borders and borderlands? How does border crossing impact border culture? How do we characterize and differentiate national border cultures and transnational border cultures? These are among the issues and questions prominent in the current focus on border culture. Our aim is to engage in conversation with each other and the audience in order to situate the current issues and debates about border culture in border studies.





9:00-11:00 Auditorium THA6 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/ab9hXgBSuYw

Migration at the Border

Chair: Małgorzata Bienkowska, University of Białystok, Poland

Geospatial modelling of undocumented immigrant mortality locations along the USA-MEX border
Justin H. White, Steven M. Radil & Daniel P. Noonan, Department of Economics and Geosciences, U.S. Air Force Academy

The Continued Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border: How Effective are Border Sets in Controlling (Im)migration?
Sylvia Gonzalez-Gorman, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, USA

Asylum, Detention, Repatriation and the Management of Mixed Migration Flows between the EU African Borders
Mohammed Ouhemmou

Opposing Judgements and Discretionary Practices in the Portuguese Border Regime Concerning Migrants
Maria de Fatima Amante, Instituto Superior de Ciencias Sociais e Politicas da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Carcerality as a Determinant of Health: Resistance as Treatment
Rylie Seidl, School of Transborder Studies, Arizona State University, USA



Geospatial Modelling Reveals Important Environmental Characteristics of Undocumented Immigrant Mortality Locations along the USA-MEX Border

Justin H. White, Steven M. Radil and Daniel P. Noonan

From 2014–2020, the US Border Patrol averaged 62,300 apprehensions of undocumented immigrants in the Tucson Sector of the USA-Mexico border per year. Apprehensions rose to >173,000 in 2021 and >230,000 in 2022. Subsequently, more undocumented immigrants have taken remote routes across the border resulting in more mortalities. Medical examinations of roughly 4,000 deceased undocumented immigrants in the Tucson Sector indicate that the leading cause of death is exposure to the physical environment of the Sonora Desert, characterized by temperature extremes, rugged terrain, sparse vegetation and minimal surface water. Given that heat and water in this region are largely influenced by terrain, we investigated the role of environmental indices derived from a digital elevation model in predicting mortality site locations. Indices included heat load, terrain ruggedness, duration of direct sun exposure, proportion of sun exposure at times throughout the day relative to daily total, total solar energy (WH/m2), topographic wetness, surface water accumulation, landform, vegetation and aridity, among others. Indices were created in a spatial grid with 9.61 m2 cells, except for vegetation which was 0.6 m2. Using a variety of analytical techniques, we determined that duration of direct sun exposure per day served as the best quality delineator of mortality versus randomly generated non-mortality locations. Results of generalized linear models indicated that mortality sites were exposed to direct sunlight longer than non-mortality sites. Here, we present our methods and findings, and place them in a context applicable to other arid regions.


The Continued Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border: How Effective are Border Sets in Controlling (Im)migration?

Sylvia Gonzalez-Gorman

Borders that share similar characteristics and have similar goals are often referred to as border sets. Russia and Kazakhstan and the United States and Mexico are examples of some of the most common geographic border sets. By simplifying borders to securitized geographic spaces, it allows border enforcement agencies to examine borders as a group as opposed to individual borders. One of the main unifying goals of border sets is to regionally minimize the movement of people from one geographical space to another. In the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are tasked with border securitization and control of U.S. borders. CBP also has multi-and-bi-lateral management relationships and agreements with other nation-states to protect U.S. borders. Given the continued militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and the continued (im)migration of Central Americans to the United States, is border set enforcement effective? Specifically, the central question under examination is how effective are border sets? Using Department of Homeland Security and CBP data, the findings suggest that reducing borders to homogeneous geographic spaces enforcement may be less effective than intended.


Asylum, Detention, Repatriation and the Management Mixed Migration Flows between the EU African Borders

Mohammed Ouhemmou

In early 2014, Morocco announced the adoption of a new migration and integration strategy, which was hailed by the country’s international partners as pioneering in the region. The new strategy came after long years of repressive border control practices, which started in the early 1990s, and quickly intensified after the adoption of law 02-03 in the early 2000s. Therefore, the 2014 policy reform has marked a radical shift in the country’s approach to migration as the government made great efforts to promote the regularization and integration of migrants. However, since 2018, Morocco has regressed back to its security-based approach. Detention, mass-arrests and forced displacement of migrants now represent major traits in Morocco’s new approach to migration. Since early 2018, Moroccan security forces have launched countless mass displacement campaigns against Sub-Saharan migrants. Such a radical policy shift coincides with the release of generous financial resources from the EU in the context of “border management.” The standard practice now is to push immigrants away from EU borders through forced displacement towards “welcome centers” or detention zones in the extreme South of the country, which has turned into a “dumping ground” for unwanted immigrants. The recent tragedy on the Moroccan-Spanish border that led to the death of 18 Sub-Saharan migrants on July 14 was preceded by an attack against immigrant camps deep in the creeks near the Spanish city of Melilla organized by the security forces. Such a tragedy occurred while Morocco and the EU have intensified their negotiations over migration management and readmission of third country nationals. Such negotiations offer an important perspective on the relevance of power to the issue of border management. While the EU appears to have extraordinary negotiation power, history shows that Morocco has skillfully and cunningly used migration, along with matters such as cooperation in the fight against extremism, to strengthen its position. The present paper seeks, first, to investigate the possible scenarios of the continuous negotiations between the EU and Morocco over readmission agreements and border management taking into consideration the dynamics of power and the domestic and geostrategic concerns of both parties. Second, the paper analyzes various data on border control operations, interceptions, detention and deportation to shed light on cost at the operational level while implanting the so-called border management operations and subsequently gaining more insight into various best practices that can strike a balance between security concerns and human rights obligations.


Opposing Judgements and Discretionary Practices in the Portuguese Border Regime

Maria de Fatima Amante

Although a relative newcomer to immigration issues, Portugal has achieved some recognition as an example of good practices in welcoming and integrating migrants. There is an enduring narrative on the value of immigration and the ability and willingness of the Portuguese society to welcome it. This political rationality translates into progressive policy pieces which concur with Portugal being referred to by migration scholars and even by immigrants as a case of a soft migratory policy. Moving forward from the state’s political intentions, we will address the Portuguese border regime, looking into the inconsistencies that due to opposing judgments and discretionary practices are crucial to understanding mobility and immobility. We follow a line of inquiry that perceives border and migratory regimes as shaped by a wide range of intervening actors, multiple rationalities and disparate practices that are responsible for peoples’ mobility or immobility. Therefore, this paper critically analyzes the disconnection between the state’s political intentions and narrative on immigration and practices of border control. Furthermore, we wish to discuss the way immigrants acknowledge, interpret and experience policies and practices that are critical in their lives and the strategies and tactics they use to circumvent them. We will address cases of migrants whose willingness to cross the border or to dwell in the country is somehow questioned, legally precarious, and for whom the state’s welcoming narrative is void, translating into experiences of waiting and uncertainty. How migrants manage their waiting experience and the performance of state and non-state agents and the logic underlying it concur to define the Portuguese border regime. This paper is based on data collected through interviews with migrants, state servants and non-state actors (lawyers, travel agents, ONGs), and on ethnographic fieldwork with the Portuguese Foreigners and Borders Office (SEF) at the Portuguese external border.


Carcerality as a Determinant of Health: Resistance as Treatment

Rylie Seidl

Border manifestations, both physical and political, highlight the Carceral continuum of practices of power operationalized. This study investigates the health effects from Carceral states on (im)migrants using social epidemiology. Traumas from these colonial spatializations are embodied by (im)migrants throughout their migration process and this embodiment manifests as illness and disease. These traumas are held within the body and might cause health effects ranging from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. (Im)migrants have been discursively constructed as threats, harmful, infiltrators or illegal. These perceptions allow Carceral states to continue inflicting harm on (im)migrant health and wellness without much resistance from structural entities. However, this study also highlights the resistance from (im)migrants in advocating for their own health, and the possibility for improvement to overall health and wellness.

9:00-11:00 Room 214 THA7

Coffee Break


Mini Plenary Session I: Border Representations

Mini Plenary Session I:  Border Representations

Chair: Astrid Fellner, Saarland University, Germany

Border Poïesis: Geopolitical Imaginaries and Ideological Challenges (Revealed by Border Art)
Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, University of Grenoble – Alpes, France

Reading State Images through Popular Culture: Celebrating a Visual Territorial History through a Plate Collection
Stan Brunn, University of Kentucky at Lexington, USA

The Representation of Borders on Maps: A Cartographers Perspective
Avigdor Orgad, Orgad Maps


Border Poïesis: Geopolitical Imaginaries and Ideological Challenges (Revealed by Border Art)

Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, University of Grenoble – Alpes, France

This talk will explore the making-of borders, based on a tri-faceted definition that understands international limits as sets of interactions between representations, practices and institutions. Our analysis is based on a Lefebvrian reading of border dynamics that knows this kind of spaces as the product of processes of coding, decoding and over-coding. They thus appear as places where power relations are ‘subsumed by relations of production’ of all kinds, economic of course, but also artistic.

In this context, border art and border literature may appear as a pointer to social imaginaries, both about political divides and on the spot of those geopolitical lines. Born as an emancipatory tool and often conceived of as instrument of infra-politics, border art has developed over the years in a quite ambiguous set of productions. The talk will draw the chronology of this genre to underline its capacity to challenge dominant representations of borders as well as its tendency to espouse the dominating imaginaries of geopolitical divides, and notably through the aesthetic attraction toward the figure of the line. This will help us build a critical discussion on the notion of de/re-bordering and understand the ideological use that has been made of it over the last 30 years of border studies, opening up for a prospective reflection on the future of our research.


Reading State Imagest Popular Culture: Celebrating a Visual Territorial History through a Plate Collection

Stan Brunn, University of Kentucky at Lexington, USA (V)

A state’s raison d’être is closely related to images of its past and its place in a wider region or global context.  Familiar images to insiders include its flag, heritage monuments, holiday celebrations and postage stamps. Accompanying official products and representations are those constructed and produced by the private sector. These would include patriotic clothing such as hats, shirts and dresses and jewelry and souvenirs for national and tourist populations. What is important in these image constructions is how the state is visibly presented, specifically, colors used, boundaries presented (especially if contentious), and depictions of places and personalities in a state’s history. The private sector often plays a crucial role in state representation and production. Another popular example of such image construction are plates for collectors. A careful reading of these products can and will reveal how the state is presented for local and international viewers. The presentation draws on a reading of map plates from a dozen different countries and a private map plate collection. An insightful reading reveals a mosaic of images related to territory and international boundaries, the portrayal of national cultures and its place in a larger geopolitical context.

Our knowledge of local or distant places is conveyed using various images.  Through most of human history words and phrases have been used about peoples, cultures, economies, worldviews and environments.  These narratives were gradually supplemented by drawings, sketches and maps.   Later photographs entered the presentations about peoples, landscapes and places.   These visual images were especially important in the emergence of tourism or adventure explorations about both familiar and unfamiliar places.  With advances in computer technologies in the past several decades images became prominent messages about peoples and places, not only for scholarly inquiries of the known and little-known worlds, but about promoting that knowledge through some different visual media such as postage stamps, websites and popular culture.  This presentation explores one effort to explore popular culture to wider audiences, that is, plates with maps that commemorate images about people, places, and environments as they relate to celebrating heritage, festivals and events and globalization.


The Representation of Borders on Maps: A Cartographers Perspective

Avigdor Orgad, Orgad Maps

This presentation discusses the alternative political representation of borders on maps. Drawing geographic boundaries on maps can be performed in several ways: the political approach, the professional cartographic approach and the artistic pseudo-cartographic approach. When a cartographer draws boundaries, the way in which the boundary is represented may depend on who is ordering, or paying for, the map. Geographical knowledge is constructed through atlases and maps, especially those used at school or as part of a socialization process. Is the cartographer a civil servant? Is he / she an independent cartographer or is he / she a graphic artist who draws maps? The case study of the West Bank is a good example of this dilemma. A civil servant cartographer will draw a map according to the instructions of his superiors and state laws whether the Green Line should be included or excluded from the map / atlas. An independent (objective) cartographer will draw maps which include Green Line and Arab / Palestinian settlements beyond the line whereas a graphic artist called a cartographer will make an inaccurate artistic map according to his eyesight and the purpose of his work. If the work was ordered from him by the Council of Judea and Samaria, his map will be different from a map ordered by organizations at the other end of the political spectrum, such as Peace Now.

11:30-13:00 Auditorium THB1 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/ab9hXgBSuYw

Mini Plenary Session II: Indigenous Peoples at the Margins / Borders

Mini Plenary Session II:  Indigenous Peoples at the Margins / Borders

Chair: Francisco Lara-Valencia, Arizona State University

Indigenous Peoples and Territory: Misalignment and Reality
Dalee Sambo Dorough, University of Alaska, USA

Epistemology of Surveillance: Palestinian Indigenous Researchers in Israeli Academia
Sarab Abu Rabia Queder, Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Regenerating Indigenous Internationalism: Frameworks for Transcending State Borders Through Community Diplomacies, Treaties, and Trade NetworksJeff Ganohalidoh Corntassel, University of Victoria, BC, Canada (V)


Indigenous Peoples and Territory: Misalignment and Reality

Dalee Sambo Dorough, University of Alaska, USA

Culture and identity are tied to territory yet throughout history there have been incursions as well as imposed laws and policies resulting in misalignment and uncertainty for Indigenous peoples ranging from geopolitical to environmental to traditional economic survival. For those Indigenous peoples whose territories transcend national borders, numerous conflicting issues arise that adversely impact their economic, social, cultural and spiritual ways of life. The subsequent infringement upon their human rights must be understood in a fashion that is responsive to the reality, culture and distinct identity of such Indigenous peoples.


Epistemology of Surveillance: Palestinian Indigenous Researchers in Israeli Academia

Sarab Abu Rabia Queder, Ben-Gurion University, Israel

There is a significant body of academic research highlighting the objective of decolonizing Western academia as a prerequisite for unmasking the mechanisms of colonialism, imperialism and racism experienced by racialized and indigenous minorities. Referring to the decolonization of knowledge, questions such as “Who generates what knowledge?” and “Whose knowledge is illegitimate?” underscore how colonial knowledge on minority groups is “produced, consecrated, institutionalized and naturalized.”

Based on interviews with 15 researchers from a cross-section of academic institutions in Israel, the paper identifies subtle mechanisms of discipline and punishment directed toward normalizing the epistemology of the colonized. The findings suggest that the gatekeepers of Israeli academia not only seek to maintain the existing racial hierarchy between Israeli and Palestinian researchers but also seek to “eliminate” the indigenous epistemology of the latter through mechanisms of hidden surveillance, used to control them as colonized subjects unable to challenge the Zionist ideology that is an essential aspect of Israeli academia. The current paper aims to unpack these invisible mechanisms of surveillance, which are part of a broader colonial apparatus aiming to maintain not only territorial sovereignty but also epistemological sovereignty.


Regenerating Indigenous Internationalism: Frameworks for Transcending State Borders Through Community Diplomacies, Treaties, and Trade Networks

Jeff Ganohalidoh Corntassel, University of Victoria, BC, Canada (V)

Indigenous internationalism is rooted in the self-determining authority of Indigenous nations and the expressions of Indigenous relationships that often transcend state borders. These Indigenous relationships are embodied and practiced in several different ways, from honoring complex interrelationships with the natural world to engaging in new treaty arrangements, trade networks, acts of solidarity and other expressions of diplomacy. Increasingly Indigenous scholars are examining the ways that Indigenous nations, communities and peoples challenge the territoriality of states and other patriarchal institutions in order to generate new understandings of how Indigenous relationships develop and persist beyond state boundaries. Indigenous peoples engage in distinct forms of diplomacy that illuminate several possible pathways for generating new understandings of Indigenous internationalism. This keynote addresses a key question: What are some Indigenous-led international frameworks that can facilitate new forms of solidarity, alliance and treaties between Indigenous nations and states?



11:30-13:00 Room 122 or 208 (TBD) THB2



The USA-Canada Border in a Post-Covid World

Chair: Victor Konrad, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

Haitian Migrants – From the Laredo Border (Texas) to Roxham Road (Quebec)
Gabrielle Gagnon & Daniella Bea, Universite de Quebec a Montreal (UQAM), Canada (V)

Professional Sports and Border Crossings during a Pandemic; the Case of Hockey
Maelys Druilhe, Observatoire de Geopolitique, UQAM, Canada

Assessing Firearm Trafficking on the USA-Canada Border (V)
Francis Langlois, Cegep de Trois-Rivieres, Canada

Inconsistency in Haitian Refugee Protection Between Domestic and International Law
Mulry Mondelice, College Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean, Canada (V)

The USA-Canada Border Fantasy in the Post Pandemic Era
Mathilde Bourgeon, Universite de Quebec a Montreal (UQAM), Canada

Session Abstract

As part of the BIG program, research has identified changes along the Canada-US border, particularly in its Quebec portion. The pandemic has redefined flows and border practices, ranging from the flow of refugees at Roxham Road to the border’s response to the influx of guns, as well as links that have been forged or strengthened over the same period. This panel aims at understanding the changes that have affected the Quebec portion of the Canada-US Border in recent years from different perspectives.



Haitian Migrants―From the Laredo Border (Texas) to Roxham Road (Quebec)

Gabrielle Gagnon & Daniella Bea

In light of recent events, our research focuses on the arrival of Haitian migrants at the Canada-US border in order to understand the complexity of migratory journeys and the ways in which border policies affect trajectories. In fact, the Roxham Road in the province of Quebec stands out as the culmination of a long migratory journey for thousands of Haitian migrants. And like the milestones of Del Rio in September 2021, the Roxham Road does not fail to perpetuate the border spectacle.





Professional Sports and Border Crossings during a Pandemic; the Case of Hockey

Maelys Druilhe

In early 2020, China recognized the interhuman transmission of SARS-Cov-2 and thus the pandemic risk associated with human mobility (Dumont, 2020). In just four weeks, the spread of the COVID-19 caused most states to close their borders (Ibid.) At the height of the crisis, 91% of the world’s population lived in a country with border restrictions, with 39% living in countries with completely closed borders to non-citizens and non-residents (Connor, 2020). The Canada-United States border was closed for the second time since the beginning of the twenty-first century, while the President of the United States announced his intention to deploy the military there. In this context, several sporting leagues benefited from what could be considered “pass-rights,” even though most individuals in this space were restricted to one form or another of immobility. As a result, this research project is within the scope of border studies. It is necessary to determine why and how professional sports, particularly hockey, as well as high-level amateur athletes, benefited from these specific procedures during the Pandemic (2020–2021).

At the height of the pandemic, while the border was closed to non-essential travel between Canada and the US, some sport teams benefitted from derogatory procedures that allowed them to cross borders, amalgamating certain professional sports―namely hockey―with essential flows. This paper questions the definition of essential flows and national interest in a time of crisis when the border was discursively identified as the locus of danger.


The research methodology is based on a literature review, an examination of official records and interviews with experts and leaders of relevant leagues. This study is a work in progress that aims to demonstrate how national interest can be protean and how health restrictions were tailored for the National Hockey League.



Assessing Firearm Trafficking on the USA-Canada Border (V)

Francis Langlois

Following the pandemic, Canada has been hit by an unprecedented (according to Canada’s standards) wave of gun violence, particularly in Montreal. Most local and provincial actors point to the border and the lack of control along the borderline. This paper is the first step in a broader project on guns and borders in Canada and will rely on the concepts and methodologies developed by scholars and law enforcement officials to understand firearm smuggling in North America and Europe.



Inconsistency in Haitian Refugee Protection Between Domestic and International Law

Mulry Mondelice

This paper will discuss the American and Canadian legal understanding of refugee protection and the limits of the courts’ interpretation of the concept of ”refugee” in the context of Haitians crossing North American borders, with a reading of the Haitian situation in terms of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.



The USA-Canada Border Fantasy in the Post Pandemic Era

Mathilde Bourgeon


Over two centuries of shared border history, the Canada-United States border crossing experience has constantly evolved and been transformed through domestic political practices and international events. The border, as in the post-9/11 era, will (and is) necessarily being redefined in a post-COVID-19 world. Indeed, in 2020, the combination of a pandemic and the lack of health coordination at the continental level placed the border back at the heart of the debate, becoming the national health bulwark at the expense of states’ international obligations towards asylum seekers and refugees. The rapid closure of borders, which closed one after the other, trapped many people on the move (tourists, seasonal migrants, snowbirds, refugees, displaced persons) outside their national territory or area of residence, thus underlining the fragility of all mobility. This evolution of global borders is decisive for the Quebec-American relationship, articulated in recent times around a certain idea of a fluid border demarcation line. In recent times the Quebec-US border has changed substantially: this paper will show that not only did the pandemic episode confirm an evolution that was initiated on September 11, but it also paved the way for an inevitable hardening of this part of the border



14:30-16:00 Auditorium THC1 BIG Panel 10: Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/ab9hXgBSuYw

Veterans’ Welfare in European Borderlands through the 20th Century

14:30-16:00 Room 208 (Virtual) THC2 Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/npThJv7AAz4

Borders, Non-State Actors and Security in Africa II

Chair: Christopher Changwe Nshimbi, University of Zululand, South Africa

Assessment of Smuggling of Petroleum Products in Imeko Border Area: Responses, Successes and Coping Strategies
Samuel Okunade, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Understanding the Cross-Border Problems in the SADC Region
Innocent Moyo, University of Zululand, South Africa

A Constructivist Reading of Cross Border Security Problems in the Southern African Region (V)
Mandisa Makhathini, University of Zululand, South Africa



Assessment of Smuggling of Petroleum Products in Imeko Border Area: Responses, Successes and Coping Strategies Samuel Okunade

The Meko border area remains a viable area where massive economic activities take place and this has to do with the movement of goods and products in and out of Nigeria. It is also a border area where the Nigerian state generates huge revenue. However, it has been a spot for smuggling activities and other cross-border criminality, of which the Nigerian government is aware. One major smuggling activity is the smuggling of petroleum products from Imeko across the borders into Benin Republic. What was the order at the time was the erection of many petrol stations in Imeko town and very close to the border. This facilitated legal access to the supply of petroleum products and when they get to the stations, they are moved across the border into Benin Republic where they are sold at higher prices for more profit. In response to this, the federal government took some decisions. First is the banning of erection of petrol stations 20kms away from the border which covers the whole Imeko area. Second is the closure of existing ones and sales of petroleum products there, and lastly, the mobilization of a Joint Task Force to enforce this and stop the furtherance of the smuggling of petroleum products across the borders. While this decision is targeted at curbing smuggling of petroleum products, it comes with implications for the border community, one of which is shortage of petroleum products that aid the running of the daily activities of the local people among many others. This has been the order in Imeko border town. It therefore becomes necessary to assess and investigate the current situation so as to ascertain what successes and otherwise failures these interventions have achieved since the enforcement of such policies started. It would equally examine the coping strategies of the local people for surviving in Imeko border town. This is all in a bid to come up with informed recommendations for policy impact vis-à-vis government regulations and the continuing survival of the local people in their community.



Understanding the Cross-Border Problems in the SADC Region

Innocent Moyo


Through the deployment of the notion of regional security complex, this paper argues that it is impossible for one or two countries in the SADC to achieve cross border security in isolation of other countries. This is the reason why SADC states must deal with problems in countries like Zimbabwe so that the out-migration of its citizens (Zimbabweans) will not affect the security of other countries. For as long as the economic and political problems in Zimbabwe continue that will unavoidably spill to its neighbors like South Africa in the form of undocumented migration and human smuggling. Border securitisation may not stop such undocumented migration but may lead to more sophisticated and underground strategies of crossing the border and thus generating more complex cross-border and national security problems. Seen thus, the problem is not undocumented migration and human smuggling and/or other illegalities at the border, but what causes people to do this.


A Constructivist Reading of Cross Border Security Problems in the Southern African Region (V)

Mandisa Makhathini

A constructivist perspective on cross border security suggests that national interests are forged in the process of mutual interaction and the maintenance of national sovereignty. Thus, the notion that a country’s sovereignty lies in the protection or securitization of its borders tends to be uni-dimensional. Perhaps mutual interaction and understanding that includes all cross-border actors could assist in strengthening border management. By applying a constructivist perspective to border security studies, this paper advances the view that it is possible to gain a deeper knowledge of how and why borders are built as well as the effects that this construction may have on the shared beliefs and norms of the populations on either side.

14:30-16:00 Room 207 THC3

The USA-Mexico Border

Chair: James Gerber, San Diego State University, USA

U.S. Facilitators of Mexican Corruption and Organized Crime at the Border: The Logics of Money Laundering in the United States
Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, George Mason University, Washington DC, USA

Placekeeping and Placemaking on the Frontier: A 21st Perspective from the U.S.-Mexico Border
Lawrence Herzog, University of California, San Diego, USA

Women’s Auto/biography in the Mexico-United States Borderscape
Paulo Alvarado, Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico

U.S. Facilitators of Mexican Corruption and Organized Crime at the Border: The Logics of Money Laundering in the United States

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, Charles Lewis & William Yaworsky,
This article describes the mechanisms through which corruption by high-level Mexican politicians and local/state government authorities—governors of Mexican border states—is facilitated in the Unites States through money laundering operations. This research also evaluates key actors, organizations and relevant strategies linked to this phenomenon. It is based on information contained in court records related to money laundering cases involving high-level Mexican border authorities. The article explains the rationale that drives the use of these mechanisms, the costs and benefits of the strategy, and demonstrates the pervasive use of legitimate businesses in the United States (mainly in Texas) as a disguise for criminal activity.

Overall, this text outlines the basic methods used by Mexican politicians to launder money in the United States (particularly in the border region). The data analyzed derives from public records of recent Appellate Court decisions. This study focuses on the case of the border state of Coahuila. The unique experiences of the authors (a retired federal prosecutor, an anthropologist and a political scientist) provide a multiplicity of perspectives. This research is of interest to those studying the informal economy, transnational organized crime, border security, US-Mexico border relations, patron-client ties, legal anthropology and applied anthropology.



Placekeeping and Placemaking on the Frontier: A 21st Perspective from the U.S.-Mexico Border

Lawrence Herzog

Border scholars have posed a dichotomy of ways of thinking about the geography of international border spaces: debordering and rebordering. The former conceptualizes a world where 19th century hard boundaries are softened, allowing flows of people, commerce, innovation, culture and cooperation. The latter poses the reimposition of walls, fences and hard, even fortified boundaries between nation-states. Meanwhile, globalization has seen vast demographic and economic shifts of population and resources toward international boundaries, especially in North America, Europe, and Asia where some boundary regions have become heavily urbanized. In these urbanizing border zones, international boundary space must now be reconsidered as a geography of community and of “place.” This lecture/paper will explore the theories of placemaking, placekeeping and “sense of place” along international borders using the U.S.-Mexico border as a case study.


Women’s Auto/biography in the Mexico-United States Borderscape

Paulo Anamika

From 1942 to 1968 three women from the Mexican border with the United States published their coming of age auto/biographical narratives. Elisa M. Del Valle, around 1942, published a text that obtained copyright in 1939, Alma mexicana. Biografía novelada, in which she describes the events of her military father José María Mier during the Maderista Revolution; the author’s experiences ertr involved with those headed by her pater familiae. The violinist Celia Treviño Carranza published in 1958 Mi atormentada vida. The Monterrey, Mexico native exposes in first person her childhood, education and adult life on both sides of the border. This book highlights the relationship with her parents as the daughter of a depressed mother and an absent father; her musical training in New York and her professional achievements in Mexico, Central America and Europe; and her particular sense of motherhood that detonates a competition with her own mother and her daughter’s affection. Between hesitations, stands out an “I” written by a woman. In 1968, Consuelo Peña de Villarreal Elizondo published La Revolución en el norte in which she alternates historical National Mexican events with regional and family anecdotes, whose protagonists are marginal subjects. The general objective of this study is to identify how women, auto/biography and the Mexico-US border interact to re/produce meanings, models and/or concepts. The life writing theory defined by Sidonie Smith, Marlene Kadar and Fançoise Lionnet is useful to research women’s auto/biography. Complementing this, this paper considers the b/ordering space and the borderscape established in the discussions by Henk Van Houtum and Chiara Brambilla, among others. This lecture considers women, life writing and border as a triad re/producing gender, genre and space from Mexico.

14:30-16:00 Room 213 THC4

Re-reading Borderland Lives


Citizenship, Migration, and Belonging in the Indo-Myanmar Borderlands

Chair: Roluaa Puia, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee

Bordering Practices at Behiang Check Post: Identity and Belonging in the Indo-Myanmar Borderland
Goumin Lal, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai Campus, India

Citizenship on the Borderland: An Ethnographic Exploration of Belongingness in Indo-Myanmar Borderland
P Lalpekhlui, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati Campus, India

Migration from the Indo-Myanmar Borderland to Singapore: Understanding Networks and Identity Formation
Thnggoulen Kigpen, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur


Session Abstract

In this panel, our focus is on the question of the relationship between borderlands and belonging, examining questions of identity, citizenship and migration. The papers in the panel will address this in the context of the Indo-Myanmar borderlands—which stretch to about 1,643 km, covering areas from China in the North to Bangladesh in the South. While ‘Indo-Myanmar’ become a convenient way of framing the region, we acknowledge that the borderland region contains multiple borders and regions, given the diverse communities that inhabit the regions—the Shans, Kachins, Karens and Chins in Myanmar, and Thadou, Paite, Nagas, Singpho, Mizos, Maras among others in India. Owing to this reality, our understanding of borders is shaped by the view that borderlands are not homogenous spaces, nor are they necessarily ‘margins.’ As such, we move away from the more simplistic binary approaches of core-periphery, center-margins of border studies, instead viewing borderland regions as connected spaces and territories. This enables us to explore the nodes and networks of connections at the borderlands, the flows and movements of people through migrations, both nationally and globally. In this understanding, both margins and borders are not necessarily the ‘edge’ of the nation-state, nor are they geographically distant from the power centers and the core regions. There can be several margins and borders within a borderland region, while there can also exist multiple peripheries, hierarchies and marginalities within a single borderland region. As such, borders and margins are discursively constructed, produced by relations of power, and are constantly open to challenge and change (Tsing 1994; Parker 2000).



Bordering Practices at Behiang Check Post: Identity and Belonging in the Indo-Myanmar Borderland

Goumin Lal

The border between India and Myanmar, which was drawn to demarcate the boundaries between the two nations in 1964, unfairly scattered an Indigenous community into Trans-border communities across the two different countries and influenced their identities and sense of belongingness to a great extent. This paper attempts to bring out the multiple layers of identity and belongingness of borderland communities by using ethnography as a method to study the bordering practices at the Check Post. The bordering process or border practices are the terms used to express the multi-level, dynamic practices and the functional aspects of the border. The nature of the border at the Check Post changes and fluctuates depending on fluid ground realities, events and situations as well as the actors involved. In the process of bordering at the check post, “othering” of the community living on both side of border becomes more visible and national identity gains precedence over the local community’s trans-border identity. Hence, the paper seeks to foreground the making of these fluid identities through the border to understand how interactions influence identity making here. The author attempts to highlight three aspects of border practices at the Check Post: one, how the function of the state border reinforces National identity and spatial belongingness? Second, it tries to explain how situations or events that occur in the borderland influence state border practices. And, thirdly, community border practices, how do the borderland communities negotiate and how do they form solidarity and belongingness through trans-border identity? The researcher used the Behiang Check Post as an ethnographic site. Behiang is a border village located on the borderline in the Southern part of Churchandpur District, Manipur. The village is located in a strategically important place; it is the last village on Indian territory along the Tedim Road that connects India and Myanmar. The village has been a contested space from the arrival of the British in the area to the present day. The village is also under the proposed border scheme of the Manipur Government. The Assam Rifles were tasked with guarding the Indo-Myanmar border since 2002 and set up a check post within the Behiang village.


Citizenship on the Borderland: An Ethnographic Exploration of Belongingness in Indo-Myanmar Borderland

P Lalpekhlui

The transition to citizenship in India was a struggle for constitutional democracy and republican citizenship, hence citizenship in India is deeply intertwined with democracy and is inextricably linked with state formative practices. This includes the mapping of territory and population, legitimation and identification of its citizens within fixed territorial boundaries. It further affirms and consolidates state power over determining the terms of belonging, and making distinctions between citizens and outsiders (Roy 2016). Since citizenship connotes the idea of belonging within a political community, it has become an important agenda for its inhabitants to be seen by the state through proof of citizenship. However, citizenship is a fluid term and the idea of being a citizen differs from one space to another. The sites of citizenship often offer insights into citizenship identities which are contested, in flux and liminal. Drawing on ethnographical research among the inhabitants of the Lopu village, bordering Myanmar in the Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC), this paper examines the notion of belongingness under the framework of citizenship. The legal definition of citizenship is important to avail entitlement and to have a sense of political belongingness. Yet there are inhabitants in the borderland without the necessary documents and who migrated from Myanmar. For those inhabitants, it is a sense of belonging that ties them to the community. A sense of belonging is shaped by an affective relationship within the community through social institutions and emotional ties developed with other inhabitants. In this context, the paper argues that the legal definition of citizenship is important for the nation-state but insufficient to comprehend the various dynamics of citizenship in borderlands. In this regard, the paper explores the different forms and patterns of belongingness within the scope of citizenship among the inhabitants living in the Indo-Myanmar borderland.




Migration from the Indo-Myanmar Borderland to Singapore: Understanding Networks and Identity Formation

Thnggoulen Kigpen

In recent years, there has been growing migration from the Indo-Myanmar borderland to Singapore for work and employment. Taking as a case study the Kuki people, a trans-border community along the Indo-Myanmar borderland, the paper explores the determinants of migration by examining the role of ethnic networks. The paper discusses how ethnic networks travel across borders and help the diffusion of information about job opportunities among co-ethnic members divided by international boundaries. These ethnic networks not only are helpful in diffusing employment opportunities and decision making but are equally important in creating a sense of belonging in the new place of destination i.e., Singapore. The paper examines the role of the church in identity formation in Singapore, arguing that religious gatherings deconstruct the sense of ‘otherness’ fashioned from the ethnic division into two distinct nation-states (India and Myanmar) by colonial rulers. The formation of the church is an important marker of identity as it contributes to ethnic unification and allows the Kukis to re-create the ethnic solidarity that was lost for many decades.


14:30-16:00 Room 122 THC5

Frontiers in Motion (FRONTEM)

Cross Border Resilience in Europe in Times of Crisis

Chair: Birte Wassenberg, Sciences Po Strasbourg

Cross-Border Resilience at the Franco-German Border
Frédérique Berrod, Sciences Po, University of Strasbourg, France, & Anne Thevenet, Euro-Institut, Kehl, Germany /TEIN (Transfrontier Euro-Institut Network)

Cross-Border Resilience at the Franco-Belgian Border
Fabienne Leloup, University of Louvain, Belgium

Cross-Border Resilience at the German-Danish Border
Martin Klatt, University of Southern Denmark,

(Re)naming in Urban Areas on Soft and Hard Borders: Comparison of Toponymic Initiatives in Geneva and NarvaIvangorod
Frederic Giraut,
Dept of Geography, University of Geneva, Switzerland, and Ekaterina Mikhailova, Institute of East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany 


Session Abstract

In Europe, the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 resulted in an unexpected re-bordering process re-questioning the functions of “borders” in the EU. The hermetic closure of borders in most EU Member States, which was decided in many cases unilaterally without coordination between the national governments nor with the European Commission and had not been discussed with regional authorities or the population in border regions, was a traumatic experience for cross-border regions. It questioned the function of integrated borderlands as models of European Integration, as the “separation” function of the border suddenly returned against all expectations. The COVID19-crisis has indeed shown how fragile Borderlands are when re-bordering takes place in Europe. During the first phase of the pandemic, the EU Member States decided mainly as a function of their national security interests if and when to close their borders, ignoring the coordination function of the European Commission on the one hand and the concerns of regional actors at the border on the other hand. The COVID-19 crisis has therefore shown a mismatch between the European principle of a “Europe without borders” and the nationally based border regimes and policies. How has this affected cross-border cooperation in the post-COVID-19 era? This panel will deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for border management and perception in European border regions by focusing on three case studies: the Franco-German border, the Franco-Belgian border and the German-Danish border. These case studies are part of a Jean Monnet Network research project (Frontem), which deals with this topic in a comparative perspective and organizes for each border region a research conference and a focus group with stakeholders from the border. The three lectures will report on the results in their respective border regions with regard to three main aspects: First, they will illustrate the consequences of re-bordering on the perception of the border and the “other.” Second, they analyze the reactions in the border regions to the crisis in terms of border management and, finally, they assess the resilience capacity of cross-border cooperation and the possibility to develop new cross-border governance tools for the post-COVID-19 period. An emphasis will be put on the positive impact that cross-border cooperation could represent in order to overcome the current re-bordering crisis. After the three lectures, the Canadian partner of the Frontem network will respond to the speakers by analyzing the result from a comparative transatlantic perspective.


Cross-Border Resilience at the Franco-German Border

Frédérique Berrod

This lecture will deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on border management and perception at the Franco-German border. Anne Thevenet will start by presenting the mental map issued for the border region for the Frontem project and report on the focus group results of stakeholders from June 2022. Frédérique Berrod will then assess the resilience of cross-border cooperation during the pandemic using new tools derived from the bilateral Franco-German Treaty of Aachen from 2019 and give an overview of the EU’s reaction to the crisis in terms of a reinforcement of its border policy and health policy coordination function.


Cross-Border Resilience at the Franco-Belgian Border

Fabienne Leloup

This lecture will deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on border management and perception at the Franco-Belgium border. It will start by presenting the mental map issued for the border region for the Frontem project and report on the focus group results of stakeholders from November 2022. Fabienne Leloup will assess the resilience of cross-border cooperation during the pandemic in terms of innovative governance by focusing especially on the tools of health cooperation that were developed and that constitute a best-practice example of cross-border cooperation in Europe.


Cross-Border Resilience at the German-Danish Border

Martin Klatt

This paper will deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on border management and perception at the German-Danish border. A mental map issued for the border region for the FRONTEM project revealed a continuous perception of the region as a cross-border region by involved stakeholders belonging to the region’s national minorities. A FRONTEM focus group research seminar held in October 2021 demonstrated the challenges resulting from the securitization measures effectively closing the border in March 2020, revealing plenty of cross-border living practices going beyond shopping and commuting to work. While cross-border living demonstrated resilience to re-bordering, politically organized cooperation has experienced a severe cutback, as well as powerlessness and lack of initiative from regional politicians after the return of the state securitizing the border.


(Re)naming in Urban Areas on Soft and Hard Borders: Comparison of Toponymic Initiatives in Geneva and Narva-Ivangorod

Frederic Giraut & Ekaterina Mikhailova

Borderlands frequently undergo symbolic transformations initiated by internal and external actors that reflect local as well as national and cross-border socio-economic and political processes. Place (re)naming at borderlands is a powerful tool of (re)structuring (trans)national, regional and local symbolic landscape and (re)shaping the entangled blend of territorial identities. Sometimes borderlands become arenas of neotoponymy―place naming of emergent territories and geographic features. Each borderland has its unique place name production contexts and technologies best suited to meet geopolitical challenges predominant in a particular region and at a particular territorial level. Cross-border urban areas oftentimes serve as places of hybridisation and new regionalism where several layers of toponymy could co-exist and intermingle. In this paper we will look specifically at Geneva cross-border agglomeration on the Swiss-French border and international twin cities of Ivangorod and Narva on the Russian-Estonian border. What place (re)naming practices prevail there? What role do state authorities, private sector and civil society play in toponymic changes? To answer these questions, the paper will examine initiatives of street (re)naming, territorial branding, cross-border spatial planning and border heritagization. Following the critical turn in toponymic studies, we will attempt to decipher the political dimension of place (re)naming processes in the studied borderlands. By doing so, the paper will contribute to discussions on identity-construction, region-building, symbolic landscape creation and (re)bordering.







14:30-16:00 Room 214 THC6

Borders at the Movies V: The Ethics of Filming Border Documentaries

Lines (2019 – Costas M. Constantinou) – Cyprus
Peeking Over the Wall (215 – David Newman) – Israel / Palestine

The final Borders at the Movies session examines two short political documentaries which have been made about borders in regions of conflict―North and South Cyprus and Israel-West Bank―and examines the impact upon the local populations. Both documentaries raise questions about the ethics of filming under political tensions and the use of movies of this type as an educational tool for raising the awareness of the understanding of such conflicts, especially at the local levels. The two documentary producers, Dr. Costas Constantinou and Professor David Newman, will discuss the experience of making these videos and the problems encountered along the way.

14:30-16:00 Room 210 (Film) THC7

Coffee Break


Closing Plenary Session: Borders and Political Geography

Closing Plenary Session:  Borders and Political Geography

Chair: Elena Dell’agnese, Università di Milano Bicocca, Italy

Why Some Border Disputes Are More Conducive to Settlement Than Others: The Often-Decisive Role of Ethnoculturally Grounded Territorial Imaginaries
Alexander B. Murphy, University of Oregon at Eugene, USA

Crossing the Disciplinary Boundaries: Reflections on Forty Years of Border Studies
David Newman, Research Chair in Geopolitics, Dept of Politics & Government, Ben-Gurion University, Israel

The 21st Century Borders Project (BIG_Lab, UVic, Canada) and the future agenda of Border Studies
Anne Thevenet, Euro Institut, Kehl, Germany / TEIN (Transfrontier Euro-Institut Network), and Emmanuel BrunetJailly, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada



Why Some Border Disputes Are More Conducive to Settlement Than Others: The Often-Decisive Role of Ethnoculturally Grounded Territorial Imaginaries

Alexander B. Murphy

Why are some interstate border conflicts more conducive to legal settlement than others? Most studies addressing this question focus on such factors as the physical properties of disputed territories, the relations among the disputants, the types of legal or governmental systems that exist in the disputant states and the role of international institutions. Another factor of great, even overriding, importance is the nature of the identity-nationalism-territory relationship that exists in states involved in territorial conflicts with their neighbors. That relationship is fundamentally shaped by the territorial imaginaries that evolved along with those states. In some cases, those territorial imaginaries are rooted in long-stranding, deep-seated senses of ethnocultural-cum-territorial distinctiveness, whereas in other cases they are more instrumentalist in character (tied, for example, to the existence of a territory carved out by colonial powers). A comparative analysis of two major twentieth-century interstate territorial conflicts, one of which was settled (Ecuador-Peru) and one of which was not (Greece-Turkey), suggests that territorial imaginaries grounded in historical ethnocultural terms are particularly difficult to resolve. It follows that more attention needs to be given to the nature and significance of the dominant territorial imaginaries that developed along with the modern state in our efforts to understand the dynamics of interstate border conflict.



Crossing the Disciplinary Boundaries: Reflections on  Forty Years of Border Studies

David Newman

The field of border studies has undergone a major renaissance during the past thirty to forty years. Emerging as a counter narrative to that of the borderless world, which accompanied globalization discourses of the 1980s and early 1990s, it was argued that the world remained highly bordered even if some of the physical borders between countries were disappearing as a result of EU expansion on the one hand, and the fall of the iron Curtain on the other. While it was generally accepted that globalization technologies had enabled the relative freedom of border crossing in such fields as the flow of economic capital or the diffusion of information, it was argued that borders continued to function in many different and new ways and that it was important to gain a deeper understanding of the multifaceted nature of borders and the bordering process.

Border Studies has shown itself to be a multi-disciplinary (cross-border) area of study, where researchers (and practitioners) from different disciplines meet in “transition zones” (such as international workshops and conferences) and exchange and share their own versions of what constitutes a border. However positive such meetings of minds are, the majority of scholars tend to refocus their own research within a very specific compartmentalized scientific discipline, often lacking the analytical tools to fully understand borders from a different academic linguistic perspective, and not always being prepared to read, or to publish, their own research within publications (be they scientific journals or books) which are beyond their discipline. This is partly due to the fact that the gatekeepers of the academic world maintain a semi hegemonic control over what is appropriate or inappropriate as a means of perpetuating their own strongly bordered profession, which, in turn, can impact the promotion and tenure possibilities of junior researchers. Thus, the cross disciplinary borders meeting is often a reason for “feel good” factors but does not always play out in the real world of scientific promotion of knowledge.

The main endeavor within border studies, in almost all disciplines, remains focused on the empirical analysis of case studies which are of interest in their own right but do not always contribute to the development of conceptual or theoretical thinking about borders and bordering.


The 21st Century Borders Project (BIG_Lab, UVic, Canada) and the future agenda of Border Studies

Anne Thevenet and Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly


Debates continue about how to theorize the changing nature of borders in a globalizing world. Concepts such as ‘the vacillating border,’ ‘mobile’ borders or ‘borders in motion’ have been predominant; however, these discussions remain fundamentally state-centric and, importantly, while grappling with idea of ‘territorial trap,’ they do not go beyond a territory-based logic; they remain fundamentally landlocked. Cutting edge research, however, shows that borders and bordering processes are increasingly networked, mobile and functional. Borders and their reach are no longer strictly contiguous, tied to state territoriality, or bound to geography.

Our research program is centred around two key assumptions. First, self-determination and nationalist movements pose internal regulatory/policy challenges to states. They are variously leading to regulatory, functional and territorial processes of fragmentation or integration. This concern captures the role of new nationalisms, Indigenous resurgence and self-determination, as well as cross-border cultures, histories and memorialization that displace the spatial limits of intergovernmental functions and regulations. Second, new mobile border logics—resulting from cross-border connectivity, transnational regulation and sovereignty found across trade flows and human mobility, or climate change and security regimes —affect borders and ultimately the modern state system.

These logics also connect non-contiguous states and regions of the world through mobility and flow corridors linking airports and seaports, requiring global border infrastructures to be located away from territorial boundaries. Our proposed research program will assess the visibility and invisibility of borders as well as their territoriality, and their spatial natures beyond their territoriality.

Our approach encompasses three related questions that together speak to these countervailing pressures associated with mobile border logics and self-determination: i) in what specific ways are bordering processes affecting state territoriality, and the spatiality of trade flows, or human mobility, inside/within the confines of states’ international boundaries, but also across international or transnational legal and regulatory regimes? How are Indigenous awareness and resurgences, and new politics of nationhood and nationalisms, affecting, fragmenting, and re-drafting intergovernmental relations inside states iii) Finally, how are these politics affecting the geopolitics of borders across global regimes?


16:30-18:00 Auditorium THD Virtual Link: https://youtu.be/ab9hXgBSuYw

Closing Comments

18.00-18.30 Auditorium

​Friday 17th February 2023

02/17/2023 9:00 am

Ben Gurion University Eilat Campus

Post Conference Field Trips (optional)

West Bank Geopolitics and Jerusalem

08:30 - 09:30 AM

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