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ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


20 May 2016
Seminar hotel Alpha Soleil, Kandersteg near Berne, Switzerland

Call for Applications: Summer School 2016 – Border Regimes: Confrontations, Configurations, Transpositions

TransPositions is an international network formed by three partner institutions in the field of graduate education with the Graduate School of the Humanities at the University of Bern as lead institution and with the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Lucerne and the Department of History and Art History at Utrecht University as partners.

Call for Applications
Summer School 2016
Application deadline: 20 May 2016

When: 4 – 9 September 2016
Where: Seminar hotel Alpha Soleil, Kandersteg near Berne, Switzerland
Languages: English (main), German
Costs: 500 Swiss francs (travel and accommodation [double room] covered by organizer)

The notion of the border as a clear cut geopolitical division of national territories has been challenged for quite some time in multiple disciplines, including history, art history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, and cultural theory engaged in the field of postcolonial studies. Even though state borders prove effective in terms of inclusion and exclusion, they can never be reduced to one single meaning.

The transposition of persons, commodities, materialities, and imaginaries involved in border regimes both reflects and affects the transpositioning nature of borders. Such a dynamic and fluid notion of the border shifts our focus beyond geopolitical landscapes with its fences of death, barbed wire, walls, mountains or swamps, towards a more complex notion of border regimes. This implies all sorts of triages of socio-cultural inclusion and exclusion (such as those found within financial markets, art markets, schools, and health check centers), but also the connecting, collaborative, and creative aspects of “contact zones” (Pratt), “-scapes” (Appadurai), “trading zones” (Galison) or interstitial “third spaces” (Bhabha, Soja). Although never free from confrontations, the border can be seen as “not that at which something stops but […] from which something begins its presencing” (Heidegger). Moreover, it generally complicates dichotomies between natural/real/factual and conceptual/imaginary/fictional borders, those inside our heads and those outside. Borders are always to be understood as highly complex configurations of difference and identity, inside and outside, inclusion and exclusion, diachrony and synchrony, imagination and its real effects. The analysis of border regimes, therefore, requires a plurality of methodological approaches as well as an inter- and transdisciplinary dialogue.

The Summer School invites doctoral and postdoctoral scholars from all disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences to contribute to a critical interdisciplinary discussion on borders and analogous concepts. It addresses the following questions:

  • What are the idiosyncrasies, constitutive elements and specific discursive, socio-cultural or political conditions of borderlands, borderscapes, contact zones, liminal spaces, margins etc.? Which institutions, agents or actants are involved?
  • What are the impacts of knowledge transfer, the circulation and flows of persons, objects, images, and information on the transpositioning of borders, whether physical or imaginary?
  • In which ways can ‘border thinking’ or ‘border knowledge’ (Mignolo) inform us about our own disciplinary positions when analysing border regimes? What are the consequences of the claim that we tend to invoke/produce the borders we describe (Mezzadra/Neilson)?

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