Conferences and Thematic Workshops

The IRTG “Baltic Borderlands” is active in both hosting and participating in conferences and thematic workshops in Europe and all over the world.

The Power of Borderland(s): In Media's Res

International and Interdisciplinary Conference, Greifswald/ Germany, 28-29 June 2018

The International Research Training Group (IRTG) “Baltic Borderlands: Shifting Boundaries of Mind and Culture in the Borderlands of the Baltic Sea Region”, a collaborative programme between the universities of Lund, Tartu, and Greifswald, will discuss the context and medialization of border crossing (or transgression) and the establishment (or dissolution) of borderlands. The panels encompass papers from the humanities and social sciences, e. g. history and art history, linguistics and literary studies, political sciences, gender studies, sociology, and digital humanities that address maps, literary texts, academic accounts, biographical notes, press media, film, digital productions and their story as well as the impact on conceptualizations of borders and borderlands.
Pekka Hämäläinen and Samuel Truett reflect in their 2011 account “On Borderlands” about the expansion of research approaches and the usefulness of the fashionable (academic) application of the borderland concept in the humanities. Although the concept had been applied with varying degrees of success, the power of borderlands as analytical tool appears already in Gloria Anzaldúa’s summary of her own stories of living in the borderland, namely borderlands exist wherever two or more cultures exist. Similarly, the observation of Etienne Balibar that “borders are everywhere” rely very much on narrativizations of experiences through different channels. These channels are particularly interesting in the context of this conference and include poetry, maps, biographical accounts and, more recently, numerous digital approaches.
Globalization supported a perspective of borderlessness beyond any containments like national, imperial or regional spaces and opened up these centrist research perspectives on spaces and orders. Spatial mobility here implies to cross borders, but does not mean to cross them out. They continue to be part of our cognitive and physical world. They remain part of our social, cultural, political and economic world making processes not only through experiences at and across the border but particularly through debates, discourses and images embedded in a multitude of narratives. We therefore ask: What happens with borders and borderlands in the narratives about times of historical and contemporary globalization? Do we cross or transgress borders? What does it mean when we use one or the other concept? Who has particular interest to present borders and borderlands in a specific way? Which media were used to disseminate ideas? Which of these choices confirm and which subvert the border? Do media and communication have an impact on these processes and hereby influence perceptions, constructions and dissolution of borders and borderlands?

For detailed information and our porgramme please click here.

Antisemitism – Medieval Roots and Modern Branches

Book Presentation and Panel Debate

Has antisemitism always been the same – “the longest hatred” - or is there a fundamental difference between pre-modern, religious antijudaism and modern, racist antisemitism? How and to what extent are modern outbreaks of antisemitism informed by older fragments of knowledge about Jews as the Other?

The anthology “The Medieval Roots of Antisemitism” (Routledge 2018) takes a fresh approach at these questions. In the panel debate, three of the contributors will present their viewpoint: Jonathan Adams (Göteborg/Copenhagen), who has studied the representations of Jews in the medieval North; Ulrich Wyrwa (Berlin/Potsdam), whose focus is on the radicalization of antisemitism in the 19th and early 20th century; and Brian Klug (Oxford), who has coined the term “new antisemitism” for anti-Jewish stereotypes in connection with the state of Israel. An event organized by the RTG Baltic Borderlands and the Chair of Nordic History.

Chair: Cordelia Heß (Greifswald)

Migration, Memory, Media: Collective Memory and Representations of Intercultural Mobility

Upcoming Conference

26th April 2017, Berlin

Migration and intercultural mobility have a strong impact on Finnish and German societies as well as on their mutual relations. In this context, German and Finnish scholars will present their studies on (media) representations of migration in Finland, Germany and Europe at our workshop, focussing as well on the collective memory and cultural, economic and social exchange between Finland, Germany and beyond.

For more information click here

Unjust Borderlands: Injustice and Cultural Bordering

3rd-5th May 2017, Greifswald

The International Research Training Group (IRTG) “Baltic Borderlands: Shifting Boundaries of Mind and Culture in the Borderlands of the Baltic Sea Region”, a collaborative program among the universities of Lund, Tartu, and Greifswald, in cooperation with UC Santa Barbara’s Borderlands Cluster, organizes a conference for discussing the phenomenon of injustice and inequality in borderland situations.

Injustice occurs wherever – individually or institutionally perceived – social and/or legal norms have been infringed. However, particularly in borderland situations, applicable rules and norms collide, overlap and often are difficult to decide on. Injustice in such situations is not just the negation of justice – as Eric Heintze has recently shown. Rather, the traditional polar relationship of “unjust” and “just” has also to be put into perspective of ethical principles and the complexity of contexts, in which “unjust” situations occur. Furthermore, these principles, norms and contexts have been changing over time. Therefore, the assessment of “unjust” situations has been subject to change and development as well.

Against this background, injustice in borderland situations emerges through cultural bordering processes where two or more cultures share a border. Collective ideas and socio-cultural frameworks at the border determine conflicting, overlapping, and hierarchical systems of norms and principles, which have a considerable impact on the perception and assessment of injustice. Taking into account the impact of socio-cultural frames and active trans-cultural bordering processes, we are interested in the consequences of social categories, power discourses, social hierarchies and their representations in creating and/or overcoming injustice and inequality. Furthermore, besides theoretical approaches, we invite historical accounts about changing perceptions of injustice over time, depending on different levels of structural and institutional development framing law, political structures, etc.

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Visual Culture Exchange across the Baltic Sea Region 1772-1918

International conference headed by Professor Michelle Facos (Bloomington)

15-17 June 2017

Although the Baltic Sea has been one of the world’s greatest cultural crossroads, scholars often have overlooked cultural exchange in favor of exploring national and regional identities. Since the 1990s, the concept of a Baltic Sea Region encompassing the sea and its surrounding land has fostered transnational thinking about the region, transcending Cold War binaries of ‘East’ and ‘West’ in an effort to view the area more holistically. Still, common terminology such as ‘Scandinavia’ and ‘the Baltic States’, suggests these cultures are mutually exclusive, or, as the case with ‘Central and Eastern Europe’, ambiguously monolithic. While historians have been examining the Baltic Sea Region — present-day Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Sweden — as an important center of cross-cultural interaction, the area’s visual and material culture is often reduced to illustrative examples of historical phenomena and art historical narratives continue to be tethered to national and ethnocentric approaches, a bias this conference seeks to complicate. By foregrounding visual and material exchanges and the ideological or pragmatic factors that motivated them, we seek to establish common ground for viewing the Baltic Sea as a nexus of intertwined, fluctuating individuals and cultures always in conversation.


CONFERENCE ORGANIZERS Professor Dr. Michelle Facos (Bloomington) ∙ Bart Pushaw (Maryland)

CONFERENCE VENUE Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald ∙ Martin-Luther-Straße 14 ∙ D-17489 Greifswald

INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald · Tagungsbüro Christin Klaus M. A. · D-17487 Greifswald · Phone +49 (0) 3834 / 420-5029 · ·

The Conference is funded by the International Research Training Group “Baltic Borderlands“ of the German Research Foundation and the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung, Essen.

For more information please click here