Border Poetics? - A comparative perspective

International Symposium, Sommarøy and Tromsø, November 11-13, 2004. Held in conjunction with the doctoral course “grenser og rammer”.

Territorial borders and textual frames have received renewed academic attention in this age of transitional mobility, though often in a fragmentary and isolated fashion in the humanities. As an ever-present element in human life, they are commonly represented in narratives and often take symbolic forms in both historical and contemporary artistic expression such as literature, film, the creative arts, and design. At the same time aesthetic works get their status as expressions of "art" exactly by being separated from other types of work, and often this happens under the guise of disciplinary frames and boundaries. This symposium focuses on the development of practical strategies (a border poetics) for examining the function of these forms of representation in the intersection between territorial borders and aesthetic works.

A problem that arises when we try to answer this and related questions is that borders and frames are often used as concepts in contemporary cultural research without being specified in detail and often without being rigorously problematized. As cultural researchers in aesthetic subjects, it is important to develop strategies to handle how we discuss boundaries, their importance and their artificiality, and the interests they stake out, but also to recognize the practical and theoretical importance of concepts such as "framing a text", or studying the "thresholds" or "transgressions" in media and aesthetic representations.

Topics that will be discussed in this symposium are the ethics of borders studies, how we theorize border studies, visual culture, film and media studies, colonial and post-colonialism literatures and histories, exile and migration, and concepts of the body.

Both of the keynote lectures are open to all students and faculty at the University and we encourage participation in the entire symposium. Cost of the symposium, including all transportation and meals, is 500 kr for faculty, and 200 kr for students. The Saturday evening banquet is an additional 300 kr. If you have would like to participate please register here on the web. If you have any other questions please contact:

Johan Schimanski (
Stephen Wolfe (
Lena Liepe (

The Border Poetics / Border Culture research group at the Faculty for Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Participates in the projects Border Aesthetics and EUBORDERSCAPES.

programme and abstract book