EUBORDERSCAPES: Border Crossing and Cultural Production

Border Crossing and Cultural Production: publications

A list of academic publications resulting from Work Package 10 of the EUBORDERSCAPES project, sometimes in combination with other WPs.

Articles and book chapters (case studies)

Amilhat Szary, Anne-Laure. "L’artiste passe-muraille? La résistance au passage du mur entre Israël et la Cisjordanie". (2013): 1-21.

Based on the analysis of contemporary art works produced around the wall built by the Israelis around the West-Bank, this paper addresses the issues of border crossing and of the norms that one needs to confront in order to pass the line. It also focuses on the active resistance process that this crossing implies. Through its very special relation to place, the notion of “border art” questions spatial processes through the viscosity of matter in movement. The examples developed here both contribute, one hand, to the debates on the performative power of border devices, and on the other, to the elaboration of the analysis of what is at stake in the relationship between in situ art works and movement.

Boichot, Camille, and Fabien Barthélémy. "Entre mouvement et ancrages: Les spatialités d'artistes mobiles". Belgéo 2014/3: 2-14.

What do the Rolling Stones’ worldwide tours and a visual artist who is coming to settle in a gentrified place of a cultural capital such as Berlin have in common? This question led us to think artistic mobility with a broad sense, taking into account the diversity of practices and going beyond art’s disciplinary boundaries. That is why our study combines two complementary corpuses on visual arts and performing arts: the first one offering a general overview of artists’ mobilities through an extensive database; the second one constituted from interviews, allowing for an in-depth understanding of artists’ motivations. With this methodological choice, we can tackle the topic of artistic mobility focusing on spatialities on the move that stress out the connection between routes and roots, between travels and immersion into places.

Brambilla, Chiara. "Borderscape euro/africano attraverso il Mediterraneo: Esperienze artistiche dal LampedusaInFestival". Dialoghi Mediterranei 8 (2014).

---. "Educare all’intercultura attraverso il paesaggio: Esperienze a Mazara del Vallo". Dialoghi Mediterranei 11 (2015).

---. "Mobile Euro/African Borderscapes: Migrant Communities and Shifting Urban Margins". Borderities and the Politics of Contemporary Mobile Borders. Eds. Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary and Frédéric Giraut. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 138-54.

---. “Navigating the Euro/African Border and Migration Nexus Through the Borderscapes Lens: Insights from the LampedusaInFestival”. Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Bordermaking. Eds. Chiara Brambilla, Jussi Laine, James Scott, and Gianluca Bocchi. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015. 111-121.

"Chiara Brambilla dives into the Euro/African border and migration nexus at and across the EU(ropean) external frontiers in the Mediterranean through the borderscapes lens and discusses the most significant results that can be achieved by adopting the borderscapes looking glass in rethinking (Euro/African) borders moving beyond the modern state imaginary in the current era of globalisation and transnational  ows. Specifically, Brambilla gives account of the LampedusaInFestival as a relevant case study to explore the critical potential of the borderscapes concept to inquire into the Euro/African b/ordering processes and migration. Presenting the LampedusaInFestival as a counter-hegemonic borderscape, the chapter raises the important idea that political implications of border imaginaries are closely interweaved with aesthetic activity and that new political subjectivities can originate thanks to the construction of alternative border imaginaries to the static exclusivity of hegemonic institutional order, at the interface of politics and aesthetics both at and across shifting Euro/African migration border(s)."

Ferrer-Gallardo, Xavier, Abel Albet-Mas and Keina Espiñeira. "The Borderscape of Punta Tarifa: Concurrent Invisibilisation Practices at Europe’s Ultimate Peninsula". Cultural Geographies 22.3 (2015): 539-547.

This contribution aims to provide a cultural–geographical reading of the borderscape of Punta Tarifa: the southernmost point of so-called continental Europe and a key site vis-a-vis material and representational Euro-African (dis)connections. It is argued that Punta Tarifa harbours a complex process of symbolic and functional invisibilisation that turns this border landscape into a highly significant scenario within the ongoing European Union bordering process. This invisibilisation process is twofold. On the one hand, it lies with the selective public neglecting/ignoring of a crucial historical episode which challenges mainstream readings of Europe’s cultural heritage (the arrival of Tarif and Islam to Tarifa in the year 710). On the other hand, it concerns the veiling of the implemented migration management practices and, more precisely, the opacity surrounding the Migrant Detention Centre situated by Punta Tarifa. Having explored the case of Punta Tarifa, we suggest that a cultural–geographical reading – and hence the shedding of some light – on these and other similar invisibilisation processes is paramount in order to neutralise symbolic and functional exclusionary practices which lie at the heart of current European Union external bordering dynamics.

---. "Euro-African Invisibilisations in the Border(land)scape of Punta Tarifa”. Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Bordermaking. Eds. Chiara Brambilla, Jussi Laine, James Scott, and Gianluca Bocchi. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015. 123-129.

"Xavier Ferrer-Gallardo, Abel Albet-Mas and Keina Espineira provide a cultural geographical reading of the borderscape of Punta Tarifa, the southernmost point of so-called continental Europe and a key site vis-à-vis material and representational Euro/African (dis)connections, thereby arguing that Punta Tarifa harbours a dual process of symbolic and functional invisibilisation that turns this border landscape into a highly signi cant scenario within the ongoing EU bordering process and implemented migration management practices."

Ferrer-Gallardo, Xavier, and Keina Espiñeira. "Immobilized between Two EU Thresholds: Suspended Trajectories of Sub-Saharan Migrants in the Limboscape of Ceuta". Mobility and Migration Choices: Thresholds to Crossing Borders. Eds. Martin van der Velde and Ton van Naerssen. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015. 251-264.

Meier, Daniel. "From Frontline to Borderscape: The Hizbullah Memorial Museum in South of Lebanon". Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Bordermaking. Eds. Chiara Brambilla, Jussi Laine, James Scott, and Gianluca Bocchi. Aldershot: Ashgate, 201. 77-85.

Among the cultural production on borderlines in the Middle East, the Hizbullah Museum on the site of “Mleeta” drawn on several aspects that inscribes it as a borderscape as it links politics with aesthetics. Built in 2010 on the former frontline of the Israeli occupied zone in South Lebanon, Mleeta articulate heritage, memory, and leisure with politics, education and morality. As part of the resistance society building, the blurring of the boundaries between tourism, architecture and ideology is done through the specific using that is ordering the landscape and the natural environment of this southern borderland as a vantage ground for its vision of the world. This major transformation of the borderland into a borderscape was render possible because of the transformation of South Lebanon into a Hizbullah’s military stronghold since the end of the 1980s and thanks to a new political trade-off after the Syrian withdrawal of Lebanon (2005) that confirmed its influence over the Lebanese political game. The memorial museum of Mleeta is part of a broader cultural policy adopted by Hizbullah that intends to transform the previous occupied zone of South Lebanon into a touristic landscape including several other sites and a “resistance trail”. In this framework, the site of Mleeta provide with a powerful narrative about resistance and memory due to its location on the former borderline set up during the Israeli occupation of South of Lebanon (1978-2000).

Mekdjian, Sarah. "Les récits migratoires sont-ils encore possibles dans le domaine des refugee studies? Analyse critique et expérimentation cartographique créative". ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 15.1 (2016): 150-186.

Dans un contexte politique de suspicion de « faux réfugiés » et de limitation de l’accès au droit d’asile, les demandeurs d’asile sont soumis à une épreuve de crédibilité narrative par les administrations des pays signataires de la Convention de Genève. Alors que l’obtention du droit d’asile dépend de l’appréciation des récits des requérants par les administrations, cet article pose la question de la pertinence des méthodologies narratives dans le domaine des refugee studies. Comment élaborer des récits migratoires individuels avec des demandeurs d’asile, sans reconduire la violence symbolique induite par les procédures administratives ? Nous présentons les apports et les limites d’un terrain d’expérimentation méthodologique de recherche-création, intitulé Crossing Maps/Cartographies Traverses, mis en oeuvre en France avec des chercheurs en géographie, des artistes et douze personnes en situation de demandeurs d’asile ou de réfugiés. Ce travail, fondé sur le geste cartographique, interroge le potentiel critique des méthodes participatives d’élicitation dans le domaine des refugee studies. Exposé à plusieurs reprises face au public, ce dispositif participe-t-il d’une « politique de la pitié » (Boltanski, 2007) ou peut-il être considéré comme une performance à la fois artistique, scientifique et politique alternative aux récits administratifs ?

---. “Mapping Mobile Borders: Critical Cartographies of Borders Based on Migration Experiences”. Borderities: The Politics of Contemporary Mobile Borders, Eds. Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary and Frédéric Giraut, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 204-224.

Mekdjian analyzes the critical and political potential of mapping borders, based on migration experiences. Mapping and geo-surveillance are important instruments in the functioning and legitimization of border and migration policies, but they can also serve to criticize the contemporary governmentality of immigration and the production of boundaries. Recent projects of counter-cartography have largely been involved in producing alternative visual narratives of borders and migrations. Mekdjian describes a participatory and experimental mapping project of mobile borders carried out by researchers in geography, artists and asylum seekers in France. In this particular project, maps and mapping are intended to create moments of resistance to the apparatus of border and migration surveillance.

Mekdjian, Sarah, Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary, Marie Moreau, Gladeema Nasruddin, Mabeye Deme, Lauriane Houbey, and Coralie Guillemin. "Figurer les entre-deux migratoires: Pratiques cartographiques expérimentales entre chercheurs, artistes et voyageurs". Carnets de géographes 7 (2014): 1-19.

Over a two-month period, twice a week, in May and June 2013, two researchers, three contemporary artists, twelve refugees and a photographer met together in Grenoble, France. The workshops were intended to create encounters around mapping performances, to produce alternative narratives on migrations, experiences of socio-spatial exclusion and in-betweenness. From a methodological point of view, we tried not to reproduce some ethical biases of the ethnographic life-story method by using mapping. The maps were a framework within which collective and individual interactions evolved, so that they were a third party in the relationships build up during the workshops. This critical mapping experience raises methodological and ethical questions as to the conditions on which the migrants, researchers and artists took part, on the alternative narrative methods used, and on the scientific, aesthetic and political uses of the maps produced.

Németh, Ágnes. "The Immigrant “Other” and Artistic Expression: (De)Bordering via Festivals and Social Activism in Finland". Journal of Cultural Geography (2016): 1-19 [published online]. 

This paper analyses how cultural production and artistic activities can explain the social (de)construction of borders. The study looks at the soft, cultural aspects of bordering, encounters between the immigrants and their host societies, and the conscious and unintentional ways of altering their mental frames. The analysis focuses on the World Village Festival organised annually in Helsinki, and a young literary project titled “Sidelight – is this Finnish literature?” Based on these two case studies, associations between the concepts of bordering, liminality and translation are developed to enable a deeper understanding of the encounters between immigrant cultures and their host societies.

Nyman, Jopi. "British Imaginings of a European Periphery: Roger Scruton, Michael Palin and Michael Booth in/on Finland". Journal of Postcolonial Writing 51.2 (2015): 144-57.

This article examines the representation of Finland as a European periphery in three modern British travel narratives: Roger Scruton’s Gentle Regrets: Thoughts from a Life(2005), Michael Palin’s Pole to Pole (1992) and Michael Booth’s Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth about the Nordic Miracle (2014). In these texts the narrators travel to a European periphery between the east and the west, populated by a peculiar nation that the authors associate with excessive drinking, and meet some of the area’s silent inhabitants. Based on postcolonial theory and studies of cultural stereotypes, the article suggests that the texts reveal a transforming discourse of European peripheries in British writing. While Scruton applies stereotypes negatively, Palin’s narrative points to ways in which they can be undercut to initiate a cross-cultural dialogue. Similarly, Booth aims at uncovering the various images and stereotypes of the nation in order to educate his British audience.

---. "Culinary Border Crossings in Autobiographical Writing: The British Asian Case”. Routledge International Handbook on Narrative and Life History. Eds. Ivor Goodson, Ari Antikainen, Pat Sikes, and Molly Andrews. London: Routledge, 2017. 190-201.

---. "Borders and Transitive Identities in Jamal Mahjoub’s 'Last Thoughts on the Medusa'". Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Bordermaking. Eds. Chiara Brambilla, Jussi Laine, James Scott, and Gianluca Bocchi. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015. 229-236.

"Jopi Nyman reads Last Thoughts on the Medusa, a short story telling of African migrants on their way to Europe by the black British/European writer Jamal Mahjoub, in the context of recent theorisations of the border that emphasise the transformation of identity as an experience generated by the crossing. Nyman suggests that for Mahjoub’s story border-crossings are not mere characteristics of contemporary globalisation but they are grounded historically and culturally, thereby relocating the border and transforming European nation states into borderscapes where racial and national difference reconstructs their allegedly pure identities through the transnational identity of the new migrant."

---. "Borders, Borderscapes, and Border-Crossing Romances in Contemporary Migrant Writing in Finland by TaoLin and Arvi Perttu". Journal of Borderlands Studies (2017): 1-16 [published online].

This essay examines the crossing of national and cultural borders in contemporary fictional narratives by first-generation immigrants in Finland. While immigrant writing has a long-standing status in countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany, the situation is different in Finland where mass immigration is historically more recent. Yet recent years have seen the publication of several novels, autobiographies, and anthologies by migrants with focus on border crossings and adaptation to a new life. This essay examines two recent novels written in Finnish by immigrants to Finland. Through an analysis of TaoLin’s Suomen taivaan alla [Under the Finnish Sky] (2008. Turku: Enostone), the first novel by its Chinese author, and Skumbria by the established migrant novelist Arvi Perttu (2011. Helsinki: Like) with roots in Russian Karelia, I will discuss the role that borders and borderscapes play in these two novels telling of cross-border romances between Finns and non-Finnish migrants. By paying particular attention to their use of the interethnic romance plot as a narrative convention characteristic of immigrant fiction, and its role in constructing and negotiating new Finnish identities, the essay will address the border crossings of the texts and place them in the context of nation and the conventional privileging of Finnishness. I will suggest that the two texts provide markedly different perspectives on the issue, TaoLin’s novel as a pedagogical and Perttu’s a performative narrative of nation. The paper shows how cultural encounters lead to the formation of new borderscapes as signs of emergent migrant identities that reflect on Finnishness and its transformation.

Pötzsch, Holger. “Art Across Borders: Dislocating Artistic and Curatorial Practices in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region”. Journal of Borderlands Studies 30.1 (2015): 111-125.

The present article investigates the role of artworks in processes of bordering in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. Drawing upon a neo-formalist framework, it firstly analyzes works that were exhibited during the X-Border Art Biennial to identify disruptive potentials vested in the artistic pieces’ formal properties, before it, secondly, addresses potential performance effects of these works and of the curatorial decision to distribute exhibition space across three cities in Sweden, Finland, and Russia. I argue for an ambivalent role of artistic and curatorial practices that have the inherent potential to articulate opposition and de-familiarize established frames for perception and cognition, and at the same time inhere the capacity to reinforce regimes of exclusion and facilitate processes of commodification and capitalization.

Schimanski, Johan. "Changing Borders in Published Migration Narratives in Norwegian". EUBORDERSCAPES Working Paper 12 (2016).

This working paper gives some of the interpretations and working hypotheses reached at this stage of my contribution to research within the EUBORDERSCAPES project Working Package 10, Research Task 3: ”Cultural Borders of Europe ‘Bordering’ and ‘Re-bordering’ Europe through Fictional Narratives: The Case of Immigrant ‘Others’”. The paper examines migration literature written and published in Norwegian by the children of migrants or migrants born elsewhere but growing up partly in Norway, for rhetorical and narrative figurations of borders and border-crossings which can provide keys to changing conceptions of borders and to the values these are ascribed. The paper argues for the close connection between border concepts in the corpus and the status of the books as performative acts crossing from private experience to public discourse. This process is often explicitly addressed in the texts themselves and is part of an extended borderscape. I intend later to address further texts, the negotiation of border concepts in the reception of texts, the social context and research literature on migration in Norway, and research literature on migration literature in general.

Wolfe, Stephen F. "A Happy English Colonial Family in 1950s London? Immigration, Containment and Transgression in The Lonely Londoners". Culture, Theory and Critique 57.1 (2016): 121-136.

The essay uses The Lonely Londoners by Samuel Selvon to investigate the experience of migration from the Caribbean to London in the 1950s. The argument centres on the hegemonic ideology of the ‘English Colonial Family’, both as a Commonwealth of Nations and as a domestic national family. Three forms of disorientation from this family are examined: disorientation based on racial prejudice, disorientation based upon the migrants’ outsider position within the colonial policing structures of the State and the media, and the disorientation of the characters’ excursions throughout London. The final section of the essay examines the migrant community's response as they negotiate places within London and within new forms of creative action.


Articles and book chapters (other)

Amilhat Szary, Anne Laure. Contribution to EUBORDERSCAPES State of the Debate Report I, ed. Vladimir Kolossov, 2012.

---. "Latin American Borders on the Lookout: Recreating Borders through Art in the Mercosul". Placing the Border in Everyday Life. Eds. Reece Jones and Cory Johnson. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014. 346-78.

This text offers a focus on the ways contemporary local artists and art promoters have put borders at the core of their endeavors over the last decade. I suggest that this outburst of creativity could be seen a precursory sign of a switch in regional border narratives. Creative actors cannot be considered to be representative of their fellow citizens, but they have the power to express their representations in a way that possesses a strong power of conveyance. I have chosen to focus on the emergence of border concerns and art projects at the heart of the continent, analyzing how the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil, has contributed to this process. A first section dedicated to contextualizing the status of borders in Latin American spatial imaginaries.  It is followed by an examination of the recent emergence of borders within the Biennial do Mercosur exhibitions. The final section analyzes Marina Camargo’s work, a young Brazilian artist who displayed an installation entitled  “Tratado de Limites” (Borders Treaty)

---. "Boundaries and Borders". The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Political Geography. Eds. John Agnew, Virginie Mamadouh, Anna J. Secor and Joane Sharpe. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. 11-25

Symbolic artifacts that help to understand and define spatial discontinuities, boundaries, and borders are essential to our territorial alphabet. The chapter first recalls the historical construction of a bounded form of thinking (spatially) within the Western world, according to a model that was disseminated worldwide through colonization. The focus that globalization provides on flows and networks profoundly questions the nature of boundaries and borders, making them appear more and more topological. In this context, where de/rebordering processes cannot be considered symmetric to de/reterritorialization processes, contemporary borders have to be grasped through their portativity, considering a change of focus toward the individual and his/her personalization of a mobile device. The chapter ends by sketching the premises of an ontology of the mobile border, allowing time and instability to be instilled in a renewed analysis of spatial limits.

Amilhat Szary, Anne-Laure, and dell’Agnese, Elena. "Borderscapes: From Border Landscapes to Border Aesthetics". Geopolitics 20.1 (2015): 4-13.

Amilhat Szary, Anne-Laure, Cédric Parizot, Gabriel Popescu, Isabelle Arvers, Thomas Cantens, Jean Cristofol, Nicola Mai, Joana Moll, and Antoine Vion. "The antiAtlas of Borders, A Manifesto". Journal of Borderlands Studies 29.4 (2014): 503-12.

The antiAtlas of Borders is an experimentation at the crossroads of research, art and practice. It was launched in 2011 at the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies (Aix Marseille University), and has been co-produced by the Higher School of Art (Aix en Provence), PACTE laboratory (University of Grenoble-CNRS), Isabelle Arvers and La compagnie. Since then, it has gathered researchers (social and hard scientists), artists (web artists, tactical geographers, hackers, filmmakers, etc.) and professionals (customs, industry, military, etc.). The encounter of people coming from these different fields of knowledge and practice aims to create a radical shift of perspective in the way we apprehend both 21st century borders and the boundaries separating fields of knowledge, art and practice.

Brambilla, Chiara. “Shifting Italy/Libya Borderscapes at the Interface of EU/Africa Borderland: A ’Genealogical’ Outlook from the Colonial Era to Post-Colonial Scenarios”. ACME - An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 13.2 (2014): 220-45.

By adopting the borderscape as “method”, the paper inquires into the Euro/African border nexus by assuming a multi-sited approach, able to combine not only different places where borderscapes could be observed – both in borderlands and wherever specific borderscaping processes have impacts, are negotiated or displaced – but also different socio-cultural, political, economic, and historical settings. From this viewpoint, the paper proposes a shift from exclusively national borders between EU member states and African countries to the multiplying material as well as epistemological borderlands at the interface of their dis-location and re-location, which are producing new forms of borderland in Africa originated by the externalization of European borders. The article sheds light on EU/Africa borderlands, by diving into the Italy/Libya relational geographies from colonial times to their post-colonial configurations. The Italian/Libyan cooperation in border and migration management is relevant indeed to highlight the ambiguous nature of Euro/African bordering practices across the Mediterranean. Italy/Libya borderscapes are investigated by referring respectively to: Libyan oasis-scapes (Murzuq and Kufra oases) and the genealogy of the border variations between Europe and Africa; the externalization of European borders and camp-scapes in Libya; Italy/Libya business-scapes and the double mission of Euro/African borderland between politics and economic control.

Brambilla, Chiara. "Frontiere e Confini". Antropologia e Migrazioni. Ed. Bruno Riccio. Roma: CISU, 2014. 45-57.

---. "Exploring the Critical Potential of the Borderscapes Concept". Geopolitics 20.1 (2015): 14-34.

The conceptual evolution of borders has been characterised by important changes in the last twenty years. After the processual shift of the 1990s (from border to bordering), in recent years there has been increasing concern about the need to critically question the current state of the debate on the concept of borders. Within this framework, this article explores the critical potential of the borderscapes concept for the development of alternative approaches to borders along three main axes of reflection that, though interrelated, can be analytically distinguished as: epistemological, ontological and methodological. Such approaches show the significant potential of borderscapes for future advances of critical border studies in the era of globalisation and transnational flows, thereby contributing to the liberation of (geo)political imagination from the burden of the ‘territorialist imperative’ and to the understanding of new forms of belonging and becoming that are worth being investigated.

---. "Dal confine come metodo del capitale al paesaggio di confine come metodo per un’opposizione geografica al capitalismo / From Border as Method of Capital to Borderscape as Method for a Geographical Opposition to Capitalism". Bollettino della Società geografica italiana 13.8 (2015): 393-402.

This article proposes a conceptual shift from political borders – essentially State borders in Modern times – as a structuring element of the unevenly developed landscape of the geography of capitalism, or, as a method of capital to «borderscapes» as a method for a geographical opposition to capitalism. Specifically, the article discusses the potential of a critical rethinking of the concepts of «border» and «landscape» by mobilizing the borderscape notion to cope with the contradictions of capitalism and to search for strategies able to face them at both theoretical and practical level. If capitalism has always been a fundamentally geographical project, as a number of scholars have argued, it seems necessary to think of a geographical alternative to it. Such an alternative cannot help but question some themes in the heart of geographical knowledge – in this article the themes of borders and landscape – inspiring a new (geo)political imagination for practicing a geographical opposition to capitalism.

---. "Borderscaping: Politica | Estetica | Trans-territorialità. Nuove agency geografico-politiche nel Mediterraneo 'oltre la linea'". Semestrale di Ricerche e Studi di Geografia (forthcoming 2016).

Brambilla Chiara, Jussi Laine, James Scott and Gianluca Bocchi. “Introduction: Thinking, mapping, acting and living borders under contemporary globalization”. Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Bordermaking. Eds. Chiara Brambilla, Jussi Laine, James Scott, and Gianluca Bocchi. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015. 1-9.

Brambilla, Chiara, and Holger Pötzsch. “In/visibility”. Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections. Eds. Stephen F. Wolfe and Johan Schimanski. New York: Berghahn, 2017. 

Ferrer-Gallardo, Xavier, and Abel Albet-Mas. “EU-Limboscapes: Ceuta and the proliferation of migrant detention spaces across the European Union”. European Urban and Regional Studies (published on-line before print 2013).  

This Euro-commentary puts the lens on the European Union (EU) North-African city of Ceuta. In so doing, it introduces the notion of EU limboscapes. In the 1990s and early 2000s the iconic twin-metal fencing of Ceuta’s borders added powerful visual strength to the metaphorical Fortress Europe. Today, Ceuta is still (or even more) central when it comes to the conceptual understanding of the socio-spatial articulation of the EU project vis-à-vis migration management. In this respect, we suggest that the limboscape profile drawn by Ceuta’s spatial dynamics is now iconic in terms of current EU b/ordering practices. The notion of limboscape helps us conceptually grasp/map the expanding archipelago of migrant confinement spaces scattered within and beyond EU space.

---. "Morocco-Spain: Ceuta and Melilla". Border Disputes: A Global Encyclopedia. Ed. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2015. 366-74.

Ferrer-Gallardo, Xavier and Henk van Houtum. “Europe without an Endpoint. Period”. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 104.2 (2013): 243–249.

This contribution focuses on the borderscape of a flat area situated at the southernmost tip of Gibraltar, at the edge of the European Continent, which is illustratively and interestingly named Europa Point. We will argue that, as an evoking geographical belvedere of cultural and continental interrelationships, Europa Point directs attention to the inherent sociospatial ambiguities of EUrope. Embodying a crucial topo within the European sociospatial b/ordering process, this borderscape stimulates to observe Europe's limits through a non-binary lens. The text aims at providing an unfrozen alternative visualisation of the symbolic and territorial margins of the EU. Echoing De Rougemont's conceptualisation of Europe's existence through its search for the infinite, it depicts Europa Point as a springboard and platform to the perpetual commencement of the European adventure.

---. “The deadly EU Border Control”. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 13.2 (2014): 295-304.

Ferrer-Gallardo, Xavier, and Olivier Thomas Kramsch. "Revisiting Al-Idrissi: The EU and the (Euro)Mediterranean Archipelago Frontier". Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 107.2 (2016): 162-76.

This contribution has three overarching objectives. First, it seeks to describe the logics of fracture and cohesion governing current geopolitical dynamics in the Mediterranean. Second, in the face of these contradictory tendencies, it proposes the notion of archipelago-frontier as a concept for deepening our understanding of an ever more dispersed and ubiquitous geography defining the Southern border of the EU. In this light we draw on the contemporary resonances of the destabilising cartographic imagination of Al-Idrissi (1100-1165). And we argue that, read today, it helps us rethink the current symbolic, terminological (and hence geopolitical) abduction of the Mediterranean by the European Union, which the very term ‘Euromediterranean’ encapsulates. Finally, the paper underlines the necessity of forging new vistas on the Mediterranean engendering perspectives that are more dialogical, plurivocal and sensitive to permanent transformation, as evoked by a long-term spatial as well as political horizon of struggle.

Meier, Daniel. "La région frontalière du Sud-Liban et les réfugiés palestiniens: Entre résistance et contournements". L’Espace politique 27.3 (2015).

The Palestinian question in Lebanon is usually studied through their political or economical conditions, mainly referring to their life in camps. This approach sometimes minimizes the importance of the 60-year old length common history of the Palestinian refugees with Lebanon and more particularly their relationship with this state’s geography. This article intends to make the link between those refugees and south Lebanon’s borderland. This border region opens a window on a long, painful and sometimes violent relationship with the land Palestine and with Israel as well as it raises questions about the possibilities of crossing between the two countries. Following two empirical axis with the armed resistance of the Palestinian resistance in the early seventies and the civilian resistance that intends to follow up relationships with relatives in Palestine, this paper would like to consider the region as a borderland and therefore explore the pertinence of using the concept of networked border to describe the type of issue faced by the Palestinians of Lebanon when reaching their relatives of Palestine. We will see that this civil and military aspect of the relationship with the border describes quite well the Palestinian refugees’ relationship with the borderland and its transformation in time. It also highlights the persistence of the marginalization of the Palestinian refugees through the issue of mobility as they try to cross or bypass the South Lebanese border and confronted with a networked or stratified system of borders.

Mekdjian, Sarah. "Les apports du cinéma à une (géo)graphie des frontières mobiles et des migrations frontalières". Annales de Géographie 695-696 (2014): 784-804.

Borders cannot be reduced to more or less continuous lines, in a surface-based, timeless vision of space. Border regions attract dense networks of migrations. Documenting and mapping the mobility of the border and within the border region is an ongoing challenge in geography. As an art of “movement-image”, according to Deleuze’s theory, could cinema help produce a mobile geography and cartography of borders? This paper explores the cartographic dimensions of cinema and its potential to suggest new maps of cross-border migrations. Frames, shots and montage, as creations of innovative time/space configurations, will be analyzed in two films showing the US/Mexico border: Sin Nombre, written and directed by Cary Fukunaga in 2009 and No Country For Old Men, written and directed by Joe and Ethan Coen in 2007, after Cormac McCarthy’s eponymous novel.

---. "Mobilités: Les «réfugiés» dans le monde, Enjeux géographiques et politiques". Images économiques du Monde 2016: 2016: Le monde sous tension(s). Eds. François Bost, Laurent Carroué, Sébastien Colin, Christian Girault, Anne-Lise Humain-Lamoure, Olivier Sanmartin and David Teurtrie. Paris: Armand Colin, 2015. 43-46.

Mekdjian, Sarah, and E. Olmedo. "Médiatiser les récits de vie. Expérimentations de cartographies narratives et sensibles". Mappemonde (forthcoming 2016).

Nous proposons dans cet article d’exposer deux expérimentations méthodologiques, qui ont émergé d’un questionnement critique sur les méthodes narratives classiques en sciences sociales, principalement le récit de vie. Les limites méthodologiques et éthiques des récits de vie se sont posées dans le cadre de nos recherches menées, d’une part, auprès de femmes marocaines d’un quartier populaire de Marrakech, en situation d’analphabétisme, et, d’autre part, de femmes et d’hommes réfugié.e.s, vivant à Grenoble en France, soumis à des épreuves répétées de « crédibilité narrative » (Kobelinsky, 2007). Le face-à-face de l’entretien, le jeu des questions/réponses et les retranscriptions écrites des réponses orales, propres aux méthodes du récit de vie, nous semblaient générer et reconduire d’importantes formes de violence symbolique. Comment dénaturaliser les rapports que nous entretenons avec nos pratiques de recherche et quelles pratiques alternatives inventer pour entrer en relation différemment avec les participant-e-s de nos projets?

Newman, David. "Revisiting Good Fences and Neighbours in a Postmodern World after Twenty Years: Theoretical Reflections on the State of Contemporary Border Studies". Nordia Geographical Publications Yearbook 44.4 (2015): 13-19.

It is almost twenty years since Paasi and Newman published a framework paper for understanding borders in an era of globalization in Progress in Human Geography, entitled Fences and Neighbours in a Postmodern World. In the interim period, border studies have undergone a major renaissance and expansion, drawing in scholars from across the disciplinary borders. Much of the research has focused on case study material relating to the border crossing experience as borders have become more porous and easier to transverse. Theoretical questions have been limited in their nature, with a focus on the dynamics of the bordering process, as contrasted with the border and its demarcation per se. The globalization narrative which focuses on the process through which borders are opened, and in some cases may be totally removed, is now paralleled by the post 9/11 securitization discourse which focuses on the reclosing and resealing of borders, even though the actual border dynamics may be taking place in different border spaces than the physical border itself. The next generation of border scholars need to posit a new set of challenges and questions which will help bridge the scholarly and practitioner understandings of border dynamics and change.

Pötzsch, Holger. “Seeing and Thinking Borders”. Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Bordermaking. Eds. Chiara Brambilla, Jussi Laine, James Scott, and Gianluca Bocchi. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015. 217-227.

"Holger Pötzsch critically assesses different meanings of seeing and thinking borders, regarding contemporary borders as not only technologically afforded, but also engrained in complex socio-cultural mindscapes that predispose the practices and subjectivities upholding and/or subverting regimes of in/ exclusion. Combining formal analysis of cultural expressions with discourse theory, cognitive sociology and cultural psychology, as well as frameworks adopting a media-materialist and techno-critical perspective, Pötzsch elaborates a relevant understanding of how contemporary borders operate and how they inform perception, cognition and ultimately practices."

---. "The Emergence of iBorder: Bordering Bodies, Networks, and Machines". Environment & Planning D: Society & Space, 33.1 (2015), 101-118.

This paper scrutinizes the interrelation between technology and processes of bordering. In particular, it addresses the ways through which biometrics, dataveillance, predictive analytics, and robotics enlist the human body, networks, and human–machine assemblages in practices of inclusion and exclusion at the contemporary dislocated and ‘smart’ border. Through a description of the sociotechnical apparatuses underlying biometric, algorithmic, and automated border work, the paper develops the term iBorder, and connects its specific affordances to an emergent late-modern regime of security. With reference to the notion of cultural technique, the paper argues that contemporary technologically facilitated practices of bordering coconstitute, rather than merely process, contingent subjectivities and frames for practice.

Schimanski, Johan. "Border Aesthetics and Cultural Distancing in the Norwegian-Russian Borderscape". Geopolitics 20.1 (2015): 35-55.

The borderscape is a flexible entity that goes beyond the space of the border and the borderland. This article argues that art and literature can be constitutive elements in the borderscape, along with other kinds of bordering and demarcation. Art and literature can help create resistance through performative acts of “borderscaping”, taking place in different locations and involving different perspectives. The article uses the aesthetic categories of the sublime, the postmodern, and the defamiliarised to trace forms of “distance” or “distancing” as they appear in conceptualisations of the borderscape. Artistic practices in the Norwegian-Russian borderscape are examined in an evaluation of their geopolitical significance, with particular attention given to descriptions of the Norwegian-Russian border in novels by John Fowles and Kjartan Fløgstad.

---. "Reading Borders and Reading as Crossing Borders". Borders and the Changing Boundaries of Knowledge. Eds. Inga Brandell, Marie Carlson and Önver A. Çetrez. Stockholm: Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, 2015. 91-107.

Borders are traces, that is to say, they are a form of writing – and thus they are also texts to be read. We often think of that which is on the other side of the border as something unknown, and the border itself also in some sense unknowable, inviting interpretation. I will here be examining some literary and cinematic narratives in which national borders are crossed for elements of an epistemology of the border. Such narratives often transform crossings into readings, suggesting that these crossings are allegories of the reading of the narrative itself – the reader crossing over into the text. If border crossings are movements of bodies in space, what do these narratives tell us of the relationship between the reader’s body and the space of the text? What can these narratives tell us about the figurality of community and identity? Can national affiliation be seen as an act of reading borders? I suggest that narratives of border crossing, like border crossings themselves, are structured around a double vector, sometimes transformed into a swirling confusion of directions, constituting the border zone and its associated identities.

---. "Seeing Disorientation: China Miéville’s The City & the City". Culture, Theory and Critique 57.1 (2016): 106-120.

Orientations revealed as false presumably lead to the need for reorientation. Outside this economy, can there be utopian unorientation or ambiguous post-orientation? The self comes into being in a moment of disorientation, as Althusser's famous scene of being hailed by a policeman on the street makes clear. Althusser represses this moment, but what if we allow for its accompanying self-reflexivity? The fictional cities of China Miéville's The City & the City (2009) are set in a fragmented and multi-layered space characterised by displacement and disorientation. This theoretically informed police procedural emphasises disorientation through the form of the detective story and plays with genre orientations through its fantastic/science fictional elements. Most strikingly, it reifies our everyday practices of ignoring certain things around us, using a science fictional novum: the institutionalised practice of ‘unseeing’. The novel suggests that the seeing that paradoxically lurks behind unseeing creates disorientation, giving momentary glimpses of ambiguous post-orientations.

---. “Xéniteia/Utlendighet”. Hvordan leve sammen. Eds. Christian Refsum, Johan Schimanski and Knut Stene-Johanssen. Oslo: Spartacus (forthcoming 2016).

Schimansk, Johan, and Reinhold Görling. “Sovereignty”. Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections. Eds. Stephen F. Wolfe and Johan Schimanski. New York: Berghahn, 2017.

Schimanski, Johan, and Stephen F. Wolfe. “Conclusion and Glossary”. Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections. Eds. Stephen F. Wolfe and Johan Schimanski. New York: Berghahn, 2017.

Schimanski, Johan, and Stephen F. Wolfe. "The Aesthetics of Borders". Assigning Cultural Values. Ed. Kjerstin Aukrust. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2013. 235-50.

Wolfe, Stephen. "Border Aesthetics/Border Works". Nordlit 31 (2014): 1-5.

Wolfe, Stephen F. and Henk van Houtum. “Waiting”. Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections. Eds. Stephen F. Wolfe and Johan Schimanski. New York: Berghahn, 2017.

Wolfe, Stephen F. and Mireille Rosello. “Introduction”. Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections. Eds. Stephen F. Wolfe and Johan Schimanski. New York: Berghahn, 2017.



Amilhat Szary, Anne-Laure, Qu’est ce qu’une frontière aujourd’hui?Paris, PUF (2015). (English translation forthcoming.)

Les frontières représentent aujourd’hui un enjeu complexe dans la vie des personnes. Elles relient et divisent, elles se font mobiles, s’individualisent aussi, laissant circuler librement certains et retenant d’autres. Qu’elles s’ouvrent ou se ferment, elles font l’objet de politiques publiques spécifiques et constituent un levier privilégié du capitalisme marchand. Elles sont le lieu d’exacerbation des processus politiques, sociaux, économiques actuels, un laboratoire de notre époque.
Pour l’heure, les frontières internationales restent les supports d’une citoyenneté qui elle-même fonde la démocratie… Mais la façon dont nos limites vacillent met en évidence le devenir incertain de nos systèmes politiques. Comprendre ce qu’est une frontière aujourd’hui, c’est ainsi interroger l’avenir de nos sociétés et reformuler notre relation au monde.

Meier, Daniel. Shaping Lebanon’s Borderlands: Armed Resistance and International Intervention in South Lebanon. London: I. B. Tauris, forthcoming 2016.

Regional struggles, wars and local confrontations have marked the south of Lebanon since the end of the 1960s. They have transformed this marginalized and rural region into a battlefield and redefined the relationships between international, regional and local actors. The most recent of these actors the Palestinian refugees and their armed resistance, the Islamic Shi i movement Hizbullah, and the UN local mission (UNIFIL) have marked and shaped the place, and in turn operating in this borderland has affected their identities. Based on Daniel Meier s extensive fieldwork in the region, this book offers interviews with militants, his own observations of this conflict-ridden and dangerous region as well as incisive political analysis concerning the armed militias operating in the area. It is through this in-depth examination of the southern borderlands of Lebanon that Meier sheds new light on some of the major Middle Eastern confrontations of the last half a century.


Edited books and special issues

Amilhat Szary, Anne-Laure. Geopolitics 20.1: The Aesthetics of Border Demarcation (2015).

Amilhat Szary, Anne-Laure, and Frédéric Giraut. Borderities: The Politics of Contemporary Mobile Borders. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

The authors look at transformations affecting border spaces, by using the concept of the 'mobile border' to examine the growing dissociation between border functions and border locations. The book bears witness to the claim that de/rebordering and de/reterritorialization processes are not equivalent. It questions them through the analysis of 'borderities,' a concept built upon a close reading of the writings of Michel Foucault and derived from 'governmentality.' 'Borderity,' any technology of spatial or socio-spatial division, could be defined as the governmentality of territorial limits. Although initially defined as a technology of power, borderity may also appear as a differentiated social and political quality. The contributors examine the production of mobile borders (section 1: technologies), their incarnation (section 2: biopolitics) and their complex interpretation (section 3: 'dispositifs'). By looking at how political subjects can be disabled and enabled, the proposed 'borderities' approach illuminates the question of how borders can be the site of both power and counter-power.

Brambilla, Chiara, Jussi Laine, James W. Scott, and Gianluca Bocchi, eds. Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Border Making. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015.

Using the borderscapes concept, this book offers an approach to border studies that expresses the multilevel complexity of borders, from the geopolitical to social practice and cultural production at and across the border. Accordingly, it encourages a productive understanding of the processual, de-territorialized and dispersed nature of borders and their ensuring regimes in the era of globalization and transnational flows as well as showcasing border research as an interdisciplinary field with its own academic standing. Contemporary bordering processes and practices are examined through the borderscapes lens to uncover important connections between borders as a ‘challenge' to national (and EU) policies and borders as potential elements of political innovation through conceptual (re-)framings of social, political, economic and cultural spaces. The authors offer a nuanced and critical re-reading and understanding of the border not as an entity to be taken for granted, but as a place of investigation and as a resource in terms of the construction of novel (geo)political imaginations, social and spatial imaginaries and cultural images. In so doing, they suggest that rethinking borders means deconstructing the interweaving between political practices of inclusion-exclusion and the images created to support and communicate them on the cultural level by Western territorialist modernity. The result is a book that proposes a wandering through a constellation of bordering policies, discourses, practices and images to open new possibilities for thinking, mapping, acting and living borders under contemporary globalization.

Wolfe, Stephen, ed. Nordlit 31: Border Aesthetics (2014). 

Wolfe, Stephen F., and Johan Schimanski (eds.). Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections. New York: Berghahn, 2017.


EUBORDERSCAPES (290775) is Funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7-SSH-2011-1), Area 4.2.1 The evolving concept of borders.

UiT The Arctic University of Norway contributes to the EUBORDERSCAPES through Border Poetics / Border Culture research group.

Border Culture blog