Borders and Borderlands: Contested Spaces Between States

15th Berlin Roundtables on Transnationality, March 28 – 31, 2012, WZB

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a new era seemed to have opened up: a world without borders and thus – potentially – a world with less conflict and more freedom. Today, more than 20 years later, we can observe that some border systems have softened while others have been consolidated, and many more border-based regulations have been created on national and supra-national levels. The nation-state has not disappeared and neither have its borders. However, borders and borderlands cannot be reduced to spaces of division and conflict but they also exist as spaces of social, ethnic, cultural and economic blending – territories of their own. In the tradition of previous Berlin Roundtables held on urban development, transnational risks, human rights, and cultural diversity the 15th Berlin Roundtables on Transnationality focused on borders and borderlands as contested spaces.

For further details please see the background paper.

Conference Format
Based on an international essay competition, 48 applicants were invited to discuss their research, concerns and agendas with peers and prominent scholars in Berlin.

Discussions took place in three workshops:
Workshop 1 "Mapping Borders and Border Security",
Workshop 2 "Infringing the Border", and
Workshop 3 "The Social Life of Borders".

The conference was accompanied by public evening lectures:

Prof. Dr. Jens Reich, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin-Buch "Contesting the Borders: Intellectual Life and the Struggle for Democracy in a Divided and Reunited City and Country"
Prof. Eric Tagliacozzo
, Cornell University
"Jagged Landscapes: Conceptualizing Borders and Boundaries in Human History"
Prof. Dr. Christian Tomuschat
, Humboldt University
"Nuclear Power Plants at International Borders: The Need for International Environmental Impact Assessment"

For further information please click here.

Irmgard Coninx Research Grant
After the conference, a jury awarded five three-month fellowships among the workshop participants to be used for research and academic networking in Berlin at the WZB. For more information on the grant winners, please click here.