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Transcending Borders – Redrawing Perspectives, May 4-6, 2018, University of Graz

International & Interdisciplinary Student Conference

On May 4-6, 2018, the Center for Inter-American Studies at the University of Graz is hosting a student conference with the aim of gathering students from different disciplines and backgrounds to exchange their research from an interdisciplinary, interregional and transnational perspective. Due to contemporary developments, such as migration and flight movements as well as ensuing political debates that demand stricter border policies and surveillance, the topic of borders has recently (re-)gained political momentum.

We, however, want to transcend these narrow political definitions associated with the term and understand ‘borders’ in a broader sense as encompassing several meanings or layers of meaning. Thus, we encourage participants to develop new associations with and understandings of the term. ‘Borders’ can refer to any dividing line, including national, political, and geographical borders as well as boundaries between ethnic, gender, national, class, or age identities. In order to transcend these borders, possible topics may address, but are not limited to the following questions:

  • Why do borders exist?
  • Why and how are they drawn?
  • How do they manifest themselves?
  • What are their meanings for different societal actors?
  • How are they perceived, portrayed, and represented?
  • Who do they include and exclude?
  • When, how, and why are borders transgressed, dissolved, or transformed?
  • What are consequences of the construction, transgression, or dissolution of borders?
  • Are borders absolute or permeable? Do they draw a clear line or do they feature grey areas?

Additionally, our focus lies on the human actors involved, drawing attention to those who are affected by these processes as well as to those who have initiated them. We invite participants to transcend disciplinary borders, taking into consideration methods and approaches of other disciplines in order to question and re-define assumptions, definitions, and categories of their own discipline and research.

Internationality and interdisciplinarity are competences that are currently in high demand in academia. This conference will, therefore, provide opportunities for students to develop their presentation skills, discuss their research, and to experience an essential aspect of academic work. Academia continues to be an exclusive field, oftentimes discouraging students from participating actively in research, particularly those from a non-academic background. Therefore, this conference aims specifically at providing an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environment for all students, in which they can prosper and evolve.

More information on the conference homepage.
Contact: Marlene Fößl (e-mail), University of Graz, Department of History, Heinrichstraße 26, 8010 Graz, Austria