Banner Viadrina

Panel Imagining and Contesting Future Borders

Panel Conveners:

Dominik Gerst
Faculty of Humanities
Institute for Communication Science
University Duisburg-Essen

Hannes Krämer
Faculty of Humanities
Institute for Communication Science
University of Duisburg-Essen

The Call

The future plays an increasingly important role in the self-image of contemporary societies. Since the beginning of the 21st century, multiple experiences of crisis have contributed to an increased degree of foresight. The awareness of the finite nature of society in the face of the climate crisis is only the most visible example of society's gradual orientation toward what is to come. Research in the social and cultural sciences has shown that this orientation towards the future can be seen in many forms, with a view to a wide variety of social fields. Against this backdrop, the panel will explore the question of whether and how society's forward-lookingness is also evident at its borders. The leading question of the conference, “how societal orders in the 21st century are changing through new forms of border and boundary drawing and how the borders of the 21st century are shaped”, will therefore be supplemented by a decided reference to the future. The panel follows the idea that the imagination of tomorrow also shapes the today. In this way, a research gap in contemporary multidisciplinary border research is addressed. Whereas interest has so far focused on a retrospective description of border change, the panel follows the idea of viewing border change as a prospective process.

Possible questions that could be addressed and interrelated during the panel include:

  • What imaginings of future borders do contemporary societies produce; what are they reacting to?
  • How are inscriptions of the future expressed in everyday borderwork?
  • Which visions of what is to come are decidedly negotiated at the borders?
  • What is the connection between diagnoses of a "renaissance of the border" and descriptions of social expectations of the future?

Of interest are perspectives from the social and cultural sciences; there is no prior narrowing down to specific future scenarios and/or border constellations.

Please send your abstract (300-400 words) and a short bios of the presenter (affiliation, academic background) to: and 
Deadline for sending abstracts: 10/31/2022