Banner Viadrina

International Workshop "Borders in the European Memories"

05.03.2015 11:00

06.03.2015 16:30

Europa-Universität Viadrina

Borders in the European Memories. A typology of remembered borders in today's Europe
International Workshop

« L’histoire de l’Europe est celle de ses frontières »
Krzysztof Pomian, L'Europe et ses nations, Paris 1990

If the history of Europe is in fact the “history of its borders”, as stated by Pomian, then the studies ofEuropean memories should tackle the topic of spaces and borders more directly than they usually do.Thus, the aim of this international workshop will be to throw light on the different ways bordersappear in European memories. How are experiences of and with borders commemorated orremembered in a general way? Can you identify historical and regional trends?Europe can be indeed described as a continent of “a thousand borders“, a multiplex confinium – freelybased on Robert Traba's essay on East Prussia, Kraina tysiącagranic (The land of the thousandborders), or the long-standing Zagreb basedresearch project Triplex confinium. This is for instancedemonstrated by the fascinating map published by the French geographer Michel Foucher in his bookFragments d’Europe: this map lists (nearly) all historical (state) borders from the Middle Ages up toEurope's present spatial order equally alongside each other. The cumulative effect is impressive; whitespots are rare; the predominant impression is that of a closely-meshed, rugged space which has beenproduced over centuries.After 1989-1991 a new impetus of fractionation of the continent took place that barely could havebeen predicted during the time of the Cold War. The remodelling or complete disappearance ofexistent bordersby the disbanding of political and social orders as well as the drawing of new bordershave brought the durability of old borders to light that finds expression in different material, cultural,social, and habitual forms up to (un)consciously active “phantom borders“ (Béatrice vonHirschhausen). The typological attempt is supposed to form the focus of this conference project: thequestion concerning the relation between the nature and function of borders (system boundary, stateborder, national, religious, ethnic, imperial, military border...) as well as the resulting forms ofmemories (types and times of remembered borders: borders as places of commemoration, sites ofcultural memory, “invisible” borders, “phantom borders”, excluded memories...). Which social agenciesdo keep the subsequent memory of the borders alive? Which political, legal or cultural artefacts thathave been produced by former space orders enable a re-actualization?
As discussions concerning European memories demonstrate, the Europeanization of the scientificapproach always entails the risk of decontextualization. Therefore, the question of the ratio between“borders as places of memory” in the plural and “the border as a European site of memory” in thesingular is supposed to be discussed in detail, based on regional examples. The circulation of images,discourses, thought patterns as well as functions, practices and experiences will be portrayed on aregional and local level, letting the shared/divided memories of Europeans become visible. As LuisaPasserini suggests, there still remains the question in what way they are also “shareable”.The consideration of the global historical dimensions of “European” places of memory appears to beimperative in order to stay up-to-date. The interfaces continental/global are supposed to become thetopic of an exploratory panel, in which the experiences/memories of non-Europeans with Europeanborders and the European dimension of memories at non-European borders will be examined.

Hier können Sie das Programm des Workshops einsehen.