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Keynote Lectures

Élisabeth Vallet 
(BIG, Univ. Québec à Montreal)

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Who Needs a Border Wall? B/Ordering Through Othering in a Post-Pandemic World

Wed, Sep 06, 17:30 - 18:30
Gräfin Dönhoff Building, Lecture Hall 01 (GD HS 01) 
Livestream (Link:

When the Berlin Wall came down at the end of the Cold War, mobility became the new framework for analyzing the world system, with walls embodying the archaism of a bygone world. However, research has shown that border walls are part of the redefinition of territoriality and are consubstantial with globalization: the spaces where walls are erected combine both the modernity of a new norm of international relations and the archaic dimension of a feudal fortification. They produce entropy and accomplish a self-fulfilling prophecy by generating instability for which they become the predicted remedy. As the construction of walls accelerates and their number multiplies, it is clear that they accentuate the process of filtering flows, and that they must be understood in relation to each other, both on the ideological and political level, and on the practical level of flows and mobilities.  Based on a decade-long study of border walls around the world, this talk discusses the global trend of border fortification in terms of its de-structuring effects, as it generates more instability, and its defining effects, as it reshapes a global order. 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Élisabeth Vallet is professor at RMCC-Saint Jean (Royal Military College of Canada at Saint Jean), director of the Center for Geopolitical Studies - Raoul Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, affiliate professor at the Department of Geography at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). She has been the Quebec lead for the Borders in Globalization program and is currently a co-researcher for the Borders in the 21th Century Program (University of Victoria). She has been the recipient of the Richard Morrill Outreach Award from the AAG's Political Geography Specialty Group. She is a regular columnist for the Canadian National Network (Radio-Canada) and for the newspaper Le Devoir. Her current research focuses on borders and globalization, border walls and governance.
Photo: Sylvain Légaré - Chaire Raoul-Dandurand.

Marie Sandberg 
(Univ. Copenhagen)

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From ’Borderless World’ to ’Borders Are Everywhere’. Revisiting the Notion of B/Order after the Practice Turn in Critical Border Studies. 

In recent border studies, the idea of a ‘borderless world’ has been replaced by the ‘borders are everywhere’ hypothesis, based on Balibar’s (2009) notion of ‘Europe as a borderland’ and further developed in the works of Rumford (2008, 2012), among others. Assisted by surveillance technologies, international agencies and biometric border control, borders have relocated from the territorial lines of the nation-state, proliferating into society, and even further into border-crossing bodies. According to this turn to border-as-practice a border is not singular; ‘the border multiple’ is enacted into being through political, economic, legal, as well as everyday life practices (Andersen & Sandberg 2012). This talk calls for continued critical inspections into our future notions of b/orders after the turn to practice. When borders diffuse into societies and bodies, when do we know how and when they matter? Based on ongoing research on the everyday conditions for refugees and volunteers in a regime of deterrence, temporary protection, and return policies after the so-called paradigm shift 2015–2019 in Danish migration policy, I will argue that there is a need for a self-reflexive border vocabulary, in which we can critically assess and resituate the b/orders we study, while maintaining a continuous research attention to the ongoing border struggles around the globe. 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marie Sandberg is Associate Professor, PhD, in European Ethnology and the Director of the Centre for Advanced Migration Studies (AMIS) at the University of Copenhagen. From 2021 she serves as the President for the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF). Marie Sandberg was the joint editor-in-chief of Ethnologia Europaea – Journal of European Ethnology 2013–2020. She has a record of leading and co-leading a range of research projects and networks, and she has worked systematically with integrating teaching and research. In 2012 she published the book “The Border Multiple” (with Dorte J. Andersen & Martin Klatt, Ashgate’s Border Region Series) and she has published several peer-reviewed articles in high-ranked journals such as Journal of European Studies and Identities. She has held Visiting Scholar positions at the University of British Columbia, and at the Nijmegen Center for Borders Research (NCBR) at the Radboud University, and she has been a Senior Fellow at University of Zürich. Marie Sandberg is vividly engaged in discussions within international as well as Nordic fields of migration and border studies covering a research expertise in European borders, civil society initiatives and migration practices. She has conducted ethnographic studies of the ways borders in/of everyday life are continuously negotiated, overcome, and rebuilt in interactions such as volunteer work in support of refugees coming to Europe during the 2015 “refugee crisis”. 
Photo: Marie Sandberg.

Conference Contesting 21st Century B/Orders