Crossing Borders – Border Crossings

Summer Term 2018

Jens Adam, Nenad Stefanov

Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium "Border Studies and Critical Migration Research"

Focus: Bordering Europe: border policies, (post-) imperial configurations and the production of temporal disorders/orders along the EU's external borders

Thu 14-18 o'clock (17.5./28.6./12.7.)

Open for interested Master students, PhD students and PostDocs of the HU, in particular of European Ethnology, History, Cultural Studies and Gender Studies


17.5. Bordering Europe: Border policies, (post-) imperial structures and the production of temporal disorders/orders along the EU's external borders I - Institute for Slavonic Studies, Dorotheenstraße 65, Room 5.57

  •     14:15–14:45

Introduction to the semester programme, expectations of the participants, presentation, discussion and complementation of the programme

  •     14:45–15:45

Text discussion Jansen (2014) with focus on the production of temporal structures at the EU's external borders as an effect of Europeanization processes and on "temporal reasoning" as an analytical category of investigation.

  •     16:15–17:45

Lecture with discussion by Maria Brujic (social anthropologist, Belgrade): "Yearnings for the normal lives" after 2000 in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina - comparative anthropological analysis.


27.6. Inaugural lecture Nenad Stefanov - Institute for History, Friedrichstraße 191, room 5008, 5th floor. Start: 16 o'clock.


28.6. Bordering Europe: Border policies, (post-) imperial structures and the production of temporal disorders/orders along the EU's external borders II - Institute for Slavonic Studies, Dorotheenstraße 65, Room 5.57

  •     14:15–15:45

Comparative discussion of current research projects on border regimes and policies in different settings along the EU's external borders (Mediterranean, South Eastern Europe, post-Soviet space), especially with regard to their effects on temporal orders. The following studies are in the focus: Andersson 2014, Cabot 2014, Follis 2012. (If interested, current or planned research projects of participants can be integrated into the programme.)

  •     16:15–17:45

Lecture with discussion by Srđan Radović, (Ethnological Institute Belgrade): Title to be announced soon


12.7. Bordering Europe: border policies, (post-) imperial structures and the production of temporal disorders/orders along the EU's external borders III - space still to be announced

  •     14:15–15:45

Input by Nenad Stefanov and text discussion: The change of meaning of borders in the Balkans: from the Iron Curtain to the EU's external borders

  •     16:15–17:45

Presentation and discussion of current or planned research projects by colloquium participants; more detailed planning will take place in the course of the semester and on the basis of previous discussions.


This semester, the colloquium will focus on texts and research that investigate border areas and regimes along the "EU's immediate outside" (Jansen 2015). By this we first of all understand constellations directly behind the current external borders, in which EU policies and regulations nevertheless evoke manifold power effects and even co-create specific temporal orders.

For example, anthropologist Stef Jansen has analysed Bosnia-Herzegovina as a "geopolitically produced waiting space" in which time seems to be stagnating or erratically advancing. Here, citizens are " immobilized" by discriminatory border regimes and successively lose their ability to live or plan linear biographies. "Future" becomes a fleeting, barely tangible figure; Stagnation, short-term projects and a longing for "normality" determine the individual and collective sense of time in this waiting room.

We want to take such observations and analyses as an opportunity to take a comparative look at different temporal constellations along the southern and eastern external borders of the EU. To this end, we aim to equip ethnographic findings with a historical depth, for example by asking about the presence of past and present "imperial formations" (Stoler, McGranahan & Perdue 2007). For in these border regions, EU policies and bureaucratic procedures encounter the (material, social, economic, imaginary...) remnants and effects of colonial rule, the Ottoman or Habsburg empires, or state socialism.

With this background in mind, we would like to discuss the following questions in particular: What new insights can be gained about the current configuration of the EU as an undoubtedly powerful, possibly imperial formation through such a comparative and interdisciplinary view? Do certain political rationalities, practices and ruptures stand out particularly clearly when settings in the southern Mediterranean, in south-eastern Europe and in the post-Soviet space are brought into an analytical context? Do EU border regimes evoke similar or rather different, plural temporal rationalities or temporal spatial orders? Which forms of a temporal version of borders are productive for an analysis? And which alternative relational geographies of "Europe" emerge when we focus on places and constellations that currently lie directly outside the EU's external border?

The following teaching and discussion formats will be combined in the three four-hour sessions: (i) the collective development of and discussion of current research approaches and questions on the basis of reading two compulsory texts each; (ii) lectures by guest speakers; (iii) the presentation of ongoing doctoral and, if necessary, advanced master's projects, which - also deviating from the subject-matter of the semester - lie in the fields of border studies, migration and Europeanisation research, etc.

Regular participation in the courses, including the preparation of the texts and participation in the discussions, is required. Ideally, Master's students should already have some previous knowledge, e.g. from introductory seminars focusing on "Europe/Europeanisation", "Migration" and/or "Border". Participation in the introductory event on 17 May 2018 is urgently required in order to plan the colloquium.



  • Heath Cabot: On the Doorstep of Europe. Asylum and Citizenship in Greece. Philadelphia 2014
  • Elizabeth Cullen Dunn: No Path Home. Humanitarian Camps and the Grief of Displacement. Ithaca, London 2017.
  • Elizabeth Cullen Dunn & Michael S. Bobick: The empire strikes back: War without war and occupation without occupation in the Russian sphere of influence. In: American Ethnologist 41,3 (2014).
  • Stef Jansen: Yearnings in the Meantime. ‘Normal Lives’ and the State in a Sarajevo Apartment Complex. New York & Oxford 2015.
  • Yael Navaro-Yashin: „Life is Dead Here“: Sensing the Political in No-Man’s Land. In: Anthropological Theory 3,1 (2003)
  • Madeleine Reeves: Border Work: Spatial Lives oft he State in Rural Central Asia. Cornell 2014.
  • Ann Laura Stoler, Carole McGranahan & Peter C. Perdue (eds.) (2007): Imperial Formations. Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press.
  • Ann Laura Stoler: (ed.) (2013): Imperial Debris. On Ruins and Ruination. Durham, London: Duke University Press. Philadelphia 2014.
  • Charles S. Maier, Once Within Borders Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500, Harvard University Press 2016.
  • Wendy Brown, Walled States, Waning Sovereignty, New York: Zone Books 2010
  • Béatrice von Hirschhausen, Michael G. Esch (Hg.), Wahrnehmen - Erfahren - Gestalten. Phantomgrenzen und soziale Raumproduktion, Göttingen 2017