Viadrina Summer University 2006: Border Cultures

Viadrina Summer University 2006: Border Cultures

Faculty of Cultural Sciences, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder) / Collegium Polonicum, Slubice
IBZ, Center for International Encounter, European University Viadrina
Frankfurt (Oder)/Slubice
From - Until
26.06.2006 - 14.07.2006
Barbara Wolbert

Border Cultures: The Rhetorics and Politics of Drawing and Crossing Borders

June 26 – July 14, 2006

Sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the ZEIT Foundation

This year, Viadrina’s summer school is concerned with an ever burning issue in Frankfurt (Oder) and Slubice: the relationship between culture and border. What do social, political, and economic borders culturally imply? What is the role of culture, when it comes to the constitution of borders? The Viadrina Summer University will center on questions of border drawing and border crossing, of the construction and transgression of borders.

From an anthropological perspective, we will deal with social processes of going beyond borders in ritual, art, and politics and with the dynamics of liminality developing in irreversible processes. From a historical and contemporary point of view, we will look at the construction of European space, the concept of cultural borders between the East and the West and the constitution of alterity; and we will critically inquire about the mental maps which have influenced European thought, politics and culture. Special attention will be paid to the Balkan border conflicts and to the nature of European borders after the last EU extension. We will discuss the borders of the nation state, which define citizens' maneuvering space; and we will investigate national and supranational border regimes, which control access to spaces of opportunity and security. How migrants turn borders into frontiers beyond which new spheres of action emerge will be of interest to us. We will learn about boundaries between social classes and milieus and their interaction with the border regimes – which we observe in the growing xenophobia all over Europe – and we will study the limits which social groups tend to set when their economic, political, or cultural possessions seem to be jeopardized – a circumstance which implies questions of collective identity.

Our cross-border Polish-German campus itself stimulates our discussions: Here, post-war history was a history of displacement and resettlement. Poles had to leave their homes in the Ukraine and in the former Polish East when it became the USSR's West, and were settled in Slubice, while Frankfurt became a point of passage and a place of refuge for ethnic Germans evicted from their homes on the other shore of the Oder and further East. In GDR times, the river Oder was the “Border of Peace” between two socialist states, which in fact was closed with the exception of the ten years from 1970 to 1980. In 1990 the river Oder became the Eastern border of unified Germany and the external border of the European Union. Since 2004, it has been an internal European border, but as a “Schengen-border” it is still strictly controlled. The population on both sides of the river has seen different strategies of border drawing between self and other and has experienced both the dialectics of new opportunities and the development of new mechanisms of exclusion, and irreversible political processes have left their imprints on them.


Our summer program consisting of seminars, workshops, lectures, and film screenings will be supplemented by thematic excursions to Berlin and Poznan, to border patrols at the river Oder, and to the local archives of documents on GDR border crossings by the secret police. Besides workshops on linguistic identities in borderlands and on urban interfaces in (formerly) divided cities such as Belfast and Berlin, the program is to include the following core courses:

---- Eastern Europe as the Other and the Others in Eastern Europe (Prof. Dr. Michal Buchowski (EUV, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan))

---- Borders, Boundaries, Frontiers, Limits: The Migratory Space (Prof. Dr. Werner Schiffauer (EUV))

---- Mental Mapping: Cultural and Political Conceptions of Space in Modern European History (Prof. Dr. Philipp Ther (EUV))

---- Balkan Borders: Identity, Conflict and Intervention in the 1990s (Dr. Alan J. Kuperman, Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs) [to be confirmed]

18 ECTS points or a graduate course credit.
Deadline for applications: 3/30/06.
Scholarship applications accepted.

Contact (announcement)

Barbara Wolbert

Faculty of Cultural Science
European University Viadrina

Phone: +49-(0)335-55342644
Fax: +49-(0)335-55342645