Crossing Borders: Negotiation, Provocation, and Transgression

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Venue: Birkbeck, University of London, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX. Room B01, Clore Management Centre and Room B35 Malet Street Main Building.
Booking details: Free entry; booking required

Crossing Borders: Negotiation, Provocation, and Transgression

Birkbeck Institute Graduate Conference supported by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities and the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research

Free event open to all: Book your place

Across the globe, borders are once again being erected, entrenched, and enlarged in order to contain, as well as to subject to the perpetual surveillance apparatus, people considered threats to the integrity of the national and supra-national state. From Calais to Lesbos, the camp has returned with a vengeance in Europe, supported by dubious claims for security. The spectre of the Jihadist and economic migrant haunts the political imaginary of the ‘advanced’ nations of Western Europe, who now spare no mercy for those displaced by civil war, environmental disaster, or material immiseration. Areas of conflict are increasingly being captured by drones, which, crucial for security, are profoundly redefining the borders between state, civil society, and privacy. Yet the very instantiation of the border speaks to and raises the possibility of its being breached, of forms of traversal, of lines of flight. This could be the contested borderland, a zone of indiscernibility where state violence regulates the movement of capital and labour, as in the case of the Mexico-US border and the region of Kashmir. It could also be the borderless world of ubiquitous data collection, which, paradoxically is recorded and stored in obscurely located and highly centralised data centres. Or, the faltering border between the conscious and the unconscious, whereby libidinal drives perpetually upset any stable sense of the sovereign self. Finally, ‘crossing borders’ poses a temporal question, directed to conceptions of historical change, the unpredictable instant of revolution which in shattering the known retroactively constitutes a border.

This conference is a call to intellectual arms, then, a provocation to think geographical, political, bodily, technological, and environment borders.

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Organisers: Senjuti Chakraborti, Güneş Tavmen, Thomas Travers, Chenyang Wang

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