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BIG Talk — What happens when closed borders reopen? Learning from a Central Asian example

with Dr. Nick Megoran (Visiting Fellow, Borders in Globalization) | Victoria, BC & Zoom | March 26, 2024

In Person: CFGS C168 (Sedgewick Building, University of Victoria) or Zoom. The meeting will take place from 12:00pm to 1:30pm PST. Register in advance for this meeting here. Registration is free but required.

Much recent work in border studies has focussed on the violence of border closures. In an age of right-wing populism and xenophobia this is important but reflects western-centric preoccupations. There are other processes taking place in other parts of the world that sometimes get missed. This paper tells one of them, based on over 25 years conducting fieldwork in a village on the Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan boundary. Dissected by new boundaries and borders in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with a change of political leadership since 2016 a gradual reopening of previously-closed crossings has occurred. This has happened without any of the damaging consequences that the politicians who closed the borders in the first place warned of. This seminar presents this story and asks what it says about our understanding of processes in an increasingly-bordered today.

Nick Megoran is a Visiting Fellow working with the Borders in Globalization program and the Centre for Global Studies and Professor of Political Geography at Newcastle University. His work focuses on nationalism and border dynamics in the Danish–German and Uzbek–Kyrgyz borderlands, which he has been researching for three decades. He has authored numerous articles and books on this topic, including Nationalism in Central Asia: A Biography of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Boundary (Pittsburgh 2017).

BIG Talk — What happens when closed borders reopen? Learning from a Central Asian example

#28 & #29 BIG Podcast – Hadrian’s Wall, Frontiers of the Roman Empire and Border Studies (Part One)

featuring archeologist David J. Breeze, British archaeologist and scholar of Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine’s Wall, and the Roman army

The history of the Roman Empire is intertwined with the control of the entire Mediterranean Sea and reached at its peak 5 million km² for 60 million inhabitants. The empire was heterogeneous and expanded through conquests and was maintained through a network of frontiers and a system of friendly, allies or “client” states (reges amicique populi Romani). Due to rebellions from some tribes as the Brigantes, and after having visited the Danube and Rhine frontiers, the Roman Emperor Hadrian (reigned 117–138) came to Britannia in July 122 BC. By ordering the construction of the Wall (between 122 – and maybe before according to certain authors – and 127 AD), Hadrian put an end to the territorial expansion of the Roman Empire. In short, Hadrian adopted a policy of protecting frontiers without expansion.

What functions did the borders of the Roman Empire have? What functions did Hadrian’s Wall have? Can the frontiers of the Roman Empire be considered strict separations between the civilized (Roman) world and the world of the barbarians (“qui barbaros Romanosque Divideret”)? How is archeology an interesting and relevant discipline for Border Studies? We will discuss all this and get answers with archeologist David J. Breeze.

Listen to #28 (Part One): Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

Listen to #29 (Part Two): Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

David J. Breeze is an archaeologist, teacher, and scholar of Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall, and the Roman army. He has been Chair of the International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies and President of several archaeological societies in the UK. He was Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland from 1989 to 2005, and subsequently led the team which successfully nominated the Antonine Wall as a World Heritage Site in 2008. David has excavated on both Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall and written several books on these frontiers, on frontiers elsewhere in the Roman Empire and on the Roman army.

#28 & #29 BIG Podcast – Hadrian’s Wall, Frontiers of the Roman Empire and Border Studies (Part One)

#26 and #27 BIG Podcast – “Nation State Model and Creative Solutions for Border Problems”

featuring Nick Megoran, Political Geographer at Newcastle University, England

The Nation-State model is built on the synchronization between a so-called state territory and a so-called national population. The mechanical imposition of this specific model has led to serious conflicts in certain parts of the world (we will discover the ancient situation of Denmark/Germany border and the current one of Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan border). There have been several ways of thinking and representing the construction of this nation-state with its constituent factors, its regime of political sovereignty and territorial boundaries: community of origin, community of language, community of interests and values, cultural homogenization, elective community, common history and territorial patriotism but also imagined community. What are the consequences of this model on the design of the country’s borders? How to organize borderlands while avoiding conflicts with neighbors? With Nick Megoran, this podcast (in 2 parts) is an opportunity to talk about several original practices such as condominiums, joint development zones, territorial leasing, enclaves, the exchange of territory, statutory autonomy, free and customs zones, mobile borders, decoupling of international borders from other functional or administrative limits, juridical and economic cross-border cooperation. So many illustrations that allow us to think differently about sovereignty and state borders. Sovereignty doesn’t have to be Zero-Sum. Borders don’t have to be Walls and Barriers.

Listen to #26 (Part One): Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

Listen to #27 (Part Two): Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

Nick Megoran is a Visiting Fellow working with the Borders in Globalization program and the Centre for Global Studies and Professor of Political Geography at Newcastle University. His work focuses on nationalism and border dynamics in the Danish-German and Uzbek-Kyrgyz borderlands, which he has been researching for three decades. He has authored numerous articles and books on this topic, including Nationalism in Central Asia: A Biography of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Boundary (Pittsburgh 2017).

#26 and #27 BIG Podcast – “Nation State Model and Creative Solutions for Border Problems”

Visiting Fellow

Nick Megoran

Borders in Globalization | Centre for Global Studies

Nick Megoran is a Visiting Fellow working with the Borders in Globalization program and the Centre for Global Studies and Professor of Political Geography at Newcastle University. His work focuses on nationalism and border dynamics in the Danish-German and Uzbek-Kyrgyz borderlands, which he has been researching for three decades. He has authored numerous articles and books on this topic, including Nationalism in Central Asia: A Biography of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Boundary (Pittsburgh 2017).

In 2023, Nick conducted field research funded by BIG Lab on the impacts of border re-openings in recent years along the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan boundary. He is currently preparing this research for publication. Nick is also completing a book manuscript on the ‘open borders’ debate for McGill-Queens University Press, entitled Whatever Happened to Our Borderless World? (Forthcoming, McGill-Queens).

Nick Megoran

Academic Partner – International Research Center for Japanese Studies

Edward Boyle

Ted Boyle is an associate professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) in Kyoto, and the editor of Japan Review. He is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Kyushu University, and a research associate for the Eurasia Unit for Border Research (UBRJ) at the Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University.

Ted has been the Japan representative for the Borders in Globalization project since 2016, serves as an officer for the Japan Chapter of the Association for Borderlands Studies (ABSj), and is the co-ordinator for the collaborative interdisciplinary project ‘Imagining Islands in Japan’. His research focuses on boundaries and borderland spaces in Japan and its neighbourhood, the Asia-Pacific, and Northeast India. More details and publications are available at www.borderthinking.com.

Ongoing projects include research into the role and significance of borders of memory in Asia, the topic of a new Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) grant and books published with Brill and Bloomsbury in 2023.

Edward Boyle

Global Talk: Borders With/In Transnational Culture

featuring BIG Fellow Victor Konrad | Centre for Global Studies, UVic, Canada | April 26, 2023

Registration for virtual attendance is now open!

BIG Fellow Victor Konrad will be presenting an upcoming Global Talk at UVic’s Centre for Global Studies on April 26th at 10:30am – 12:00pm PST. The event is free. More information here.

DETAILS: Border culture is no longer culture at the margins, but rather it is culture at the heart of geopolitics. Culture has not readily negotiated the transnational turn; culture is at once driving and responding to the turn. Culture’s immutability has centred culture in transnationalism, and it has enabled the flexibility and adaptability of culture in transnational processes. There are borders with transnational culture, borders in transnational culture, and borders with/in transnational culture. In this presentation, we address how border culture is embedded in the profusion of border experience in globalization, yet also clarifies the definition and meaning of home. We examine how the “suture” of the border both separates and connects transnational space, and the nature of the landscapes that emerge in this bordered geography. We draw attention to the dispossession, violence, and gendering that occurs in transnational space. Finally, we conclude with a pre-script and post-script to address culture at the post-humanistic border.

Victor Konrad is Adjunct Research Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Recently, Dr. Konrad was visiting professor at Eastern China Normal and Yunnan Normal Universities in Shanghai and Kunming, Radboud University, Netherlands, and Karelian Institute of University of Eastern Finland, and visiting fellow at the Border Policy Research Institute, Western Washington University.

From 1990 to 2001, Dr. Konrad established the Canada-US Fulbright Program and Foundation for Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States. During the 1970s and 1980s, he was a professor of Anthropology and Geography at the University of Maine and Director of the Canadian-American Center. Dr. Konrad is past president of the Association of Borderlands Studies and the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, and recipient of the Donner Medal.

Professor Konrad is author and editor of more than 100 books, articles and book chapters in cultural and behavioural geography, border studies and Canadian studies. Recent books include North American Borders in Comparative Perspective (2020) Borders, Culture, and Globalization: A Canadian Perspective (2021), Border Culture. Theory, Imagination, Geopolitics (2022).

Global Talks are weekly discussions/presentations where we are able to listen to presentations from researchers within CFGS, the university more broadly and also invited guest speakers. These normally take place weekly on Wednesdays from 10:30-noon.

Global Talk: Borders With/In Transnational Culture

#17 BIG Podcast – “Border Film and Border Studies”

featuring Michael Dear – Professor Emeritus of City & Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, California, United States

Borders are legal constructs: conventional lines on maps, landmarks on the ground, zone of cooperation, control and violence. But borders are also an artistic object. Sometimes, it is the border itself which is the support of a work of art. Other times, they appear in works of photography, comics, and in movies. Today we are going to talk about “Border Film” with Michael Dear who has just published a book called « Border Witness, Reimagining The US-Mexico Borderlands Through Film ». It is an opportunity to learn more about the construction of mental, cultural and artistic representations of borders and their complex links with reality.

Michael Dear is Professor Emeritus in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley, and Honorary Professor in the Bartlett School of Planning at University College, London. He is the author/editor of fifteen books, and many scholarly essays. His work has been translated into many languages, and he has lectured in over twenty countries in four continents. He has also written widely for non-academic publications, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic en español, the Huffington Post, and Politico Magazine. Michael has been a Guggenheim Fellowship holder, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a Fulbright Specialist, and Fellow at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy. He has received the highest honors for creativity and excellence in research from several organizations, as well as numerous undergraduate teaching and graduate mentorship awards. In 2014, he was elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales (his country of birth).

Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, and the Podcast App!

#17 BIG Podcast – “Border Film and Border Studies”

Patterns in Border Security: Regional Comparisons

Christian Leuprecht, Todd Hataley, Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly | Routledge | 2022

How do security communities transform into security regimes? This book compares the construction of cross-border security regimes across five regions of the world to illustrate how trust emerges from the day-to-day relations of coordination, cooperation, or collaboration. Patterns in Border Security: Regional Comparisons studies the way borderland communities develop, implement, and align border policy to enhance their sense of security. Borders have been evolving rapidly in direct response to the multifaceted challenges brought on by globalization, which has had a nuanced impact on the way borders are governed and border security is managed. Taking a methodical comparative regional approach, this book identifies and contrasts determinants of nascent, ascendant, and mature border security regimes, which the book documents in seven regional case studies from across the globe. The findings identify conditions that give rise to cross-border and trans-governmental coordination, cooperation, or collaboration. Specifically, pluralistic forms of communication and interactions, sometimes far from the actual borderline, emerge as key determinants of friendly and trustful relations among both contiguous and non-contiguous regions. This is a significant innovation in the study of borders, in particular in the way borders mediate security. For six decades international security studies had posited culture as the bedrock of security communities. By contrast, the book identifies conditions, a method, and a model for adequate and effective cross-border relations, but whose outcome is not contingent on culture.

Editors:

Christian Leuprecht is Class of 1965 Professor in Leadership, Department of Political Science and Economics, Royal Military College of Canada; Director of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, Canada; Adjunct Research Professor, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security, Charles Sturt University, Australia; and Munk Senior Fellow in Security and Defence at the Macdonald Laurier Institute. A former Fulbright Research Chair in Canada-US Relations at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC (2020) and a former Eisenhower Fellow at the NATO Defence College in Rome (2019), he is a recipient of RMC’s Cowan Prize for Excellence in Research and an elected member of the College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada.  He is Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Military Journal.

Todd Hataley is Professor in the School of Justice and Community Development at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada; Adjunct Associate Professor at the Royal Military College of Canada; and a former Fulbright Research Chair in Canada-US Relations at Johns Hopkins University. He is a retired member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. During his tenure as a federal police officer, he conducted investigations into the smuggling of drugs, weapons and humans, money laundering, organized crime, national security, and extra-territorial torture investigations. His research focuses on managing of international boundaries, public safety, Indigenous policing, and transnational crime.

Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly is Professor in the School of Public Administration, Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the Jean Monnet Centre and the Borders in Globalization Laboratory at the University of Victoria, Canada. He is Editor of the Borders in Globalization Review.

Patterns in Border Security: Regional Comparisons

Borders in Flux and Border Temporalities In and Beyond Europe

Belval, Luxembourg | December 15-16, 2022

Find more information on the event and a detailed programme on the C²DH website.

Border studies is an interdisciplinary field of research in which existing scholarship has primarily been spatially oriented. The conference Borders In Flux and Border Temporalities In and Beyond Europe shedded light on research that focuses on the temporality of borders. The conference connected leading researchers as well as established and early-stage researchers to present, share and discuss their research on borders, borderlands, and border regions in and beyond 19th and 20th century Europe.

The conference invited scholars whose research sheds light on the temporal dimension of borders by exploring border practices, border discourses, and analyses of border regimes and life at the border in Europe. The conference included papers that focus on topics that are related to identity, historical memory, minorities, cross-border experiences, cross-border cooperation, and regionalism. The conference also highlighted methodological and conceptual considerations of researching borders in and through time and space.

The conference was organised by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) and the Transfrontier Euro-Institut Network (TEIN) in collaboration with BIG, the UniGr Center for Border Studies and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Keynote Speakers:

Carolin Leutloff-Grandits: “Of being stuck or moving on: border temporalities along the EU’s external border in the Western Balkans.” Leutloff-Grandits, PD Dr. phil., is a social anthropologist and works as a senior researcher at the interdisciplinary Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION at the European University Viadrina. Her research interests include migration, borders, temporality, social security, and family. She is particularly concerned with the countries of the former Yugoslavia and with Germany.

Alena Pfoser: “Remembering as bordering: Using memory studies to understand border temporalities.” Pfoser is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University, UK. Her main areas of expertise include memory in contested settings, heritage and tourism industries, borders and borderlands, and qualitative and arts-based methods. For her doctoral and postdoctoral projects, she conducted research on the Russian-Estonian borderland, exploring the interrelations and tensions between official and vernacular memories in two border towns as well as questions of spatial peripheralisation.

Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly is a Professor of Public Administration, and the director of Borders in Globalization (BiG) and 21st century borders research projects at the University of Victoria, Canada. His research interests are comparative border and migration studies, policy governance as well as policy relevant research. He has published over 100 articles and book sections, and 12 books/sections of academic journals.

Borders in Flux and Border Temporalities In and Beyond Europe