Call for Papers – Crossing Borders: Negotiation, Provocation, and Transgression Deadline 7 Feb 2017

Birkbeck Institute for Social Research

in collaboration with

Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities

Call for Papers – Crossing Borders: Negotiation, Provocation, and Transgression

Birkbeck Institute Graduate Conference, Birkbeck, University of London, 5-6th May 2017

Supported by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities and the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research

Call for papers deadline: 7 February 2017

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. What constitutes a border, how are they stabilised, and how can they be crossed, negotiated or transgressed? How are borders enacted, defined and re-defined by surveillance, technology, regulations and resistance? Are borders necessarily the logic of a colonial structure of thought, predicated on capture, division, and domination? How else might difference be thought and engaged? What is the discourse, language, imagery of the border? How are human bodies reciprocally shaped by the social environment? What model of the psyche can help us understand the rich diversity of socio-political mechanisms? How can we cross the border of rationality in order to explore and release the unconscious factors in our sense-making? And, crucially, how can we as academics cross institutional and disciplinary borders? We welcome submissions from all disciplines, and especially encourage contributions from artists and activists.

Suggested topics, but by no means exclusive to:

  • Approaching the Fortress State: Migrants, Asylum Seekers, and Refugees.
  • Borderlands, Hinterlands, No-Man’s Land: Contested Borders.
  • Settlements of the Border: Walls, Camps, Gates, and Occupation.
  • Media Ecologies: Governance, Surveillance, and Hacking in the Anthropocene.
  • Geographies of Data: Drones, Data Centres, and The Digital Commons.
  • Borders and the Case of Psychoanalysis.
  • Psychosocial Methodologies.
  • Climate Change.
  • Transnational and Transcultural Aesthetic Forms.
  • Fictions of Passage.
  • Theorists of Flight, Movement, and Non-Transcendent Crossings.
  • Caste, Class, Gender, Race, Sexual Transgressions.
  • Borders of Time: Revolution, Reaction, Restoration.

Proposals are invited for twenty minute papers and panels of three papers. Abstract (300 words) should be submitted to by 7 February 2017.

Please also include a short bio (no more than 150 words), contact details, and institutional affiliation. Accepted proposals will be notified by 28 February 2017.


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CFP: Crossing borders: The Spanish Civil War and transnational mobilisation- Deadline 30 November 2015


Crossing borders: The Spanish Civil War and transnational mobilisation

Thursday, 30 June – Friday, 1 July 2016

Venue: Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet St, London WC1E 7HX

Marking 80 years since the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, this two-day international conference will explore the origins and experiences of transnational mobilisation during the conflict and the immediate post-war period. It will bring together researchers working on military, medical, humanitarian and cultural aspects of mobilisation both inside and outside Spain.

The Spanish Civil War mobilised large sections of civilian populations, including political and humanitarian organisations. The war gave rise to a wide range of transnational collaborations, in some cases building on existing networks but in others serving as a springboard for new initiatives. Much of the existing historiography has explored the diplomatic dimension of the conflict and international military intervention on both sides. This conference aims to offer new perspectives by focusing on informal networks, border crossings, transmissions of ideas and cultural responses to these forms of mobilisation within Spain.

We invite proposals for papers on any topic relating to military, political, medical, humanitarian or cultural mobilisation during the conflict and the immediate post-war years. Potential themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Different forms and experiences of transnational mobilisation in all areas of Spain.
  • Geographical, ideological and cultural borders and border-crossing, between Spain and its neighbours, across the Spanish peninsular divided by war, and between Spanish regions.
  • Networks, organisations and relationships that facilitated transnational mobilisation, and how they adapted to, or were affected by, the conflict and the consolidation of the Franco regime.
  • Transnational life trajectories affected by the civil war.
  • Spanish responses to transnational mobilisation and encounters with foreign participants.
  • Communication and (mis)understanding in transnational encounters.
  • Transnational mobilisation as a subject in culture and propaganda in Spain during the civil war and the post-war period.
  • Power and unequal power relations in transnational mobilisation.
  • The legacy of transnational mobilisation after the end of the war, including the post-war trajectories of individuals involved, the impact on future conflicts, and its effect on future patterns of migration and exchange.
  • The memory of transnational mobilisation in the post-war era, both inside and outside Spain.

The conference will take place on 30 June and 1 July 2016 at Birkbeck College in London. The deadline for proposals is 30 November 2015. Abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent to, together with a brief biography (50 words). Decisions will be made by 31 December 2015. For more information, see

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