Borderscapes III

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Università degli Studi di Trieste
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici


Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca
Dipartimento di sociologia e ricerca sociale



International Geographical Union



Borderscapes III –Trieste 28-30 June 2012

At the beginning of this new century, together with the disappearance of various end-ist chimeras predicting “the end of history” or “the end of distance”, also the vision of a “borderless world” has faded away.

Indeed, international boundaries now mark the world political map with scars of division that are deeper than ever, while new forms of “political frontier” (Prescott, 1987) have resurfaced around the “rich spaces of the world”, - shaping landscapes of separation and control and re-igniting struggles over territory and sovereignty.

At the global scale, geopolitical buffer zones have been created in order to prevent contact between the places where people would like to go, and the places from which they are escaping (the effect for instance of the bilateral agreements on migration control signed by Libya with the Italian government). At the local scale, borders of fragmentation have multiplied and have been physically enforced, demarcating separation or interaction between trans-border realities and spaces. All the same, together with separation, borders can also be spaces of opportunity. Alongside borders offering a stark contrast of cultural and social difference, such as the US-Mexico one, transnational urban systems and maquiladoras bloom - as a result of complementarity, mixing legal and illegal activities along the dividing line. But also within ‘EU’-rope, where boundaries and institutional barriers are supposed to be progressively disappearing, even urban borderscapes are still evident, not only as relicts of the past, as symbolic places that work as markers for cultural identities, but also as features of contemporary political and juridical spaces, with numerous local economies that actually thrive on difference.
For all these many reasons, borders are politically charged landscapes, where questions pertaining to national security and confrontation, cultural hybridisation,asymmetric fluxes of people and goods,are objects of countless – often contradictory - cultural representations. They may be gendered landscapes as well, where masculine and feminine stereotypes are depicted against backdrops of colonial fantasies, as in the case of the US-Mexico border; but also places where gender differences can act as a selective factor in mobility, for instance in the daily journey of Moroccan cleaners who live in the town of Tétuan and work in the Spanish enclave of Melilla (Biemann, 2003).

The third edition of the international conference on Borderscapes will tackle all these general issues, but will have aspecial focus on border towns and divided cities. For this reason, it will be held in the city of Trieste, straddling the long contested boundary between Italy and the former Yugoslavia. As part of the conference itself, a field trip will bring participants to the border town(s) of Gorizia and Nova Gorica.
A post-conference excursion will be organised from Trieste to Sarajevo, July 1-5.

The official Language of the conference will be English



During the conference an exhibition of historical maps " Borders through time. A journey in the history of the Upper Adriatic with geographical maps (XVI-XXI century)"  will be organized.










Boutique Piazza Unità 6



Comune di Trieste






Borderscapes 1, Trento 11-14 June 2005
Borderscapes2  Trapani  September 13 – 16, 2006

Con il contributo di Prin 2009 "Immaginazione politica e confini dell’Altro. Passioni di appartenenza e sentimenti di estraneizzazione"

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