PS/MS Conceptualizing and Imaging the Borderlines/lands



Time and place

Students will be asked to do a presentation(during the semester) and write a term paper (at the end of the semester).


Few words can be understood to simultaneously be as strict and as fluid as border. The concrete legal construction of historically variable borderlines contrast with the symbolic cultural and historical identifications of peoples to lands and life at the crossroads. These lines can be contested, (re)imagined, used to create connections as well as othering. In this course, we will discuss, from a wide variety of perspectives, diverse conceptions and imaginations of the idea of borders. By looking at different cultural products we will see how borders can be divisive geopolitical lines that need to be secured while at the same time, they can also serve as a canvas for (protest) art. These lines can also become a desired destination as the borderlines can signify a line of hope that promises another (better) life, such as in the tales of the Underground Railroad towards Canada in the nineteenth century or the migration flows towards the USA from Central America and Mexico today. At the same time, these lines can divide communities as new nationalities imposed after war, colonial and imperialist expansion create new legal and political frames. Those local implications contrast with global entanglements under transnational context, as illustrated by the creation of NAFTA (transnational economic region) and the Zapatista uprising against it in Chiapas, Mexico. The following key themes will be the base for our discussions about borders beyond the understanding of geophysical demarcations: sovereignty, migration and mobility, transnationalism, racialization and citizenship, cultural performativity, human rights, Native Americans cultures, identity and border cultures, amongst other.

Additional information

Expected participants: 20