Two-day Workshop on the relevance of posthumanist and more-than-human approaches for mobility and border studies, organised by IfL in cooperation with University of Halle-Wittenberg
This workshop seeks to integrate our complex relations with viruses, animals, objects and technologies in the study of borders and mobilities. For this purpose, we suggest to look at borders as more-than-human compositions spanning a multitude of both human and nonhuman elements. We ask how borders and other spatial barriers filter, channel, or block (non)human mobilities in Central and Eastern Europe. We are also interested in how ‘unruly’ border crossings of all kinds of beings and matters co-constitute, challenge or subvert practices and infrastructures of border control. In the past years, posthumanist and more-than-human approaches have experienced a rise to prominence across the social sciences. This workshop explores the relevance of these perspectives for mobility and border studies.
Our starting point is the shared concern that a sole focus on humans and their mobilities cannot explain the profound bordering processes that have gained momentum in Central and Eastern Europe in the past years. The advent of African swine fever has led to a proliferation of fences that target potential border crossers of a nonhuman kind: wild boars acting as vectors of the pig virus, which is currently depicted as the most threatening animal disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has been met with massive restrictions on mobilities and set in motion profound (re)bordering processes across Central and Eastern Europe. At the same time, the uninterrupted flow of materials and (lively) commodities is framed as a central priority for the securitization of food and energy supplies. Cross-border mobilities are also dependent on material infrastructures of control, such as digital technologies and logistics. Nonetheless, animals, plants and humans continue to cross borders and thus challenge administrative concerns and jurisdictions, while rivers, natural earth formations and the like continue to play a role in supporting the boundary character of state borders in symbolic, practical and even dangerous ways.
The aim of the workshop is to unravel some of these complex and paradoxical more-than-human assemblages that come together in mobilities and bordering processes and to strengthen these emerging debates in exchange with researchers across Central and Eastern Europe.
Date and Venue
December 1-2, 2022
Nikolaistraße 10, “Strohsack-Passage” (5th floor)
Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (Kristine Beurskens, Bettina Bruns) in cooperation with University of Halle-Wittenberg (Larissa Fleischmann, Jonathan Everts)
Dr Kristine Beurskens