Call for Papers
BORDERS AND ADMINISTRATIVE LEGACY
24 – 26 November 2016
At the Institute of Contemporary History we have conducted research on borders in the context of the project titled History of Administrative Borders and Boundaries (Slovenian Research Agency (SRA), 2011–2014). We are now researching borders in the Phenomenon of Border Rivers project (SRA, 2014–2017). As the historical dependence of borders is at the forefront of our research interests, the concept of phantom borders, developed by the international interdisciplinary research network Phantom Borders in Eastern Central Europe, is especially important for our work. Phantom borders are former political borders that continue to structure the modern world. In many cases these historical spaces persist or “keep returning” in the form of social practices, electoral geographies, infrastructural networks and the like.
Although the collocation of phantom borders includes the word “border”, the concept was coined as a means of researching the spaces, spatial practices and the actors in space. Borders as political divisions, registered in the spatial projections, descriptions (official descriptions, newspaper articles) as well as in the landscape itself (fences, border stones) are not the focus of interest in this case. We are interested whether phantom borders can be used to research contemporary borders. Can contemporary borders likewise be phantom borders? In order to conceptualise the historical dimension of the borders, we have, in the course of our research, developed the concept (or a metaphor) of administrative legacy.
We especially wish to address the following questions:
The concept of administrative legacy has been envisioned as a theoretical tool for border research. Is the concept also suitable for researching the history of nationalism? Studies of nationalism, especially focusing on Central and South-East Europe, underline the role of the state bureaucratic apparatus (schools, army, administration, law) in the nationalisation of the population. The administrative measures implemented by states (also non-national early-modern empires and multinational multicultural federations) create particular national categories or reproduce the discourses of national exclusivity – often unintentionally.
What is the relationship between the nationalist “border-making” at the level of discourse and the administrative legacy of existing borders? Nationalist activists keep looking for concealed historical facts (also in the pool of administrative legacy), creatively assembling them into myths of the “true borders”. The (para)historical discourse, which is in blatant opposition to the novelty of the dispute, has been an interesting characteristic of the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute since 1991. Is the use of historical myth (P. Kolstø) as a mechanism for defining the borders methodologically justified in case of the existing borders? How can we capture the significance of the historical discourse for the processes of the contemporary nationalist delimitation?
We are also interested in the relationship of landscape, administrative legacy and history. Our exploration of the border river is based on the analysis of these components. In border rivers, the phantom aspect of administrative legacy is even more complicated: border rivers are, by definition, also physical spaces with a physical width, depth and influence on the landscape. They are also, first and foremost, active natural elements, which may both move on their own and speak for themselves. The former river beds, marked on cadastral maps, possess a strong phantom potential.
The conference language is English.
Abstracts no longer than 300 words together with a short CV should be sent to:email@example.com. Well-founded panel proposals will also be considered. Selected papers will be published in the journal Contributions to Contemporary History / Prispevki za novejšo zgodovino (http://ojs.inz.si/pnz).
The deadline for proposals is September 24, 2016.
Accommodation and meals during the conference will be provided. Travel costs are not covered.