Workshop 'The Border Within'

28.04.2013 - 09:00
29.04.2013 - 20:00


The Border Within: The Internalization of Difference in Central Europe and the Middle East

Ein internationaler Workshop, der von 28.-29. April 2013 an der Universität Tel Aviv stattfindet

Borders, according to conventional wisdom, are a necessary aspect of any society. On the individual level, they allow for personal autonomy and establish guidelines that regulate daily interaction. On the social level, they often help forge a sense of belonging and community. And, on the political level, borders mark and establish the limits of sovereignty that grant 
polities the justification to act in the name of their subjects.

And, yet, as critical and necessary as borders are, the lines that divide and, in turn, define individuals, communities and political bodies are historical and/or cultural-political constructs. Thus, while borders are very often assumed to be natural, eternal or God given constants, the definition, construction and delineation of borders are no less often arbitrary, convoluted and, ultimately, incomplete processes.

This becomes particularly apparent when one considers the exclusionary role often played by borders. One person’s line of inclusion is another’s line of exclusion as borders mark the differences between individuals, communities and nations. Moreover, once established, 
borders are often used to determine the flow of information, the nature of social networks and the allocation of resources (financial, employment, housing, governmental) reinforcing patterns of inequality that tend to be reified as part of an ostensibly natural social order.

And, yet, despite the ubiquity of borders, scholars continue to debate such fundamental questions as:

  • How are borders constructed?
  • What intellectual, social and processes transpire as borders are imagined, created, and, then, internalized and reproduced?
  • How and when do borders change?
  • When do they contract?
  • Can borders ever whither?
  • And, what are the ethical responsibilities involved in constructing and maintaining borders?

Scholars from America, Europe and Israel will probe these and related questions during a two-day workshop at Tel Aviv University in late April, 2013. As part of their efforts to re-evaluate the historical, social and political construction of borders and their impact on individuals, communities and nations, the workshop will bring together scholars of nineteenth and twentieth century Central Europe with those whose research focuses on the modern Middle East. Together, researchers from Vienna and Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Budapest, Haifa and Warsaw, New York and Jaffa, will attempt to re-evaluate the very processes through which political borders are constructed, social divisions are reinforced, and individuals interpret and internalize the inescapable presence and influence of borders in their daily lives throughout nineteenth and twentieth century Central Europe and the Middle East.

The workshop is sponsored by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for European History and Public Spheres in Vienna, the Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities, Tel Aviv University, the Cummings Institute for Russian and East European Studies, the Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, and the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Inernational and Regional Studies.

Das Programm finden Sie hier.