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cfp: New Borderlands or Cosmopolitanism from Below? (Oldenburg, 6.-8.12.2012)

Call for Papers: New Borderlands or Cosmopolitanism from Below?

International Conference on Linking Theories of Border, Concepts of Cosmopolitanism and Citizenship in Migration Studies


Thursday 6th to Saturday 8th December 2012

Location: Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany



EMMIR Consortium (European Master of Migration and Intercultural Relations)

Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg (School of Linguistics and Cultural Studies, School of Education)

Georg-August University Göttingen (Laboratory on critical migration and border regime studies)
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (African Centre for Migration and Society)


The conference will focus on three interlinked concepts: border(land), citizenship and cosmopolitanism. These are currently highly debated in transnational and transdisciplinary academic discourses – initiating a fruitful dialogue between them might lead to paradigmatic shifts in migration studies and beyond. In order to do so, the conference examines specific dimensions of the ongoing deep transformation of statehood, citizenship, sovereignty and identity formations in sending, transit, and receiving states.

The conference programme is divided in four sections. Two workshops for graduates and postgraduates with presentations about research on conference topics are planned.

I    Border Regimes: Formations of European and African Border(land)s

  • How are geopolitical borders understood in European and in African contexts? What are the implications for migrants?
  • What is the nexus between migrants’ agency and border regimes? And what is the nexus between the border regime and a differential system of rights and citizenship?
  • What are possible links between approaches of bio- and geopolitical border concepts to develop tools for the analysis of political strategies and practices?
  • Do migration theories appropriately address concepts of border? What can border theories learn from migration studies?


II Border Imaginaries: On the Discursive (De-)Construction of Demarcation Lines

  • How are borders portrayed and linked to migrant images and representations of bor­der-cross­ing subjectivities? What counter-narratives and -images have been produced and by whom? And what exactly is ,countered‘ in these narratives?
  • What are the chances and limits of representational politics in the context of border regimes?
  • How are human and women’s rights discourses linked to border politics?
  • To what extent do forms of orientalism (linked to border politics, concepts of citizenship or cosmopolitanism) frame constructions of cultures within and beyond Europe?


III   Transgression of Borders and Transnational Social Experiences: A New Cosmopolitanism or Translocal, Postnational Citizenship

  • How do theoretical strands of cosmopolitan ideas and principles counter the current neoliberal politics of global governance?
  • How do these strands discuss the acknowledgment of ,the Other‘ beyond the concepts of sameness or semblance?
  • Do concepts of cosmopolitanism reinterpret, question or transgress the concept of ,third space‘ introduced by Homi Bhabha? How are alternative ways of trans-national and trans-cultural interconnectedness conceptualized?
  • What is the current (dis)connection between theory and practice of cosmopolitanism?
  • What are the theoretical and methodological differences or divides between the approaches ,cosmopolitanism from below‘ and ,citizenship from below‘?
  • How do geopolitical, social and cultural border politics mould ,subaltern cosmopolitanisms‘ or ,citizenship from below‘ in European and African contexts? How are these practices gendered?
  • Do these approaches lead to new theoretical and methodological outcomes which may go beyond the established transnational paradigm?


The deadline for abstract submission (300 words max) is 15 June 2012. Please specify to which section you would like your paper to be considered or if you want to present your project in the workshops for graduates and postgraduates. Your abstract together with a short biographical note should be sent to


By 15 July 2012 the selection committee will inform applicants about the decision. Some travel grants for selected speakers might become available in early November. When submitting your abstract, please indicate if you plan to apply for a travel grant.


The deadline for submitting papers is 30 October 2012. Please submit only unpublished papers which could be published in an edited book.


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