Programme with the abstracts
16:00 Welcome coffee and registration
* Art Leete, Department of Ethnology, University of Tartu* Aimar Ventsel, Department of Ethnology, University of Tartu* Michaela Pelican and Rita Sanders, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne
* Deema Kaneff, Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies, University of Birmingham
Sometimes the borders that matter the most are not those in close proximity; nor are they always physical or concrete in form.
In this paper I look at geo-political borders that exclude a rural community in Odessa province, Ukraine, from engaging in the global economy. I argue that the challenges faced in this community are not so much the physical borders that separate Ukraine from neighbouring countries, nor geographical or infrastructural barriers that isolate this region from the rest of Ukraine, although, no doubt, these are part of the story. There are, in addition, geo-political ‘imaginings’ about ‘rural eastern Europe’ that serve as barriers which hinder the community’s engagement in the global market. The paper explores such barriers by focussing on the case of a western development agency that was active in the region. It examines the way in which agency workers’ imaginings – which determined the orientation of the market sought and the type of goods designed for production – provided a means of controlling access to the global market, thus limiting the possibilities of community participation. The paper’s focus is thus on ideologically-rooted barriers that serve to exclude rural communities from the global economy, while also producing and reinforcing regional inequalities.
Deema Kaneff is a Reader in Social Anthropology at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham, England. She has carried out long term fieldwork in both Bulgaria and Ukraine on a variety of topics relating to postsocialist reforms, including property relations, migration and social in/exclusion.
* Bernd Kasparek, Institute of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology, Georg-August-University, Göttingen
The Agenda after the Agenda: Contours of the post-2015 European Border Regime
* Sabine von Löwis, Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOIS), Berlin
The presentation deals with the returning and vanishing historical border inWestern Ukraine. Looking at recent electoral maps of Ukraine, the line where the historical border between Russian and Habsburg Empire and in the interwar period between Poland and Soviet Ukraine has been re-emerges systematically. It is the same line where the small river Zbruč takes its way and a border had been established by the end of the 18th century. Since the end of WWII, i,e, for more than 70 years now, there is no state border anymore, but only a border between amdinistrative entities. But somehow the old border turns up like a phantom on election day. Historical reminiscences can also be observed in religious institutions, memory landscapes or economic assignments.
Between 2012 and 2016 I conducted a case study in two local communities on both sides of the historical border (and the electoral divide) to analyse how and why people behavedifferently when it comes to elections and other aspects of symbolic behaviour, and what role past delimitations really play in their identities and their daily lifes.
I shall show that references to the past are made in very different situations and for very different reasons: Not always indicates a reference to the past a persistence of some kind of political identity, more often it is a reaction towards very current public discourses. Nevertheless there are persistent religious or economic practices that relate back to different historical developments. But even then they are reactions to current Ukrainian religious and economic politics. In my presentation I will discuss some empirical cases and show how fluid borders are and how much the relevance ot their historic foundation depends from very contemporary contexts.
Sabine von Löwis is a geographer and post-doc researcher at the Centre for East European and International Studies in Berlin. She has studied at Technical University of Dresden and accomplished her PhD at the HafenCity University, Hamburg.
In her research she has dealt with stability and change of socio-spatial structures. From 2011 to 2017 she has been a researcher in the research network „Phantom Borders in Eastern Central Europe“ at the German-French social sciences research institute, Centre Marc Bloch, in Berlin, where she conducted a case study on Ukraine. In her current position she will conduct a case study which deals with micro-geographies of conflict in the south-western post-soviet space.
* Ilya Dementev, Ilya Dementev, Institute for the Humanities, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad
Associate Professor at the Institute for the Humanities, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad, Russia).
Candidate of sciences (Russian equivalent of a scientific degree Ph.D) in History. Thesis: “Political theory of Alexis de Tocqueville and French liberalism of the first half of XIX century” (2004). Invited Professor at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (2017).
More than 60 articles in history of East Prussia and the Kaliningrad region, the theoretic problems of historiography.
* Anna Alimpieva, Institute for the Humanities, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad
The Kaliningrad region is a Russian exclave, surrounded by EU countries, the former territory of Germany. The development of the trophy territory, which became Soviet after World War II, took a certain ideological route, that also defines the attitude to the cultural heritage. Despite the use of German infrastructure, the objects that most clearly symbolized the previous stage of history were destroyed or reformatted. The boundaries between "correct" Soviet and "wrong" German were clearly outlined, which ensured growing the Soviet people's identity in a smooth way.
During the post-Soviet democratization, the ideological gripe weakened, allowing Kaliningradians to quench their interest in the pre-war history of the region and actualize the corresponding component of territorial identity. Despite economic difficulties, a number of objects of the East Prussian heritage were returned to the regional cultural space. "Hard" and "soft" memory about the pre-war stage of the history of the region came into resonance, which, however, did not mean a shift for desovietization. The politics of memory was controversial, but quite democratic.
The "newest" history has actualized the topic of borders, identity and cultural memory in the region. Does the pre-war history of the province remain a part of its longer history, or does it start from 1945? What can and can not be remembered? Is it necessary to preserve the pre-Soviet cultural heritage? What is the regional culture - (p)Russian world or the mix of cultures? Who is a citizen of Kaliningrad?
While the reflecting part of the society is trying to "bridge the gap" in their own minds, the opposing forces get activated. They claim a monopolistic interpretation of history and destroy the cultural heritage of the region literally. Will the current confrontation be overcome, or will the history of the region remain divided, while the memory of it remains intact?.
11:45 Coffee break
* Bettina Bruns, Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig
In light of the high amount of refugees wishing to cross the EU’s external borders into the Union, the border regime is becoming more and more standardized and, to a great extent, involves the EU neighbour states. Homogenization and its partly extra-territorial functioning are key characteristics of the current EU eastern external border regime.
This double mechanism of the EU’s external border regime also has direct implications for the EU’s neighbouring states: On the one hand, they are confronted with a rising demarcation from the EU produced by the strengthened and standardized control of the external border. The introduction of the Schengen visa regime for example has had massive implications on the cross-border trade and people-to-people-contacts in the eastern parts of the external EU border. On the other hand, the EU supports the integration of the neighbouring countries by including them in terms of its extraterritorial measures into its own migration policy.
This contribution deals with the practical implementation of border control at the EU’s external borders and takes different participating actors in the border regime into account: How do the neighbouring states implement EU migration policy on a local scale? How far does the EU border regime regulate border-crossing practices of refugees? And what does this mean for border-crossing individuals?
By discussing the results of ethnographic research at different sections of the EU’s eastern external border, the presentation will focus on the perspectives of specific actors who implement EU border control regulations on a local level by carrying out concrete EU-driven projects. Furthermore, voices from refugees and inhabitants of the border regions in third states are taken into account.
Bettina Bruns is currently a Schumpeter Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig, Germany, and head of the project ‘”Within the ring of secure countries” – regional and local effects of the extra-territorial involvement of the European Union in Belarus, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova’. Prior to this, she was a research assistant at the same institute within a project on smuggling and cross-border small-scale trade across the eastern external EU border. Her research interests include borders, informal practices and ethnographic methods. She holds a Diploma in Cultural Studies from the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and a PhD from the Faculty of Sociology of the University of Bielefeld.
* Alexander Koss, lawyer for migration issues, Kaliningrad
Is "Big Europe" for healthy people only? Entry to Russia for HIV and TB people: epidemical, political and legal context
13:30 Lunch (for the speakers and moderators)
* Ketevan Khutshishvili, Institute of Ethnology, Ivan Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University
The paper is based on the field research carried out in Zugdidi region (West Georgia). It considers the cross-border relationships building the communicative channels between border settlements. The peculiarity of the situation is that the borderline appeared after the armed conflict in 1993, has physically separated the territory settled by the group of people homogenous in terms of ethno-cultural, lingual, religious and kin belonging and everyday practice. Border settlements on both sides maintain contacts by the use of formal or informal channels. The main domains of communication are trade-vending relations, healthcare issues and kin relations. By focusing on trans-border contacts, a topic closely is related to the specific empirical phenomena that create a possibility of overcoming the conflict through the cross-border peaceful communication.
* Nino Aivazishvili-Gehne, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB)
This paper deals with the Soviet and Post-Soviet perceptions of the border. In focus are the everyday experiences of people, who live in the border area between Azerbaijan and Georgia, or cross the border regularly.
I follow the thesis of Thomas Wilson and Hastings Donnan (1998) who argue that boundaries are of a liminal and often controversial nature and produce different identities.
The Authors discuss various interpretations of the term "boundary" in anthropology, as well as its meaning in context of concepts such as state, nation or identity. Borders, as political constructs, are closely linked to the state, but not always identical with it. They rather have their “own life” not always working in accordance with state regulations (1998: 10). On the other hand, in certain situations borders can also function as a kind of "state weapon" (ibid: 9).
A similar interpretation of state –border relation, namely the border as an instrument of state policy, offers also Timothy Mitchell (2006).
The Author argues that the imagination of state not only depends on the subjective belief of the individual, but rather is shaped by the everyday public representation of state symbols. Such symbols are for example the law, public architecture, uniforms or the control of national borders (ibid: 173). Tactics and practices that are useful for the articulation process are the "effects" (ibid: 180). The border, checkpoints, customs offices and border guards are among the institutions articulating such effects.
But, customs offices, border guards or checkpoints are not only the institutions. Behind them are real people one might know, friends, or relatives. For this reason, my paper focuses not only on the structures and effects, but also on the people who form their everyday lives within these structures.
Nino Aivazishvili-Gehne studied history and ethnology at the "Ivane Javakhishvili" State University in Tbilisi (Georgia) from 1999 to 2005 and received her Master's degree.
Aivazishvili-Gehne worked as a research assistant at the Institute of History and Ethnology in Tbilisi in 2006 and 2007. At the same time she was research assistant in the project "Citizenship in Motion: The politics of Belonging in Post-Soviet Georgia" at Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale).
From 2008 to 2015 Aivazishvili-Gehne was a PhD student at the Martin Luther University Halle (Saale) and associate member at the Max Plank Institute for Social Anthropology. She was a member of the research group "Caucasian Boundaries and Citizenship from Below".
In her dissertation Aivazishvili-Gehne deals with the citizenship of an ethnic (Georgian-speaking, partly Muslim and partly Christian) minority in post-Soviet Azerbaijan. The project (including the fieldwork from 2009 to 2010 in Azerbaijan and Georgia) was financed by the Gerda-Henkel Foundation.
After graduation Aivazishvili-Gehne worked at one of welfare organizations and among other projects built relationships with Russian-speaking migrant organizations.
In the summer semester of 2018 Nino Aivazishvili-Gehne starts teaching at the Ruhr University Bochum.
16:15 Coffee break
* Michaela Pelican, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne
My presentation will be based on a joint publication with my colleague Sofie Steinberger (Department of History, University of Cologne), dealing with the complex situation of Melilla as a border town that links Spain and Morocco, Europe and Africa. The publication includes a variety of contributions by different authors who the subject from historical and contemporary perspectives. It integrates various forms of reflection, including academic, personal and photographic accounts.
In my presentation, I will touch on three aspects: a) the border and its transformation over time, b) networks and family ties that cut across the border, and c) artistic interventions aimed at bridging internal boundaries.
Michaela Pelican is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Cologne. She has worked on ethnicity and identity politics in Cameroon and on transnational migration in a South-South context. She was the German cooperation partner of the art and action project Kahina and the director of the Forum ‘Ethnicity as a Political Resource: Perspectives from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe’ (2013-2016). Her interest in Melilla emerged from the collaboration with Kahina and her engagement with the city’s complex history of ethnic coexistence and immigration.
* Bohdan Shumilovich, Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, Lviv
My presentation deals with the former eastern Polish borders, that since 1939 have transformed into Soviet western peripheries. USSR built in the region extensive media infrastructure in order to connect various lands of socialist empire to Moscow, if not physically than symbolically. In this process of re-imagination landscape played a crucial role, especially Carpathian Mountains. Similarly to Polish cinema of the 1930s, Soviets in the 1960s used televisual ‘gendered nature’ and romanticism in order to make exotic people of the mountains more familiar and created vivid and attractive media(land)scape. This mediascape was an instrument of control but also helped to incorporate Carpathian imagery into Soviet visual culture.
Bohdan Shumylovych obtained a master’s degree in modern history from the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary, 2004-2005), a diploma in art history from the Lviv Academy of Arts (Ukraine, 1993-1999), and also studied at the Faculty of Project Management at George Washington University (USA, 2001-2002). He was a fellow of several grant programs and worked with the archive of the Faculty of Visual Arts at George Washington University, Washington (USA) and the archive of Open Society Institute (www.osaarchivum.org), in Budapest. In 2014 he received a PhD grant from the European University Institute in Florence to conduct research entitled "Mediascape of Lviv: Late 1950s - 1980s." The project aims to research the features of interaction between urban space, social practices, and media in the period of late socialism. Bohdan works at the Center for Urban History being the head of the Urban Media Archive. The main focus of his work is media history and the history of television in East Central Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as the interaction of digital history and traditional historiography.
* Yulia Bardun, Baltic Branch of the National Center of Contemporary Arts, State Museum and Exhibition Centre "ROSIZO"
Yulia Bardun started working as an independent cultural manager in the early 2000s focusing on regional identity, cultural policy and cultural management issues. In 2002 founded NGO Agency for Support of Cultural Initiatives “Tranzit” aiming to promote culture as a resource for social and economic development in the Kaliningrad region. In 2005-2009 in cooperation with the European Cultural Foundation and Ministry of Culture of the Kaliningrad region “Tranzit” initiated, developed and implemented a multi-annual capacity-building program for leading cultural managers of the Kaliningrad region, which remains the largest initiative of this kind realized in the region up to this day.
In 2004 joined the team of the Baltic Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (since 2016 part of the State Museum and Exhibition Centre “ROSIZO”) based in Kaliningrad, Russia, where she currently works in the capacity of a vice-director and a curator focusing on the issues of local identity, community and public space. Co-curator of «Art-Guide. Königsberg/Kaliningrad now» (2005), International competition/art residency program, «Tower Kronprinz: second coming» (2006-2011), «Kaliningrad Sound Art Camp» (2009), «Red-Red: Yury Vassiliev and Carl Michael von Hausswolff» (2009-2010), «Telling the Baltic» (2012-2013) ; curator of «Going public: on the difficulty of public statement» in Kaliningrad (2012), «48 plants. Course of Spring» (2013), «Juxtaposed: Topp & Dubio vs Yuri Lunacharsky» (2013), “Commbase Kaliningrad” (2016), «Petrification» (2016), “Migration card” (2016) and «Wolfskinder: a Post-War Story» (2017). In 2013-2015 coordinates “Close Stranger” – a large-scale multiannual EU-financed cross-border cooperation project in the field of contemporary arts involving institutions, artists, curators and intellectuals from the Kaliningrad region, Poland and Lithuania.
* Aleksandr Matveev, photographer and photo journalist, Kaliningrad
Alexander Matveev was born in 1985 in Kaliningrad. Since 2006 he works as a photojournalist for the weekly newspaper Strana Kaliningrada ("The Country of Kaliningrad"). In 2008, he became a member of the Kaliningrad Union of Photo Artists. Moreover, he participated in the international project on the development of the transborder natural territory Vishtynetskoe Lake - the Romintskaya Pushcha. Within the framework of the project, photo exhibitions were presented in Russia, Poland and Lithuania. Furthermore, he took part in the project "Lesnaya Derevnya". In 2016, the project won the first prize in the contest "The Changing Museum in a Changing World" of the Vladimir Potanin Charity Fund. In 2017, he participated in the exhibition: "The First Triennial of the Russian Modern Art" (Museum of Contemporary Art "Garage", Moscow). He is the author of a photo-documentary project on the territory of the Kaliningrad region.
* Rita Sanders, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne
For a long time, thinking about borders and boundaries has been stimulated by the spatial turn, however, by neglecting the category of time. In my presentation, I will depict how migrants and non-migrants find a home and draw boundaries by differently connecting to Kaliningrad’s history. In this endeavor, I also intend to show how economic, juridical and political aspects are intertwined with personal histories and migration motives and how both relate to the dynamics of border drawing.
Rita Sanders is a research project member at the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Cologne. Previously, I was a lecturer at the University of Zurich and a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale. I received my PhD from the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and my MA from the University of Cologne. My current project deals with mobility and translocal connectedness in Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad. In particular, I investigate how several generations of migrants from very different parts of the former Soviet Union make a home in the border area and how they establish and use migrant organizations in order to pursue their local and translocal needs. Furthermore, I am especially interested in life stories and network analysis which I have also applied in my previous research on Kazakhstani German identities. I have published on migratory processes in the former USSR, on ethnicity in Kazakhstan, on transnational networks and organizations, and on boundary drawing in Kaliningrad.
* Final discussion
11:30 Closing coffee
Information: Aimar Ventsel, aimar.ventsel [ät] ut.ee (subject: Borders%20and%20Boundaries%20within%20and%20at%20the%20Edges%20of%20Europe)
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne
Department of Ethnology, University of Tartu