Joint ANSO / IHP Tuesday Seminar
Chiara Brambilla

Borderscaping: Rethinking, Acting, and Inhabiting Borders. Notes from a Collaborative Action Research in the Italian/Tunisian Borderland

Chiara Brambilla, University of Bergamo
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Room S5, Maison de la paix, Geneva Graduate Institute

The Joint ANSO / IHP Tuesday Seminars series is co-organized by the Anthropology and Sociology and International History and Politics Departments at the Institute to discuss global questions from historically and ethnographically-informed perspectives.

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This seminar explores the critical conceptual, methodological, and applied potential of the emerging conceptualisation of the border as borderscaping to investigate imaginations and practices of border making from the geopolitical level to the level of social practices, cultural production, and everyday life. The critical potential of the borderscaping approach is not only due to the fact that this approach allows for the modern, state-centric geopolitical order to be called into question, which for instance the concept of bordering does as well. Beyond this, however, borderscaping also encourages a better understanding of the multidimensional epistemic, spatial, and temporal complexity of borders, which are dis-locating, re-locating and proliferating in a variety of social and political arenas, thereby showcasing borders as a resource in terms of the construction of alternative political and sociocultural imaginaries, and practical strategies to pursue them. Specifically, I argue that borderscaping fosters a productive understanding of border imaginations and practices by highlighting three aspects: the politics-aesthetics nexus; the ‘time-print’ of borders; the need for a political and performative method. In the seminar, I will provide examples from my multi-sited collaborative action research with young people in the Italian/Tunisian borderland that serve to inquire into conceptual, methodological, and applied potentialities of borderscaping. Re-imagining Mediterranean borderscapes around young people’s border imaginations and experiences from a situated perspective favours new forms of political participation that call for a more nuanced analysis of the working of border regimes, as well as for the inclusion of the plurality of agencies at work in the ordinary complexity of contemporary borderscapes.


About the Speaker

Chiara Brambilla, PhD in Anthropology and Epistemology of Complexity, is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Bergamo (Italy). Her research focuses on anthropology, critical geopolitics, and epistemology of borders; border studies and border theory; the Mediterranean border-migration nexus; border aesthetics; landscapes, territories and identities; borders in Africa; colonialism and post-colonialism. She has published in her research focus areas within Italian and international journals and volumes. She has authored the monograph Ripensare le frontiere in Africa. Il caso Angola/Namibia e l’identità kwanyama (2009). She has edited, with B. Riccio, the volume Transnational Migration, Cosmopolitanism and Dis-Located Borders (2010) and, with J. Laine, J. Scott and G. Bocchi, the book Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Border Making (2015). She is Associate Member of the Nijmegen Centre for Border Research - NCBR, Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and Regional Editor for Europe of the Journal of Borderlands Studies.


The Joint ANSO / IHP Tuesday Seminars is a regular series of discussions co-organized by the International History and Politics and Anthropology and Sociology Departments at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies to discuss a variety of global questions from a multiplicity of historically and ethnographically-informed perspectives.

The Seminars take place every Tuesday from 16:15 to 18:00 in Seminar Room 5 (S5) at the Graduate Institute (Maison de la paix), and are followed by an apero open to the attending public. Connect to this week's seminar online using the event password Dq2kZBDBC34.