Crossing Borders – Border Crossings

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New Interdisciplinary Centre is dedicated to border studies

The Berlin Center for Transnational Border Studies is the fifth Interdisciplinary Center of the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Overcoming borders - this has always been a central task of science and research. And especially in Berlin, the experience of border demarcations and border shifts has been deeply engraved in the history of the city. With the new Interdisciplinary Centre (IC) "Border Crossings - Crossing Borders. Berlin Centre for Transnational Border Research", Humboldt University of Berlin (HU) is bringing together its forces in this field.

The overcoming of borders also and above all concerns the overcoming of disciplinary borders. This is the only way for research today to do justice to such a complex topic. Accordingly, "Border Crossings - Crossing Borders" has set itself the goal of gathering specialised expertise. The viewpoints of different disciplines on the Center's issues are intended to question the Center's own familiar approach and thus raise new research questions. Its members include ethnologists, historians, jurists and cultural scientists from various areas of the world. There are also members from the fields of Gender Studies and Art History.

Concentrate ongoing research of the HU

Logo VollThe new centre is designed as a network and umbrella structure to enable excellent research by networking scientists at the HU and beyond. A glance at "Brexit" and the European Union is not the only indication of how relevant the border demarcation is. This makes the discussion politically and scientifically very relevant. "Humboldt University is creating an exciting platform for research. In the foreseeable future, larger externally funded projects are to be acquired," says Nenad Stefanov, coordinator of the IC Crossing Borders.

The centre will bring together already ongoing research at the HU in an interdisciplinary way and develop a further innovative research programme. Nenad Stefanov says that the centre is currently working on concrete ideas and projects: "Before we start research, it is first necessary to clarify which common priorities we can develop from the different disciplines. Then we can focus on questions that are of interest to all of us."

Many perspectives on the research area

Thematically there is more than just territorial borders - border demarcations of any kind are of interest. From a cultural anthropological or social science point of view, borders are often barriers. This raises new questions. What are the barriers to social contacts? How do borders also manifest symbolically? And how are inequalities caused or stabilized by borders? In their interdisciplinary research, the members of the IC make use of historical, sociological, anthropological and cultural perspectives in order to be able to examine and describe the subject as extensively and comprehensively as possible. In the ideal case, new theoretical impulses open up from the multitude of perspectives.

After the August-Boeckh- Antikezentrum, the Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies , the Kolleg Mathematik Physik Berlin and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Educational Research, "Border Crossings" is the fifth Interdisciplinary Center at the HU.


[Press release, November 30, 2016]