Crossing Borders – Border Crossings

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Borderless memory?

On the dynamics of b/ordering, remembrance and oblivion in the societies of the Balkans.

Interdisciplinary Summer-School, Ohrid, 6.-13.9.2020


Interdisciplinary Centre for Border Research Crossing Borders, Humboldt University of Berlin

Ss. Cyril & Methodius University in Skopje


This summer school, supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which takes place in Ohrid and thus, almost in the center of the Balkans, is primarily aimed at young researchers and academics from this region: Northern Macedonia, Albania, Greece and Bulgaria. The town of Ohrid - situated on a triangle of countries and thus on borders - traditionally stands for the bridging of borders. This is also the main topic of our summer school: how borders are drawn and how they can be overcome. The focus is on how memories, past and history serve to construct closed communities, draw boundaries - and just as much to look on the possibilities to overcome boundaries by reflecting on the past, by analyzing how memories are narrated, how history is created.


Further Information




Borders and Spaces in South East Europe – Historical and Contemporary Imaginations and Practices of B/ordering

Borders and Spaces in South East Europe – Historical and Contemporary Imaginations and Practices of B ordering14th and 15th November 2019 (1)

Keynote Lecture 

"Here be Dragons: on the crosslocations of the Epirot Balkan borderlands"


Helsinki University

14.11.19/Institut für Ethnologie/Hausvogteiplatz 5-7/Raum 0007


Lecture/Filmscreening: "Geotrauma"



15.11.19 /HU Hauptgebäude/Unter den Linden 6/Hörsaal 2091






Transgressing Boundaries in North Macedonia

Historical narratives, identity constructs, and political interventions in times of change



27th of June 2019 (Thursday), 10.00 AM-8.00 PM

Humboldt University of Berlin

Unter den Linden 6

Lichthof Ost (Room 1007), Main Building


In 2017, a bilateral agreement was signed with neighboring Bulgaria. In 2018, another agreement signed with Greece prompted the name change, once again raising concerns and even rage among Macedonian nationalists. Both agreements, the Agreement for Good Neighborly Relations with Bulgaria and the Treaty of Prespa with Greece stipulated the establishment of two separate bilateral commissions that would be charged with examining historical textbooks, establishing a mutual understanding of offensive and provoking content and suggesting more acceptable interpretations of the past in order to ensure relaxed and amiable neighborly relations in the future.


What would be the academic assessment of these divisive processes in the Republic of North Macedonia? And what are the reactions of neighboring Greece and Bulgaria to these new developments? Is there a potential to overcome the ethnonational founded narratives of closed communities that prevail in the media-mediated public sphere? What are the possibilities of engaging in a debate about common yet conflicting pasts that transcend the boundaries of ethnic communities?





Welcoming words

Christian Voss (Humboldt University of Berlin)



Transgressing boundaries of narratives between Macedonia and Bulgaria


Miladina Monova (Bulgarian Academy of Science)

Čavdar Marinov (Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv)

Ljupčo Risteski (Ss. Cyril & Methodius University in Skopje)

Petar Todorov (Institute of National History, Skopje)


12:30-14:30 Lunch break



Transgressing boundaries of narratives between Macedonia and-Greece


Tasos Kostopoulos (independent researcher, Athens)

Athena Skoulariki (University of Crete)

Irena Stefovska (Institute of National History, Skopje)

Ana Čupeska (Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje)



Podium discussion: Communication Unbound?

Perspectives for Northern Macedonia and its neighbors


Key note: Florian Bieber (Universität Graz)

Ambiguous Agreements: Addressing Nationalism through International Diplomacy


Agata Rogoś (Humboldt University of Berlin)

Artan Sadiku (Solidarnost)

Ioannis Zelepos (LMU München)


In cooperation with Logo Südost Gesellschaft


more info see here...




Lecture and Workshop with Didier Fassin (Princeton/Paris)

Lecture: Forced Exile as a Form of Life

Opening with a tragic episode on the Mediterranean, the lecture will first address two questions in reference to Arendt’s reflection on human rights: first, the shift from humanitarian reason to securitarian order in the recent period; second, the response of civil society, including via civil disobedience  but also more mundane actions. Offering then a broader perspective on forced exile, it will analyze it as a form of life, combining a theoretical discussion of Wittgenstein, Canguilhem and Agamben, and an ethnographic research conducted in France and South Africa. From these various perspectives, the fate of these transnational nomads and the way they are treated shed a crude light on the contemporary world.


Thursday, 10.1.2019, 18-20h

Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, 10117 Berlin, Room 0007

Institutskolloquium, Institute for European Ethnology, HU Berlin


Workshop: Borders of Humanitarianism

Workshop Freitag/Friday, 11.1.2019, 9:30-16:00

Institute for European Ethnology, HU Berlin

see more...


Please consult the whole programme of the lecture series „Ethnographies of the Contemporary: Perspektiven und Positionen einer Anthropologie des Politischen“ by following this link:



Lecture and Workshop with Elizabeth Cullen Dunn (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Dienstag, 23.10.2018, 14-16 Uhr
Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, Raum 0007
Institutskolloquium, Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, HU Berlin
Badiou out of Place: Multiplicities, Ontologies, and the Lived Experience of Forced Migration

How do we define political events and the subjects who carry them out? These are fundamental questions taken up by the philosopher Alain Badiou, who has developed a complex theory to explain both "the normal situation" and "the Event" which ruptures it to create a radically different world. Badiou's vision is of a heroic political subject and of an Event that constitutes revolution. But the recent movement of millions of refugees and the "crisis" of forced migration challenges Badiou's notion of both the Event and what it means to be a political subject. Using the lived experiences of forced migrants, I retheorize the Event as an explosion, trace the crisis of coherence and meaning it creates for displaced people, and argue for a rich conception of "the political" as the process of constituting a coherent and actionable world in the wake of cataclysm. In doing so, I seek to reframe who counts as a political actor and rethink what kind of action counts as politics.


see more...


Working Group: Yugoslavia: Imaginations and practices of b/ordering from the 19th century to the present. B/ordering societal space in a historical perspective.

The disintegration of Yugoslavia, accompanied by the emergence of new borders, is paradigmatically highlighting the relevance of borders in processes of societal change, crisis and conflict. This is even more the case, if we consider the violent practices that evolved out of populist discourse of ethnically homogenous bounded space in this process that happened at the beginning of the 1990ies.

In the present, the societal and geographical space of former Yugoslavia is characterized by a multitude of different delineations, which manifest in a concentrated way all crucial issues which are relevant today throughout Europe and beyond. The former joint political and societal space is now cut by borders between EU members (Slovenia and Croatia), by EU external borders with a particular border regime (as for example between Croatia on the one, and Bosnia and Serbia on the other hand), borders which were the effect of wars for ethnically homogenous territories (the so called Inter-Entity Boundary Lines in Bosnia and Hercegovina), or contested boundary lines concerning Kosovo.

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Workshop: Critical Theory Goes Global: Transfers, (Mis-)Understandings and Perceptions since 1960 – 12./13.4.2018

Der Workshop ist Teil einer Kooperation zwischen der Universidade de São Paulo und der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – Programm – weitere Informationen


Vortrag/Buchpräsentation: Stef Jansen (University of Manchester) – Yearnings in the Meantime. "Normal Lives" and the State in a Sarajevo Apartment Complex. – 22.2.2018


Shortly after the book’s protagonists moved into their apartment complex in Sarajevo, they, like many others, were overcome by the 1992-1995 war and the disintegration of socialist Yugoslavia. More than a decade later, in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, they felt they were collectively stuck in a time warp where nothing seemed to be as it should be. Starting from everyday concerns, this book paints a compassionate yet critical portrait of people’s sense that they were in limbo, trapped in a seemingly endless “Meantime.” Ethnographically investigating yearnings for “normal lives” in the European semi-periphery, it proposes fresh analytical tools to explore how the time and place in which we are caught shape our hopes and fears.

Diese Veranstaltung ist Teil des Workshops „Zeitlichkeiten des Politischen / Temporalities of the Political“ der dgv-Kommission ‚Europäisierung_Globalisierung: Ethnographien des Politischen, der am 22. und 23. Februar 2018 am Institut für Europäische Ethnologie der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin stattfindet. Mehr Informationen...

Donnerstag, 22.2.18, 18:30 Uhr – Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Mohrenstraße 41, Raum 311

Workshop: Siting nuclear installations at the border: transnational political implications and societal responses – 20.11.2017

When looking at a map of nuclear installations (both planned and actually realised), we can find a curious feature. A large number of nuclear reactors, waste dumps and reprocessing plants are situated near national borders. Mehr...

Lecture: Allen Feldman – Xenophobic Technicities: A Media Archeology – 14.6.2017

The predominant moralizing and psychological reading of xenophobia in the humanities and social sciences associates its practice and discourse with irrational fears and cultural-regression antithetical to modernity and liberal democracy. Mehr...

Feierliche Eröffnung – 24.1.2017

Lecture von Arjun Appadurai zur feierlichen Eröffnung am 24. Januar


Arjun Appadurai (Goddard Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University / Visiting Professor at the Institute for European Ethnology at HU Berlin):


"Major Fears, Minor Numbers: The Anxiety about Refugees in a Post-Democratic World"



Christian Voß – Institut für Slawistik HU Berlin

Gabriele Metzler – Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften HU Berlin


Einführung und Moderation

Regina Römhild – Institut für Europäische Ethnologie HU Berlin


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