Lecture Series | Border Temporalities: Doing Literature in a World of Walls
News from Sep 27, 2023
Organised by Susanne Klengel, project Border Temporalities and/in Literature, Research Area 1: "Competing Communities" in cooperation with the Institute of Latin American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Geopolitical borders, especially the fortified, guarded, less permeable borders and walls in different regions of the world form a literarily and artistically relevant and ever-challenging theme. One might think of a long series of narratives about the border between Mexico and the USA, about the Indian-Pakistani and Bengali partition or about Berlin as a divided city; of texts that tell of the perilous border crossings from the South towards Europe, of the old and new border conflicts between Haiti and the Dominican Republic or of the wall between Israel and Palestine. The experiences at these and similar heavily guarded borders often have a deep historical dimension and hence their presence in literature and the arts is not surprising. Frequently, these narratives are about cultural alterity, linked to material asymmetries, social inequality, political insecurity, flight and persecution, and traumatic experiences of border crossing. Borders are often only permeable for the transit of goods; very few people belong to the privileged group that can cross the fortified borders without any hindrance. In the literary or artistic narratives, the individual human perspective prevails over the distant view of an anonymous phenomenon. But there are gradations in the confrontation with geopolitical, material and cultural alterity, in the experience of "difference" – spaces of agency sometimes emerge where these fortified borders begin to change their contours. Such dynamics can be seen when we consider borders not only as stable constructions and demarcations in space, but also in their temporality: Trump's great border wall gives rise to new forms of its by-passing while it is rusting away. On the other hand, borders that are at first barely perceived become visible the more they hold back people waiting there in the hope of getting through.
In the lecture series Border Temporalities: Doing Literature in a World of Walls, international experts will talk about phenomena of multiple asymmetries, inequality and non-simultaneity with regard to existing walls or fortified borders and the literary texts or artistic works that react to them. These texts thematise the physical border walls and other systems of control, which are increasing again in today’s world and deprive many people of the hope of finding a way out of difficult or desperate life situations.
In the lecture series, the focus is on exploring how literature and the arts address these conditions and experiences with aesthetic means, bring them into view, and through reflection make them more tangible. The lecture series aims to contribute to the awareness of border situations in the shadow of old and new walls as part of the contemporary world.
ProgrammeWednesday, 12 July | 18:00
Prof. Dr. Efraín Kristal (University of Californa, Los Angeles (UCLA) / Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation)Thursday, 26 October | 18:00
Prof. Dr. Cristina Rivera Garza (Houston/DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program)Thursday, 2 November | 18:00
PD Dr. Olaf Briese (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)Thursday, 9 November | 18:00
Prof. Dr. Susanne Klengel (Freie Universität Berlin/EXC 2020)Thursday, 16 November | 18:00
Prof. Dr. Sucheta Mahajan (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)Thursday, 23 November | 18:00
Prof. Dr. Johan Schimanski (University of Oslo)Thursday, 30 November | 18:00
Dr. Drew Paul (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)Thursday, 7 December | 18:00
Louis-Philippe Dalembert (Paris)Thursday, 14 December | 18:00
Dr. Julia Borst (Universität Bremen)Thursday, 11 January | 18:00
Pia Berghoff (IGC "Temporalities of Future in Latin America", Freie Universität Berlin)Thursday, 25 January | 18:00
Prof. Dr. Vibha Maurya (University of Delhi)Thursday, 8 February | 18:00
Dr. Michel Otayek (Freie Universität Berlin)
Lecture Room 201 (2nd floor)
Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56