Crossing Borders – Border Crossings

Call for Papers

Phantom Borders – Real Boundaries? KOSMOS Summer University HU Berlin 31.8.-12.9.2015


The KOSMOS Summer University is a new HU format for excellent research that will strengthen networks and provide targeted support for internationalizing top-level research at the University. In the spirit of Alexander von Humboldt’s renowned Kosmos lectures, the KOSMOS Summer University brings researchers working in HU’s main areas of research focus together with partners researching abroad.


Issues of the Summer-University:

The perception of a "free flow" of commodities, ideas and people in a global dimension seems to have grasped the crucial features of societal processes since 1989. Borders and boundaries on the other hand seem to be outdated, as if they belong to a vanished historical epoch. However, developments in recent years have shown that borders – although in modified and different shapes and forms – still play a decisive role. Recent tragic incidents in the Mediterranean Sea, for instance the suffering of refugees, as well as the armed conflict in the Ukraine are an indicator for the remaining importance of materializing demarcations as well as the dynamics of demarcation discourses.


In view of these processes, KOSMOS Summer University 2015 is dedicated to two central fields of research that have been developed partly in Berlin-based projects ( in recent years:


The first field, Phantom Borders, will continue research initiated by the project "Phantom Borders in Eastern and Central Europe", which deals with the reappearance of former imperial borders – that lost their political meaning many years ago. This approach enables the critical analysis of contemporary ways to reintroduce vanished border lines consciously or non-consciously in social practices, discourses, etc.

The second focus will be on the seemingly opposite phenomenon: the way obstacles for movement and communication as well as modern borders are re-established. With this in mind, we will discuss research on issues involving new ways of border-control, bio-politics, methods of migration, etc. We will employ the experiences gained in South-Eastern Europe in order to put the theme into a European context and investigate the effects of global processes particularly on European border regimes.


The main objective of this year’s KOSMOS Summer University (organized by the Chair for South-East European History and the Chair for South Slavic Languages and Cultures) is to bring all these different approaches together in order to better understand dynamics of imposing boundaries and the ways of surmounting them. This simultaneously promotes an enhanced understanding of societal processes which are characterized by various types of "demarcation" while traditional ones seem to vanish at the same time.


The event thereby brings together young researchers from different backgrounds to generate a creative and interactive learning environment. The program will include tutorials and research highlights by outstanding experts in their field as well as critical analyses of the literature and the development of innovative ideas (proposals) in smaller interdisciplinary teams. Due to the interdisciplinary perspective of the Summer School, papers from all research areas are welcome, particularly History, Cultural-Anthropology, Geography, Ethnology and Linguistics.


Confirmed speakers include

Nathalie Clayer, Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques, EHESS Paris

Hannes Grandits, Chair for South-East European History, HU Berlin

Sarah Green, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki

Béatrice von Hirschhausen, Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin/Paris

Sevasti Trubeta, Department of Sociology, University of the Aegean, Mytilene

Christan Voß, Chair for South Slavic Languages and Cultures, HU Berlin

Paul Weindling, History of Medicine, Oxford Brookes University


To apply for KOSMOS 2015, please submit the following:

Curriculum Vitae

Letter of Motivation (addressing the question "Why do you want to attend?")

Letter of Reference


If interested, please send your application until 10th of March 2015 to:

Dr. Nenad Stefanov

Coordinator KOSMOS Summer-University 2015


For further information: