Baltic Borderlands: Shifting Boundaries of Mind and Culture in the Borderlands of the Baltic Sea Region
Interdisciplinary Research Training Group 1540, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
The International Research Training Group 1540 „Baltic Borderlands: Shifting Boundaries of Mind and Culture in the Borderlands of the Baltic Sea Region”, a cooperation between Lund, Tartu and Greifswald, will investigate cultural implications of border change within the entire Baltic Sea Region (B.S.R.) from the 15th century until the present.
Besides the nine states bordering the Baltic Sea, the B.S.R. in a wider sense includes five hinterland states that form part of the Baltic Sea drainage basin. The underlying theoretical approach combines elements of open systems theory, network theory, neo-institutionalism and organisational development to explore the theoretical and analytical potential of concepts of borderland for the humanities and social sciences.
The scope of the borderland goes beyond the territorial dimension to encompass mental and cultural interactions in abstract space. This theoretical framework with an emphasis on the perception of borderlands and restructuring in the context of border change stands in marked contrast to the previous Research Training Group 619 „Contact Area Mare Balticum: Foreignness and Integration in the Baltic Region”, which focused on the construction of identity.
The participating disciplines will examine the boundaries, borders and adjacent borderland areas in the B.S.R., whereby the focus in Tartu will be on historical-anthropological studies, in Lund on human geography, cultural anthropology, and political economy, and in Greifswald on approaches from history, linguistics and social sciences. These complementary foci offer a broad and innovative spectrum of macro and micro-level perspectives on the issue of borders and borderlands.
In this context, the IRTG will explore four interdisciplinary themes:
(1) the emergence and transformation of historical borderlands;
(2) the cultural contexts of cross-border action in borderland areas;
(3) the economic permeability and persistence of borders;
(4) new border regimes: the political dimension of border formation and dissolution.
These four themes will be examined with particular focus on the overarching theorisation of synchronic and diachronic processes of change. These issues have yet to be investigated in a broader trans-regional perspective and form a productive, sustainable basis for doctoral research.
Dr. Alexander Drost
Tel.: +49 (0)3834 86-3341/-3309
Fax: +49 (0)3834 86-3333
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Studia Maritima Volume XXV, Szczecin 2012 with articles from Stefan Herfurth, Andreas Hohn, Odeta Mikstaite, Matthias Müller, Manja Olschowski, Stefanie Otte, Olga Sasunkevich, Stefan Striegler and Kord-Henning Uber