Summer school “Border studies at intersections of subject boundaries”

Date: 08.12. bis 10.12.2021

The summer school is directed at PhD students of a broad spectrum of subjects (sociology, history, geography, philosophy, law, educational and political science, linguistics et al.) and thus wants to overthink the concept of "borders" at the intersection of subject boundaries from a comparative Franco-German as well as a European and international perspective.

The summer school is organised by the Centre Marc Bloch and the Humboldt University Berlin in cooperation with ICES and will take place in Berlin. The program is composed of plenary presentations and working groups with active design scope for PhD students (fieldwork, text production, presentations). Working languages will be English. If required, 2 ECTS can be obtained.

Please send your application (including CV and a motivational letter explaining your research topic and which of the three working areas that would fit in) in French, German or English by 31 March 2021 to the following address:  

The organizers are currently planning the reimbursement of travel costs as well as board and lodging for all participants.


"Border" is to be understood as a spatial, territorial, administrative and political concept – such as the enlargement and sovereignty of territories (in cities, states, federations, regions etc.) – but also in a figurative and metaphorical sense as the division between two groups (social classes, genres, linguistic and religious groups) or between different spheres (family vs. work, private space vs. public space). This implicates visible as well as invisible boundaries, imaginary or existing inner as well as outer boundaries. We are interested in spatial reconfigurations through demarcations, especially in the consequences of border crossings and the interplay of actors and institutions in the production and control of borders. Furthermore, academic subject boundaries will be a subject of discussion: How do border studies circulate between the disciplines and within different national academic cultures?

The summer school will be divided into three working areas:

1)   Spatial, territorial, administrative and political boundaries

This panel will work on the question how such boundaries are defined, constructed and overseen. Who possesses the right of interpretation and control and which consequences can occur for migrational processes and mobility? A focus will be on the level of actors in the definition and retention of boundaries, but also on the biographical consequences for those that intend to overcome them.

2)   Social, performative and metaphorical boundaries

The second working group will broach the topic of age limits in the intergenerational contract, boundaries between genres, classes, linguistic and/or religious groups and presented ethnicities. The interactions here between groups and institutions in the process of categorization, definition and control are fascinating, but so are negative effects and spatial reconfigurations from an intersectional perspective as well as duplications of spatial and social boundaries and their incoherencies: How, for example, does a young migrant in his home country have to pretend to be of age, and in his target country pretend to be a minor, in order to facilitate his journey?

3)   Boundaries between disciplines and academic cultures

The third working group addresses different disciplinary approaches to border studies between sociology, geography, law, political and educational science, linguistics and philosophy. What is the shape of methodological approach towards spatial reconfigurations that are produced through borders? How does interdisciplinarity have an effect on the circulation of methods and concepts and beyond? Academic cultural differences in regard to border studies between France, Germany, Europe as well as in a global comparison are also of interest here.

Summer School Border Studies (pdf)