Borders and Borderlands

  • Postal address

    3-5 Woodland Road

    BS8 1TB Bristol

    United Kingdom

Organization profile

Organisation profile

Borders and Borderlands, a Faculty of Arts Research Cluster:

We are a group of textual critics, historians, geographers, and social scientists working on cultural texts, practices, and events positioned at border intersections. Our central aim is to study the purpose and nature of cultural practices in unstable multicultural and multilingual border environments where boundaries are permeable, often unmapped, re-mapped, or unmappable, and subject to political and military interventions.

Our working definition of 'borders' includes territorial, geographical, and political borders, but it also includes cultural and metaphorical borders, imagined spaces where interests and ideologies overlap and compete. We work in different time periods, from the classical and medieval centuries, when borders were constructed around empires and religions, to the modern centuries of state building and contemporary challenges to the idea of the nation state.

A central issue is that of identity in borderland communities and how it has been negotiated and experienced before and after the rise of distinctive nation-states. Other research questions focus on the mapping of borders, the representation of borders and marginal spaces in literary writing, the effects of religious movements across borders, and the linguistic identity of borderland communities. We aim to challenge the perceptual border between past and present and to ask how the experiences and records of pre-modern border cultures can inform our understanding of key issues of the contemporary world, including border control, migration, and transnationalism.

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