2nd  seminar of the 4th Cycle of ETHNOGRAFEIN Online Educational Seminars (2023-2024)

Critical dialogues, epistemological challenges, 
field experiences, creative texts

“Borders and boundaries revisited: 
Anthropological perspectives and public engagement”

Performance oikade (Aleksandros Plomaritis
[provided by Dr. Christina Grammatikopoulou]

The online seminars series ETHNOGRAFEIN, since its inception in the spring of 2021, aims to contribute to a critical and interdisciplinary discussion about the theory and practice of ethnography, the epistemology of research, the significance of embodied experience, and also the modes of dissemination of the anthropological knowledge produced to both academic and non-academic audiences. The anthropological endeavour, both as a mode of research practice and a form of political writing, is based on the fundamental epistemological premises of critical evaluation, empathy, reflection, and self-referentiality and highlights the significance of a multifaceted analysis for the understanding of the local to the global. 

Organisation and coordination: Fotini Tsibiridou – Ioannis Manos – Eleni Sideri

“Borders and boundaries revisited: 
Anthropological perspectives and public engagement”

The 4th period of the ETHNOGRAFEIN online seminars, starting in October 2023 with the title “Borders and boundaries revisited: Anthropological perspectives and public engagement“, sets the study of geopolitical borders as its point of departure to examine the diverse phenomena and processes that abound in the contemporary state border regions and have multilevel consequences for the border populations. 
By definition, studying borders and boundaries involves exploring the relationship between the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’, or the “Self” and the “Other”. However, this is not a study of clear-cut dichotomies but an analysis of the interplay of multiple, multilevel, coexisting, but not necessarily interconnected processes. Boundaries are configured and take shape within a historically determined frame. They are subject to transformations in socio-political and economic contexts and are characterised by institutionally organised asymmetrical power relations. The complex making of borders and boundaries often emerges as a continuous interaction between mobility and enclosure, communication, coexistence, exchange, interaction, sameness and otherness, separation, exclusion, segmentation, connection and disconnection.
The anthropological study of geopolitical borders and their populations by anthropology was systematised in the mid-1990s. It was initially based on two paradigms: the study of the USA-Mexico and European borders. Nowadays, analysing social phenomena and cultural processes concerning borders and boundaries transcends disciplinary boundaries. Novel approaches such as the crοsslocations framework and the current discussion on decolonising methods and epistemologies have expanded the analytical and conceptual significance of the concepts of border and boundary. New methodological and interpretative tools have been created to study politics, trans-border mobility, materiality, transnationalism, topologies and genealogies of migration and refugeeness, border economics, and nation-state policies concerning spatial and cultural diversity, minority rights, and performative culture. 
Based on detailed explorations of ethnographic research and anthropological insights, the 4th cycle of the ETHNOGRAFEIN online seminars critically examines the theoretical, epistemological and methodological complexities surrounding the study of geopolitical borders and their imposed dichotomies. Moreover, it discusses anthropology’s potential to bring forth the subtleties of human voices often overshadowed by macro narratives and create an inclusive, comprehensive dialogue in the public sphere that demonstrates the multiplicity of lived experiences.

13 November 2023

“Animal Crosslocations: more than human encounters with European border regimes”

Sarah Green 
Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki, Finland


Sarah Green: Animal Crosslocations: more than human encounters with European border regimes
In March 2021, a giant container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking traffic for six days. Twenty ships that could not pass were transporting livestock. Live animal transport has quadrupled over the last fifty years, with the EU becoming the global leader in that trade: more than two billion animals are transported across borders annually. International airports and sea ports have veterinary services and quarantine facilities.

While all that is going on, wild boar numbers have massively increased across the European region, and they wander across borders at will, triggering suspicions that the people on the other side of the border are somehow causing the problem. Elsewhere, the barbed wire and fences that were put up in parts of the European hinterlands in 2015 in efforts to discourage human migrants were ensnaring many wild animals that normally crossed these regions to do whatever they needed to do.

Then there are the many and various visitor animals, often called invasive species, such as lion fish in the Mediterranean, parakeets in Madrid and Canada geese just about everywhere: they are also border crossers, who sometimes attract the deadly phrase, “invasive species.” And finally, there are trillions of microbes, some of them pathogens (SARS, MERS, Ebola, Dengue, SARS-CoV2, etc), that accompany many animals, including the humans, across these borderlands and across bodily borders; they sometimes cause serious consternation for people. This presentation will take an overview of the encounters between more than human entities human borders as a means to think otherwise about the implications of current border transformations.

Sarah Green is professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. She is a specialist on the anthropology of space, place, borders and location. Her regional focus has been Europe, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Greece and the UK. In recent years, she led an ERC Advanced Grant project called Crosslocations, which experimented with what ethnography would look like if ‘the field’ was understood as a place of overlapping connections with, and separations from, other places: a dynamic and relational understanding of location, one with many crosscutting borders, rather than as a fixed place with fixed borders. Her own part of this project involved studying the way that nonhuman entities encounter human borders: livestock, wild animals and microbes. This talk is based on that research.

Only those participants who wish to receive certificates of attendance register in the following form: https://forms.gle/31tSiiNHSTt7AzUF9

The registration form will receive answers one week before the seminar.

 The seminars are held on Mondays from 16:00-18:00


Seminar PlatformZOOM

Link  https://zoom.us/j/8364531775?pwd=OVg3YVZlbmVCYWs3S0JYcEFGYlV1QT09
Meeting ID: 836 453 1775     Passcode: KB2JKa