New Borders in Europe?

Annual meeting in the Danish European Community Studies Association, 8-9 October, 2020

The DSE is Denmarks regional organisation within the wider ECSA scholarly community.

The conference is organised by the Centre for Border Region Studies, Department of Political Science and Public Management, in Alsion in Sønderborg, SDU.

Keynote speaker: Olivier Thomas Kramsch, Center for Border Studies, Radboud University.


New Borders in Europe?

2020 is the centenary of the current Danish-German state border, which was settled by two plebiscites. When the line was drawn in 1920, the partition was understood as a constructive and peaceful way of solving and preventing conflicts. One consequence was splitting a region, Schleswig, which had for centuries been a united territory. Another related consequence was the creation of two minority groups: a Danish minority in Germany and a German minority in Denmark. The models of recognition and integration of minorities in their host societies are considered European models for minority integration and protection. However, their path to this status has not been an easy one.

Not the least incited by EU initiatives, a more liberal philosophy has influenced this border-region since the 1990s, encouraging open borders and mobility across them, with Denmark signing the Schengen agreement as the triumph of the liberal worldview. The Danish-German state border was thus opened in 2001, yet movement and cooperation has only been moderate in these parts. And even when many found it hilarious in 2011 when the Danish rightwing political party, Dansk Folkeparti, first sounded its wishes to re-introduce physical border controls, in January 2016, in the aftermath of the 2015 influx of refugees to Europe, “temporary” controls were introduced and they have been prolonged now for more than four years.

The developments in the Danish-German border region during the last hundred years are not unique. The processes described above mirror developments in the entire European space; with the fall of empires and what was meant to be the final consolidation of nation-states after the First World War, partition became the order of the day in Europe (and beyond); consequently many formerly integrated regions were divided and several national minorities became part of the European landscape; the partition paradigm has been challenged in more recent times, when the Schengen-system made open European borders a reality, if not for all, then at least for most member-state citizens; and the populist turn in European politics with its agenda to re-border a Europe of Nation States, closing borders is an overall European trend, not just “a Danish thing”.

This conference aims to raise questions about borders and borderings in contemporary Europe, by inter alia, mapping law and politics, tracing histories and thinking spatial relations and interactions, as European phenomena. The aim is also to think beyond the current construction of Europe, to recall what Europe was, and to re-think what it is and what it might become, considering the current political turbulence in Europe. Central sub-themes in this broader thematic issue are: Migration and the European border regime; European borders in a time of neocolonialism; Borders, securitisation and new technologies; The future of Schengen, the future of Europe. Although the focal theme is Europe and borders, papers are welcome on other topics dealing with Europe and the European Union.

The conference is multi-intra-inter-disciplinary in scope, aiming at bringing together academic disciplines and research fields researching Europe and the European Union. We thus welcome panel and paper proposals from a broad range of disciplines. One of the main purposes of the DSE is to bring together scholars interested in Europe and in the European Union, to make it possibility to explore and network the research done on Europe and the European Union at Danish Universities.

Suggestions for panels should be sent to Dorte Jagetic Andersen doa@sam.sdu.dk by June 1, 2020.
Upload abstracts on the website by June 15, 2020.
Sign up  by Sept. 4, 2020.

For practical information concerning the conference check the conference website or contact Charlotte von Holstein clh@sam.sdu.dk.