Beyond Borders: Conceptualizing Boundaries, Crossings and Disruptions
Borders, physical and conceptual, have long been identified as key forces that shape the ways people understand the world they live in. Discrete groups define themselves and others by establishing boundaries. By drawing lines, groups, territories, societies, languages, cultures, religions become organized. Individuals create differences and maintain, defend or attack identities in ways that become essentialized. These borders, as historical constructs expressed in ideas and concepts, need to be interrogated.
Borders, boundaries and frontiers are meaningfully created, creatively trespassed, constantly questioned, distorted and reconfigured. The distinctions they establish define theoretical, practical, disciplinary, methodological and conceptual problems about what is common and what is not. In order to think about notions of liminality, permeability, order, disorder, connection, disconnection, belongingness, foreignness, relation and separation, and how they function in both conceptual and non-conceptual dimensions, we need to examine the long history of boundaries.
Latin America, the geographical, cultural and conceptual region where the Twenty-Second International Conference on Conceptual History will take place this year, is a fitting territory in which to discuss languages, concepts, metaphors, representations and epistemologies of borders in all their forms. We invite established scholars, early-career researchers and advanced graduate students to come to Mexico in order to examine a crucial aspect of conceptual history: how we organize, classify and limit ourselves.
The organizers welcome proposals for papers and panels that critically look at boundaries in any form: how they are created, why they come to exist, the ways they are crossed or trespassed and the functions they perform in our world in the past and present.
Proposals can address, but need not be limited to, such topics in the conceptual history of borders as:
• Borders, boundaries and the construction of identities and identifications
• Chronological boundaries
• Gender boundaries
• Borders and border-crossing in oral and written languages and visual cultures
• Distinctions and disruptions in/of contexts
• The circulation of concepts and languages beyond borders
• The political and its limits
• Social categories as boundaries
• Delineations of the public and the private