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11th Transatlantic Students Symposium

Borders in Transit:
Rural and Urban Liminalities in the US and Poland

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Oregon State University,
University of Warsaw
Poland, March 21-28, 2013


Program Description

The symposium looks at the political borders of the U.S. and Poland as they shifted over time and examines the spaces and the periods of liminality this shifting has produced, focusing especially on transitions of the political order, the economy, and culture. As the American frontier advanced geo-graphically from the time of the early settlements till the end of the nineteenth century, and as the U.S. continues to redefine its interest in various locations around the globe, the Polish borders also shifted over time to disappear altogether by the end of the eighteenth century, and to be variously redrawn in the course of the nineteenth and the twentieth century. Today, the political, legal, and economic context of the EU points to new questions about national and supranational borders.

The shifting American frontier and the changing Polish borders reflected the political order of the day and the ambitions of various national and international players. They also produced economic effects and modes of cultural exchange specific to the borderland spaces opened up and closed off by the changing shape of the borders, in keeping with the historical flux of conditions that alter-nately allowed and limited access, fostering or constricting development and producing particular geographies of the mind. The similarities and the differences between the American and the Polish contexts afford ample opportunity for comparative study of such border phenomena, and aspects of this comparative perspective will be taken up in the symposium papers and discussions, in the pre-paratory and on-site seminars and workshops, and on the occasion of on-site visits in Poland.

Symposium Week Field Trips

Workshops: at Gdansk university

Site Visits: Gdansk, Malbork Castle, Jedwabne (Pogrom Memorial), Bialystok, Kruszyniany (traditional Tatar villlage), Bialowieza Forest, Majdanek, Lublin, Kazimierz Dolny, and sites within Warsaw and Berlin

Institutional Visits: Gdansk University, Wyspa Art Institute, Solidarnosc Museum, Arsenal Museum, Zamenhof Center, Frontex

Total participants: 33


Dr. Philipp Kneis, Dr. Allison Davis-White Eyes,
Dr. Brent Steel (OSU),
PD Dr. Reinhard Isensee (Humboldt),
Dr. Tomasz Basiuk (Warsaw)

Student Organizers

Andrew Johnson, Sophie Bennetzen, Christina Rechenberger (Humboldt); Doris Gonzalez Gómez, Paul Meuse, Meghan Rhynard-Geil (OSU); Ania Micinska, Adina Nistor, Janek Pytalski (Warsaw)

Student Participants (not organizers)

18 (Humboldt: 4, OSU: 8, Warsaw: 6)

Symposium Materials

Complete Report on the 11th Symposium

Syllabus for Preparatory Class at OSU

Partners and Supporters

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: International Office,
Humboldt-Universität, Philosophical Faculty II,
American Studies Program,
Humboldt-Universität, Students Union English and American Studies

Oregon State University:
Public Policy Graduate Program,
Diversity & Cultural Engagement (Intercultural Student Services)

University of Warsaw, American Studies Center

Max Kade Foundation

Holiday Land Richter Reisen, Berlin

see also: Latest Program Report

back to: Symposia

Marlbork Castle

Bialowieza Forest

Majdanek Concentration Camp

Lublin Castle

Symposium Conference

The Symposium Group in Warsaw

Transatlantic Students Symposia