Winter school 2017

Boundaries, borders and walls: What of universality?

University of Padova - 20-24 February 2017

As we witness the re-emergence of physical, cultural and political structures of separation between countries, peoples and cultural experiences, the aim of the 2017 Winter School is to problematize different - general and particular – meanings of borders and walls.

From to fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 to now, new walls are being raised: from the barrier that separates Israeli from Palestinian territory and people; to fences and police patrols to stop the cross-border migration of refugees fleeing war zones in Africa and the Middle East; to the physical, as well as discursive barriers to prevent economic migrants seeking a more decent life somewhere else.

While the symbolic destruction of the iron curtain has been followed by the dissemination of new ‘walls’ – as boundaries between and within nation-states increasingly separate impoverished or migrant districts from more affluent neighborhoods – this reality of barriers and fences has come to produce further separations: symbolic, discursive and communicative boundaries and barriers which prevent the possibility of dialogue between cultures and religions, communities and human experiences. In this context, is it possible to think of universality?

Winter School 2017 will focus on issues including

  • Colonial and Postcolonial Walls: what of universality?
  • Mediated walls, bounded communications
  • Boundaries, borders and walls: educational challenges 
  • Decolonising gazes in contemporary Europe
  • Reframing borders

Participants will be invited to discuss the changing notions of society and politics in a global society; to reflect on new forms of conflict deriving from the (re)definition of borders and boundaries, of physical and symbolic, as well as disciplinary nature. They will engage in discussions to elaborate on new and emerging forms of political participation, and new and emerging walled spaces of citizenship.

Here WS 2017 final programme.

Here the leaflet for the opening session (Monday February 20, 9.15 – 12.45 – Aula Nievo, main building of Padova University)

Here you have access to speakers’ presentations abstracts.

Language of school: English (with possibility of materials in other languages)

Winter School 2017 will be an intensive 5-day course, bringing together international scholars and students from a range of disciplines and geo-cultural background.

The course will thus consist of a total of 38/40 hours of lectures, interactive sessions and workshops organized as follows:

  • Opening Round Table (public event)
  • Lectures in the morning
  • Thematic seminars and/or workshops in the afternoons
  • Presentations of students’ research
  • Closing Session

The course is aimed at Italian, European and International graduates (max. 22), Master’s and PhD students from different disciplinary areas, such as Political and Social Sciences, Communications Studies, Language and Mediation. The organizers aim to guarantee a diversity of participating students on the basis of geo-cultural background, discipline of study and gender. The 2017 edition will also give continuity to a positive and consolidated practice: that of offering participating students the possibility to present their own research activities and to receive feedback from senior scholars and other participants.

The Winter School particularly welcomes PhD students from non-European regions, and from low income countries and countries in democratic transition, who want to master their understanding of current challenges to the implementation of democratic principles, in times where separation and marginalization are the everyday experience of walled politics. Scholarships are available for students from such areas.