The 2nd World Conference of the Association for Borderlands Studies took place on July 10-14 2018 in Vienna and Budapest. Dr Ivan Kozachenko, representing MEITS, was in attendance.
Almost 400 scholars from every continent attended the event and presented their research in more than 120 panels and roundtables. The conference was organised by the joint teams of the University of Vienna and Central European University lead by Dr Machteld Venken. The conference theme was ‘Border-Making and its Consequences: Interpreting Evidence from the ‘post-Colonial’ and ‘post-Imperial’ 20th Century’ and it had a strong focus on various ways borders can be conceptualised and researched. Special attention was paid to the historical heritage and the multilingualism of the Habsburg Empire. As well as being explored in a series of panels and roundtables, this subject was also investigated through the ‘Citizen Science Experiment’: undergraduate students from the countries of the former Habsburg Empire interviewed border scholars and discussed with them various aspects of meanings of borders. More than 100 interviews were recorded for further analysis. The findings of this study will be presented on this site: http://www.univie.ac.at/talkingborders/digitalcafe.php
The panel ‘The Empire Strikes Back?: “Re-Making” the Borders between Russia and Ukraine since the Euromaidan’ organised by Dr Kozachenko took place at the Central European University on 14 July 2018. The goal of this panel was to provide a conceptual framework for understanding the re-making of the borders during the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and to evaluate the role of historical legacies, national identities, and languages in the ongoing events. The panel with chaired by Dr Paul Richardson (University of Birmingham) with Ivan Kozachenko, Tatiana Zhurzhenko (Russia in Global Dialogue), Volodymyr Kravchenko (University of Alberta), and Jon Roozenbeek (University of Cambridge) presenting their research. In addition, Prof Jeremy Smith (University of East Finland) acted as a discussant.
Dr Kozachenko’s presentation explored how national identities and borders (real, linguistic and cultural) between Ukraine and Russia are being represented and ‘imagined’ within on- and offline public spheres in the city of Kharkiv. Despite the fact that the panel was at the end of the conference, it was well attended and generated lively discussion. Overall, the ABS Conference served as a good meeting place for interdisciplinary scholars and stressed the importance of researching multilingual groups and societies, which are both separated and united by national borders.