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CfP- Desbordes/Undoing Borders: Towards New Border Epistemologies

Deadline June 30, 2021

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For the 7th edition of post(s), we are accepting academic essays that examine problematics proposed by our new guest editor, Astrid M. Fellner. This issue provides a space for explorative investigations of different approaches to borders, borderlands, border knowing, and the undoing or unknowing of borders, focusing on interactions between material and immaterial manifestations of the border and the various forms of medial, visual, literary, and other cultural expressions.

In which ways can artistic practices undo borders? What does an undoing of borders entail? What type of new border epistemologies arise in interstitial spaces? The concept of the border has been used as a very powerful metaphor in the conceptualization of the multiplicities of identities, giving rise to the idea of “mestiza consciousness” (Anzaldúa 1987), which emerges in the in-between that allows contradictions and ambiguities in the production of new forms of identities (mestizaje or hybridity). This borderlands consciousness gives rise to border thinking. Pensamiento fronterizo (Mignolo 2000) describes a way of thinking which is deeply rooted in the subaltern experience of coloniality and the borderlands while at the same time freeing thought processes from colonial and modern epistemologies in order to promote alternative, decolonial ways of knowing, thinking and becoming. Western norms of knowledge production have suppressed ways of knowing of Indigenous communities and cultures of the Global South, contributing to what Boaventura de Sousa Santos has termed “epistemicide.” Border thinking engages in a critical re-thinking of what knowledge is and how it has been produced in the Western philosophical tradition. Exposing an awareness of modernity’s underside—that is coloniality—border dwellers employ border thinking as an embodied consciousness and epistemic location from which reality is lived and thought. Border dwellers, therefore, embody border cultures, which are characterized by a productive borderlands poetics, that is representational forms of productions which negotiate, perform, and constitute borders at the intersection of territorial and political borders and textual configurations.

The idea of borders neatly separating territories, entities, and categories has recently been challenged by an understanding of border practices which suggest that borders are densely intervowen fabrics of various discursive and material practices. Borders, therefore, should not only be grasped in the sense of a geopolitical line but as cultural signifiers that mark specific modes and histories of being, thinking, doing, making sense, and sensing. Recent theorizations such as “desbordes” (Viteri 2014) or “bordertextures” (Fellner 2020) have championed approaches that do not examine spatial, material, temporal or cultural aspects in isolation but investigate their intersectional and performative interactions with the aim of forging new epistemologies of borders.