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"Contact Zones and Border Regions" Conference
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11/23/2017 to 11/24/2017
When: Thursday, November 23, 2017
Where: Dresden
Contact: Institut für Sächsische Geschichte und Volkskunde e. V.

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Since the 1990s, “contact zones” as a concept of cultural science have been widely received and debated. Constituted by mutual exchange and conveyed directly or through media, temporary as well as transformable, they may be situated in a border area defined by a national state, between heterogeneous groups or diverse milieus and disciplines. Which heuristic qualities does the concept offer to investigate the interactions of actors who perceive them-selves as different? The conference examines the analytical potential of the concept with a topical focus on Central European border regions. They will be explored from a historical as well as from a contemporary perspective. An instrument highly sensitive to power, the concept also sharpens the view on the practices of negotiations of representations in museum and film. In the context of the conference, these will be seen as contact zones as well.

In a synopsis of the contributions, the inherent logic of the diverse contact zones will be investigated. On the other side, the analytical potential as well as the methodical implications of the concept will be consolidated.


Conference Program (November 23- 24, 2017):

Thursday, November 23

10:00amWelcome Address

Peter Wiegand (Provisional Director of the Saxon State Archive – Central State Archive Dresden)
Winfried Müller (Managing Director of the Institute of Saxon History and Cultural Anthropology)

Section 1
Moderation: Sarah Kleinmann · Dresden

10:30am: “Contact Zones: On Contouring a Concept”
Ira Spieker · Dresden

11:15am: “Methodological Principles of Cultural Scientific Border Research or: the Double City as Contact Zone”
Dominik Gerst & Hannes Krämer · Frankfurt/Oder

12:00pm: “Eurotown Gubin-Guben as a Laboratory of Contact with ‘Strangers’”
Dorota Bazuń & Mariusz Kwiatkowski · Zielona Góra

12:45pm–2:00pm: Lunchtime Break

Section 2
Moderation: Arnika Peselmann · Dresden

2:00pm: “Commemorative Cultures in the Resonance Space of Contemporary Music. The History of the European Center for Memory, Education and Culture / Meeting-point Music Messiaen in Zgorzelec”
Norbert Haase · Dresden

2:45pm: “Euroregion Glacensis: Cross-border Cooperation and Anxiety in the Czech-Polish Contact Zone”
Michal Tošner · Hradec Králové

3:30pm–4:00pm: Coffee Break

Section 3
Moderation: Dorota Bazún · Zielona Góra

4:00pm: “Hotel Sudety: Between Commodification and Reconciliation”
Hana Daňková · Prag

4:45pm: “Walking in the Czech-German Boderland: Educational Trails as a Materialized Contact Zone”
Karolína Pauknerová & Jiří Woitsch · Prag

5:30pm: “Contact Zones in the German-Czech-Polish Border Area – Comparative Perspectives”
Sarah Kleinmann & Arnika Peselmann · Dresden


Friday, November 24, 2017

Section 4
Moderation: Hana Daňková · Prag

9:00am: “‘Der Tintenterror der Bürokratie’: Joseph Roth’s Autoethnographic Engagement with Bureaucratic Contact Zones”
Kaleigh Bangor · Nashville

9:45am: “Negotation Strategies of Ethnographic Encounters by Camera”
Torsten Näser · Göttingen

10:30am–11:00am: Coffee Break

Section 5
Moderation: Uta Bretschneider · Kloster Veßra

11:00am: “From War Zone to Contact Zone? Museums, Memories and Objects of Migration”
Susannah Eckersley · Newcastle

11:45am: “The Museum as a ‚Contact Zone‘? Critical Reflections from Practice”
Elisabeth Tietmeyer · Berlin

12:30pm–1:30pm: Lunchtime Break

Section 6
Moderation: Ira Spieker · Dresden

1:30pm: “Through Time and Space: Contact and Social Demarcation in the Russian Exclave of Kaliningrad”
Rita Sanders · Köln

2:15pm: “Rural Peripheries as Multiple Cultural Contact Zones. Identities, Power and Agency in Western Bohemia”
Anja Decker · München

3:00pm–3:30pm: Concluding Discussion


The conference will be held in English and German.

A conference fee will not be charged.

Please register for the conference no later than November 15:

Institut für Sächsische Geschichte
und Volkskunde e. V.
0049 351 / 436 16 45

Sächsisches Staatsarchiv –
Hauptstaatsarchiv Dresden
Archivstraße 14
01097 Dresden

Conference chairs:
Ira Spieker / Sarah Kleinmann / Arnika Peselmann

For more information, visit

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