ABSTRACTS (following the presenting order)

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Wednesday, November 6



Tuulikki Kurki

The paper focuses on the multi-layered and multi-voiced characteristics of national borders and borderlands which become visible when the borders are studied from the point of view of cultural studies. The paper is based on research on writers and literature at the Finnish Russian national borderland from the late 20th century until the early 21st century. The paper asks, can a code of writing about borders and borderlands be traced? How does the code control the public signification of the border and borderlands in writing? In addition, the paper introduces a short summary about European cultural research on various borders during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Academic biography

Tuulikki Kurki is an Adjunct Professor in folklore research and a Senior Researcher in cultural research in the Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland.  Since 2003, Kurki had two individual research projects (2003-2007) and one international research project (2010-2013) funded by the Academy of Finland. The individual research projects discussed Finnish language literature in the former Soviet Karelia and the contemporary Republic of Karelia in Russia. The international research project "Writing Cultures and Traditions at Borders" which is done in co-operation between the universities of Eastern Finland and Tartu, focuses on amateur and professional writers at the Finland-Russia and Estonia-Russia national borderlands.

SESSION 1: Border Crossers and Crossovers



Kirsi Laurén

Finland and Estonia are independent countries having the Gulf of Finland between them. However, during the WWII Estonia became occupied by Soviet Union whereas Finland managed to preserve its' independence. In consequence, Estonia became part of Soviet Union and the Finnish-Estonian border was closed. In the course of over 40 years Soviet period Estonia and Estonians became almost unknown for Finns. In 1965 the regular shipping across the Gulf of Finland started and it was again possible to travel to Estonia as a tourist. Today the border has almost disappeared and for Finns Estonia is among the most familiar countries to travel.

The time-span of this study concern the period extending from the 1960's Soviet Estonia till 2000's independent Estonia. The research material consists of written narratives collected in writing collection called  "Across the Gulf of Finland" [Yli Suomenlahden] organized by the Finnish Literature Society's Folklore Archive in 2010. The research questions are: What kinds of memories and perceptions Finns have about Finnish-Estonian border and travelling to Soviet Estonia and todays' Estonia? What kinds of cultural and symbolic borders narratives represent? The concept of otherness is use

Academic biography

Kirsi Laurén is a university lecturer (Folklore Studies) at the School of Humanities, University of Eastern Finland. Her current research focuses on everyday life at borders and the research is part of the Writing Cultures and Traditions at Borders -project. Her fields of interest include also environmental culture and methodological issues of written narratives.



Risto Järv

The paper analyses written narratives sent in response to the 2009 folklore collecting campaign "Minu mälestuste Soome" (‘Finland in My Memories'), which was organized by the Estonian Literary Museum and the Finnish Institute in Estonia and which focused on topics surrounding border-crossing in the informants' responses. The collecting campaign was inspired by a similar campaign, "Silloin kerran Georg Otsilla/ Yli Suomenlahden" (‘That Time aboard Georg Ots/ Over the Gulf of Finland'), which took place the same year and was carried out by Finnish folklorists. A significant number of the nearly one hundred responses sent to the Estonian Folklore Archives mentioned next to travel memories the authors' experiences of crossing the border, contacts with border guards and customs officers, and the long and tedious process of acquiring a visa. In some responses, the topic of border-crossing and everything related to it was elaborated on at surprisingly great length.

While the vast majority of the written narratives sent to the collecting campaign are memories about travelling to Finland in the Soviet period, from the 1960s to 1980s, there is also a smaller number of narratives about travelling after the restoration of independence in Estonia in the 1990s. Also, many informants compared the travel experiences of both periods. The border was crossed by sea from Tallinn to Helsinki and by land through Russia. The informants described vivid and memorable incidents—for example, the austerity of Soviet border patrols and customs officers, the sneaky ways of tourists smuggling "contraband" like bibles, magazines or books, currency or alcohol. The responses of some informants reveal a striking contrast, describing how people who had travelled deeper into Finland were completely bewildered by the lack of border control with the other Nordic countries. While the narratives about the Soviet period often involved a contrast between the conduct of the local border guards and the fastidiousness of the Finnish customs, in the responses describing travelling in the 1990s the informants expressed having had more negative associations with crossing the border to Finland.

Academic biography                

Risto Järv is the head of Estonian Folklore Archives at the Estonian Literary Museum (2009–) and a senior Lecturer of Estonian Folklore in the University of Tartu. His research projects are mainly concerned with preparing and compiling the scholarly anthologies of Estonian folk tales. In recent years, he has explored mostly folktales and their modern manifestations, and the relations of folklore and tourism. Risto Järv was one of the main organisers of the 2009 collection campaign "Finland in My Memories". He has carried out extensive folklore collection expeditions and has organized a series of field expeditions in the Seto region, on the border of Estonia and Russia.



Tuija Saarinen

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union the border crossing was difficult for a Soviet. Free travelling was impossible and a permission to travel was given only those evaluated politically trustworthy. In these circumstances alternative ways to cross the border were created. One was defection and the other organized marriage. My paper concentrates to determine what kind of influences these actions had. It asks what kind of code the actions formulated: alternative border crossings functioned both as political manifestation and as challenging the resistance of a border.

Defection is seen as an individual level political manifestation which had political influences. Defection was only an action of one person, but it was largely taken into account in the Soviet Union. Authorities and the political elite became aware of it especially if the defector was well known citizen and worth for the society like specialists or artists.

Organized marriage with a Finnish citizen was a way to get a permission to leave Soviet Union. Sometimes a detached third party was paid of the arrangement. In other cases the parties were motivated only by political intention. The sources of this paper are Finnish magazine articles.

Academic biography

Tuija Saarinen, PhD, is a researcher in the project of Writing Cultures and Traditions at Borders at the Karelian Institute at the University of Eastern Finland. In her current research, she is examining various texts in Finnish popular magazines. These texts illustrate political and cultural situations about the Soviet Union, its citizens, and furthermore, how the relationship between Finns and the Soviet Union has been depicted in these texts both on the individual and social levels during the Cold War period.


SESSION 2: Transitive and Transnational Identities and Subjects



Olga Davydova-Minguet

In this presentation I analyze the discoursive formation of Russian diaspora. While in 1990s "the diasporization of Russia" occurred, in 2000s it became quite forgotten theme in the rhetorics of Russian authorities. In the turn of 2010s Russian diaspora is again actualized in the discoursive production of the authorities.

Academic biography

Olga Davydova-Minguet is a researcher at the Karelian Institute at University of Eastern Finland.



Jopi Nyman

Contemporary narratives of forced migration often follow the refugee's journey towards Europe, showing various ways in which the migrants cross borders, legally and illegally, with the aim of achieving security in Europe. This paper addresses the issue by presenting a case study of the role and representation of borders, bordering, and borderscapes in "Last Thoughts on the Medusa" (2008), a short story of African refugees on their way to Europe by the black British/European writer Jamal Mahjoub (b. 1960). This story continues Mahjoub's long-standing interest in remapping of Europe and its historical construction. His novels such as The Carrier (1998) and The Drift Latitudes (2006) have explored Europe's relations with its immigrant others in both historical and contemporary contexts from the perspectives of postcolonialism, cultural hybridity, and transculturation. As a part of this project, "Last Thoughts on the Medusa" seeks to capture the perspective of the illegal immigrant seeking to cross into Europe from Africa, and thus invites a border reading.

In this paper, I will read "Last Thoughts on the Medusa" in the contexts of recent postcolonial and transcultural theorizations of the border that emphasize the transformation of identity as an experience generated by the boundary crossing. In so doing I will examine the journey of the story's protagonist from Africa to Europe by paying particular attention to the borderscape of the story. In my analysis I will pay particular attention to the ways in which the story foregrounds the rhetorical trope of metonymy as a means of narrating transnational identity as suggested by the literary theorist Stephen Clingman. I will suggest that for Mahjoub's story border-crossings are not mere characteristics of contemporary globalization but they are grounded historically and culturally. As seen in the character of the young African boy who makes his way to the Louvre, the transformation of identity is both personal and cultural as well as national. In other words, "Last Thoughts on the Medusa imagines and explores alternative spaces of identity questioning the maintenance of borders.

Academic biography

Jopi Nyman is Professor and Head of English at the University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu Campus. He is the author of several books in the fields of literary and cultural studies including the monograph Home, Identity, and Mobility in Contemporary Diasporic Fiction (Rodopi, 2009), and the co-edited collections Locality, Memory, Reconstruction: The Cultural Challenges and Possibilities of Former Single-Industry Communities (CSP, 2012) and Mobile Narratives: Travel, Migration, and Transculturation (Routledge, 2014). His current research interests include transcultural and border narratives and human-animal studies.


Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola

In geographical research state borders are understood as multidimensional phenomena, directing and manifesting themselves in various institutional and everyday practices. Once a state border has been established, it often gradually becomes an inseparable part of the spatial activities and mindscapes of citizens. Borders and accompanying institution channel our activities and create order to the world. Studies have also shown that national borders play a crucial role in the identity narratives of an individual and collectivities. Immigrants and those people who live near border are often seen to carry the borders within themselves, and the border even affects the way they organize their private places and activities. Borders have also become more hierarchical so that their meanings are very different to different people and groups of people. This presentation asks whether border hierarchies and multidimensionality are sufficiently taken into account in border studies and introduces a study on borders and gender.

Academic biography

Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola is a post-doctoral researcher of Regional Policy and Development at the Department of Geography in the University of Oulu and an adjunct professor in Human Geography (especially border studies) in the University of Eastern Finland. She has currently published papers on the theme of borders and identity and of the European Union border governance. She is currently the principal investigator on a post-doctoral research project "Border management, biopolitics, and narratives of border crossings" at the Academy of Finland.

Thursday, November 7

SESSION 3: Border Rhetoric



Johan Schimanski

This paper aims to contribute to the formulation of a comparative framework for the analysis of border concepts in cultural production, using immigrant narratives as examples. Grounding interpretations of bordering in the cultural sphere involves correlating the performative force of aesthetic works in a social context to an analysis of content and form. In narrative texts, border concepts are performed through the use of various rhetorical figures for the border, along with the narrative and formal structures of border-crossings. Close border poetics readings result in a repertoire of border figures, keys to the text's negotiation of border concepts. But what presuppositions about the border concept do such readings imply?

Literary postcolonial immigrant narratives in Norway cater to disparate desires for knowledge, identification, debate, and aesthetic experience. A new generation of immigrant community authors who have spent parts or the whole of their childhoods in Norway have acquired a competence in Norwegian literary culture. Novels and autobiographies address transnational mobility and emphasize territorial border crossings. My examples here are novels by the children of subcontinental immigrants: Nasim Karim's Izzat – For ærens skyld (1996), and Romeo Gill's Harjeet (2008) and Ung mann i nytt land (2011).

Academic biography

Johan Schimanski is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Tromsø. His 1997 dissertation was on genre, nation and border poetics in a Welsh-language nationalist time travel novel, and since then he has published on representations of borders in literary texts from Norway, Wales, Southern Africa, Central Europe and France. Recently his focus has widened to include analysis of films and artworks. Collaboration since 1994 with Stephen F. Wolfe and other colleagues has resulted in symposia and publications on borders and literature, including the co-edited anthology Border Poetics De-Limited (2007) and special issues of Journal of Borderlands Studies, Journal of Northern Studies, and Nordlit. With Stephen he leads the Border Poetics/Border Culture research group at the University of Tromsø, the Research Council of Norway-funded project Border Aesthetics, and the work package on "Border Crossings and Cultural Production" within the EU research project EUBORDERSCAPES. He has been Visiting Professor of Border Studies at the University of Glamorgan, and a visiting researcher at the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis; at present he is a visiting researcher at Sogn og Fjordane University College. He has also co-coordinated a research project on arctic discourses, is co-cordinator of the new research project Arctic Modernities, and is involved in a co-operation between the Universities of Tromsø and Amsterdam on "disorientation". Central articles include ‘Crossing and Reading: Notes towards a Theory and a Method' (2006) and ‘Reading Gender in Border-Crossing Narratives' (2010).



Asta Kuusinen

The amelioration of hybridity as a racial self-designation, as a political position, and as a paradigm of intellectual inquiry has revealed a vexing ambiguity about the "third space" of border crossings and transnational identities. Since Gloria Anzaldúa's landmark publication, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), the border has, however, played a central role in the evolution of artistic as well as academic productions of Chicana/o self-identity.

My paper will elucidate the socio-political specificity of the U.S.-Mexico border and then focus on discussing the analogies between Anzaldúa's literature and Chicana/o art photography in the representation of the border as a site of acute physical and mental pain, rather than that of an idealized cosmopolitan identity frequently celebrated, for example, by many literary critics.

The following questions constitute the overarching theme of the paper. How does Anzaldúa's concept "mestiza consciousness," la conciencia de la mestiza, articulate the body politic of the Mexican American population in the U.S.? And, consequently, how does the conceptualization of Chicana/o subjectivity alter when we move from academic discourse into the space of art expression, which, presumably, tolerates more ambiguity of meaning due to its greater freedom to appropriate from various modes of representation?

Academic biography

Dr. Asta Kuusinen is a senior lecturer in art education at the University of Eastern Finland. She completed her doctoral dissertation, Shooting from the Wild Zone: A Study of the Chicana Art Photographers Laura Aguilar, Celia Álvarez Muñoz, Delilah Montoya, and Kathy Vargas, at the University of Helsinki in 2006. Her publications include the articles "Ojo de la Diosa: Becoming Divine in Delilah Montoya's Art Photography" in Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Spring 2008, and "The Machine in the Desert: Decolonial History and El Límite," in Mediating Chicana/Chicano Culture: Multicultural American Vernacular, 2006. Her article on Delilah Montoya's photo-installation La Guadalupana is forthcoming in 2013 in Chicana/o Art: A Critical Anthology. She can be contacted at asta.kuusinen@uef.fi.



Thekla Musäus

In the 1930s in Finland the notion of "bolshevist threat" to Finland was a permanent feature, especially among conservative academics. Gathering conservatives in a spirit of nationalism the "Academic Karelia Society" in its publications spoke the language of an anti-Russian ideology. Also poets and philosophers combined these rhetorics with a general notion of confrontation between West and East, Europe and Asia.

On the other side of the border the Stalinist literature had to speak the voice of communist superiority: The bourgeois, capitalist enemy in the West was opposed to the struggle of honourable men and women who were willing to defend their new achievements in the Soviet Union to the last.

I want to investigate on the rhetorics of these opposite ideologies. I'm analysing the works of panfennists, on the other hand soviet sources as literature and propagandistic utterings about the Karelian border in pre-war times. My question is, if the soviet claim to represent the international working class and the panfennic idea of uniting all fennic people were able to undermine the general feature of the "enemy on the other side of the border"?

Academic biography

Thekla Musäus has accomplished her studies to a M.A. in Slavonic Languages, Finnish Studies and German as a foreign language. She is Research Associate (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) and PhD student at the Chair of Finnish Literature and Linguistics, Department of Finnish and Scandinavian Studies, Greifswald University. Her main research interests are: Karelia in Finnish and Russian Literature, border regions and their literary representation.




Sarah Green

There has been a lot of talk about borders in recent years, a sure sign that something is up with them. The three most frequently mentioned factors involved in these border disturbances are: globalisation; new information and communications technologies; and neoliberal ideology and political economy, along with negative reactions to them. Sometimes all of those are mentioned at once, as a means to explain how or why the people, places and things that borders mark have changed, as have the relations and separations between them.  At the same time, most of these debates assume that borders have certain enduring characteristics which makes it possible to recognise them as being borders in the first place. These assumed characteristics point to the particular form of border that is currently undergoing change: it is the kind that developed in post-Westphalian Europe; it is imagined to be a line neatly separating one place and 'its' people from another; it is most closely associated with states that claim legitimacy through representing, or even embodying, a nation; and it is guarded as a means to defend the integrity of that nation. It is that kind of border which appears to have come under pressure, and is no longer what it used to be. This paper suggests that the underlying coherence of the story that is told about what borders are and what they do has been unravelling through a shift in the ways that borders have become entangled with other things in the world in more recent years: not so much a change in their location, but more a change in their relations with places, peoples and ideas. A partial account of some of the stories and visualisations of that process will be discussed in this paper.

Academic biography

Sarah Green is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. She has focused her research on issues relating to border dynamics and to questions of space, place and location more widely since the early 1990s. She is the Chair of EastBordNet, a 27-country research network studying border regions across the Eastern peripheries of Europe. She has published widely on border issues, with the most recent book, Borderwork (2013).


SESSION 4: Inclusive/Exclusive and Porous Borders



Anna A. Dekalchuk

Finnish-Russian border is often considered by the citizens of Northwest Federal district (NWFD) of Russia as almost non-existent, though the customs is duly in place and long queues of cars make up the view of the border-crossing points. This peculiar situation arises from the simple fact that it is very easy for the citizens of this district to get a multiple entry Schengen Finnish visa for half a year or a year. At the same time, on December 1st, 2009 the Lisbon Treaty proclaimed the EU "common policy on visas and other short-stay residence permits". Yet, in reality the visa-issuing procedures still vary greatly from one Schengen country to another with Finnish visa policy towards the NWFD citizens being an outstanding example. So, the research question is why there are such specific visa issuance arrangements between Finland and the NWFD making the border between Suomi and Russia viewed as almost absent? I am arguing that despite the legal reality of the EU common visa policy, in practice different Member States apply this "common" regime differently to the third countries depending on their economic experience with the nationals from these countries and on historical memories they have about the third country.

Academic biography

Anna A. Dekalchuk, MA in European Political and Administrative Studies, is currently a second-year PhD student (Political Science) at the School of International Relations, St. Petersburg State University, Russia. As well, she is a full-time lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg campus, teaching various courses on political science and international relations. Her research interests focus on the institutional developments of the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, including the border and visa arrangements of the EU and Schengen Member States.



Dhananjay Tripathi

Border in absolute terms denotes a line of division between different countries but perception of border varies from region to region. Understanding of borders for citizens of Schengen region is not the same as of a person living in South Asia.  Free movement across the borders are distant dream for few and daily affair for others.  This socio-political construct of borders in a particular region also influences academia and research. This resonates in arguments of scholars in South Asia who are still not at ease with the theme of open borders.   No wonders border studies in Europe adopts a multidisciplinary approach   but it is generally clubbed with security studies in South Asia.  This paper will focus on few aspects of border studies in South Asia, in order examine how social constructions of borders and academic discourses are interlinked. Indo-Pak border issues will be taken as a case study in this paper for unearthing the prevailing situation in South Asia. 

Academic biography

Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, South Asian University, New Delhi, India. Major research interest includes- regional integration process, Indian foreign policy and global political economy.  Authored one book and written number of articles in peer-reviewed journals. Attended several national and international seminars and workshops.



Ahsan Ullah

A number of countries in Southeast Asia share common borders. While some countries maintain strict border control, some are left porous, if not open, which are generally believed to be widely used for trafficking in women and children. Therefore, a built-in connotation with ‘porous' borders exists that refrains researchers to look into their potential alternative uses and the impact. Though for Tibetan China-Nepal border is considered as blessing, India-Nepal border provided the basic ground to this connotation. Accepting the established correlates of trafficking and porous borders, this paper however, looks into how porous borders give ways to save life to so many victims of repression of tyrannies in Myanmar, and how do they make their decision to cross particular borders. Based on interviews with a number of participants who crossed borders to get to a ‘safe' destination, this paper suggests that not pronounced are those traumatic episodes of border crossing  in the Southeast Asian region by millions of refuges. This paper does not eclipse the fact about trafficking, rather offers an expanded theoretical base in the scholarship of border studies. The terminology "porous" has a wider implication in the bilateral border policies. Globally and regionally, several policy changes regarding border controls have taken places and some more are coming soon into force, which are feared to restrict the movement of those in crisis. In two major waves in the nineties more than 300,000 Rohingya refugees crossed Myanmar- Bangladesh border to get to Bangladesh, more than 100,000 left for Malaysia; about 200,000 Karen left for Thailand, 120,000 left from Vietnam, and about 100,000 left for China. Distance-decay factor is not considered as an underlining factor for the refugees, however how porous is the border is significant as their crisis calls for immediate attention and redress. This paper recommends incorporating this enormously huge size of the refugee population into border control polices since complaints of harassment during the crossing are widespread.

Academic biography

AKM Ahsan Ullah is an Associate Director at the Centre for Migration and Refugee Studies and Assistant Professor of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo. He has two master degrees and a Ph.D. in migration. He has contributed extensively to national and international refereed journals, including among others, Development in Practice; International Migration, Asian Profile; Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies; Development Review; and the Journal of Social Economics. He has also contributed to a number of edited collections, and published twelve books in the fields of migration, refugee, and development studies. His latest publication, a book titled, Rationalizing the Migration Decision: Labour Migrants in East and South East Asia, has recently appeared from Ashgate. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Ullah has worked for national and international development and research organization for over eighteen years. He has taught and researched at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand; City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Centre for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany; Saint Mary's University; McMaster University; and the University of Ottawa, Canada.


SESSION 5: Autonomous and Comparable Bordering



Alexander Drost

This paper concentrates on a comparative perspective of the implementation of borders in European and Asian societies and cultural environments. Hereby, I assume that different societal and cultural systems of meaning in Europe and Asia impeded the implementation of the European concept of borders, mainly based on territoriality, in Asia. Analysing trading contracts in the age of European expansion into Asia, architectural and administrative devices of colonial interaction in Southeast Asia, and modern European and Asian expressions for delimiting the "other", I will show that different understandings of the function of a border and, particularly in Asia, the absence of comparable border concepts lead firstly to a misinterpretation of certain boundaries and secondly also serves to mask traditional forms of social ordering and cultural bordering beyond territorially bound systems in Southeast Asia. In this context, a different understanding of borders in Europe and Asia may explain why, for instance, ASEAN states, despite their keen observation of the European integration process, are still struggling to initiate the changes to their national border regimes, required foster integration in Southeast Asia.

Academic biography

Alexander Drost is historian and researcher at the Department of History at the University of Greifswald. He coordinates the international graduate programme "Baltic Borderlands: Shifting Boundaries of Mind and Culture in der Borderlands of the Baltic Sea Region". After studying history, German literature and philology at Greifswald and Joensuu, he started his academic career with an analysis of cultural transfers between Europe and Asia. Hereby, he concentrated on European memory culture in India. Alexander Drost continued his studies with questions regarding delimiting the "other" and developed his current project on European borders in Asia. The project is based on the assumption that European borders in Asia were differently perceived due to different ordering processes in Asian societies, and thus could not be similarly implemented into the Asian social and cultural environment. Alexander Drost has published in English and German, for example: Changing Cultural Contents: The Incorporation of Mughal Architectural Elements in European Memorials in India in the Seventeenth Century. In: Michael North (Hg.), Artistic and Cultural Exchanges between Europe and Asia, 1400-1900. Rethinking Markets, Workshops and Collections. Ashgate (Surrey) 2010, S. 73-87. Die Neuerfindung des Raumes: Grenzüberschreitungen und NeuOrdnungen. Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2013 (Together with Michael North, in print).



Natalia Taksami

Fairy-tales are very special and unique part of the spiritual culture regardless of the society and period of time. In traditional societies they accumulated and combined the details of everyday life and the perception of everyday life events with traditional myths and legends. They built the bridge between today and the past of certain group of people. This bridge constructed and supported the self-consciousness of this population, understanding and perception of "we" and "them".

All over the world the methodology of fairy tales analysis grows wide. Nevertheless, in traditional societies understanding and analysis of fairy tales as the way of transmission of traditional beliefs and rituals is mostly applicable. This approach was inverted by V. Propp, inventor of comparative-typological method in folkloristics.

Russian Sami fairy tales, that we analyze in the presentation, were collected and written down during the second half of the 19th century, had never been reprinted since then.

Academic biography

Natalia Taksami is currently a PhD student at University of Eastern Finland. Holding Master's Degree in Anthropology from USA University of Alaska Fairbanks and Candidate Degree in Sociology from Russian St. Petersburg State University,  devoted her career to the study of theory of ethnic ecology and  processes of 'sovietization' among the native peoples of former Soviet Union.

Professional biography includes research and teaching positions at University of Alaska Faibanks, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian North-Western Academy of the State Management, Finnish University of Turku and nowadays at Karelian Institute of University of Eastern Finland.


Takahashi Minori

Many past studies of autonomy have, in the context of political reactions of peripheral communities to the integrative process conducted by the state, based their argument on the premise that a conflicting relationship exists between the margin and the center. However, this approach not only takes regional autonomies as uniform and straightforward, but in consequence may also lead to a wrong understanding that distorts the facts. The reason why I think so is that the case of Greenland's autonomy, where the society, whose main constituents are the North Pole natives the Kalaallit, attained an autonomy in domestic matters in 1979, acquired special powers in the field of defense in 2003, possesses a nature that cannot be fully understood by using the logic that has prevailed in the scholarly debates so far. What I want to bring to attention in this presentation while examining the frame of reference in the theory of autonomy is that Greenland had acquired unique defense right while seeking autonomy based on the premise that it would continue to rely on and stay in the Danish-state which examines the logic of Greenland's demand for autonomy by using the concepts of autonomy in external relations and internal relations.

Academic biography

Ph.D. in International Political Economy at University of Tsukuba, Japan (Date of Acquisition: March 23rd 2012). Danish Government Scholar, The Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation Scholar and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science: JSPS-Research Fellow DC2. My present post: JSPS-Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Hokkaido University, Japan.

Friday, November 8

SESSION 6: Border Communication and Argumentation



Tarja Tanttu

This paper studies silence as a border in official encounters between Finnish employment officials and immigrants from different countries. In this paper, border is understood as a result of both asymmetry and use of power in communication situations.

The official encounters are significantly asymmetric in various ways. The asymmetry is caused by e. g. the language used in conversation (Finnish as a native language vs. as a learner language), the roles of the official and the client, the usual practices in official encounters and the power relations (expert knowledge vs. layman knowledge). Silence reveals some essential features of asymmetry in official encounters.

This paper focuses on the silence as a vehicle of power and as a border in official encounters. The following questions will be discussed:

• When and why does silence occur in official encounters?

• What kind of interpretations silence could be given?

• How the sequents of speech and silence are regulated in conversation: the question of power and metacommunication?

• How speech and silence can be interpreted as signs of agency in official encounters?

This paper is based on research material, which is videotaped in an employment office in Finland. The material consists of official encounters (e.g. counselling, applying for Finnish language courses or practical training) between employment officials and immigrants from different countries. Examples of this material are used to highlight some essential features of silence in official encounters.

Academic biography

Tarja Tanttu is a lecturer of the Finnish language and speech communication at the Language Center of the University of Eastern Finland. Currently she is a visiting lecturer of the Finnish language and culture at the University of Tallinn, Estonia. Her doctoral dissertation examines the interaction between immigrants and employment officials in official encounters in Finland.



Heini Puurunen

The dialectal and ethnic characteristics of the borderland population between two emergent nation states of Bulgaria and Serbia became of a great interest in scholarly debate in the beginning of the 20th century. Since the boundary between two South Slavonic languages and peoples was a way too ambiguous for the ideal nation state, it had to be created by state elites who included prominent (anthropo)geographers, ethnologists and linguists. Thus nationalistic ideologies informed both Bulgarian and Serbian ethnologic and linguistic research where the cultural and linguistic traits of the borderland population were taken out of their local/regional contexts and used for claims to the disputed lands, by referring to the 'historical' and 'demographic' rights of the respective nations. In this paper, I will look at the argumentation through which the boundaries between two 'nations' were constructed in an ideologically motivated research. I try to track the societal importance of the process in which the contemporary politics dictated the course of the research and the scholarly work itself had a long-term impact on the axiomatic concepts of these boundaries.

Academic biography

Heini Puurunen will graduate in West and South Slavonic languages and cultures from the University of Helsinki in the spring term of 2013. From May 2013 on she works as a junior researcher and project coordinator in a comparative EU funded project RAGE – Hate speech and populist othering in Europe: Through the racism, age, gender looking glass at the Aleksanteri Institute, the University of Helsinki. In 2008–2010 Puurunen has worked as a research assistant in other Aleksanteri Institute's projects, PRIMTS and WGA. During the academic year of 2010-2011, she visited the University of Sofa and University of Belgrade as a graduate student of Bulgarian and Serbian languages.

Puurunen's studying interests include the border studies and minority & gender issues in the Balkan region. In her master's thesis, she studied the language and culture of the Bulgarian-Serbian borderlands from the historical viewpoint, through a scholarly debate at the beginning of the 20th century. Together with PhD Airi Markkanen she has coordinated a lecture series 'Roma women and families on the move in EU' at the University of Helsinki in the autumn of 2010. Puurunen is also a co-editor of a book Huomio! Romaneja tiellä (Like 2012) with Markkanen and D.Soc.Sc Aino Saarinen.



Maria V. Stanyukovich

Small ethnic groups of the Cordillera of Northern Luzon are characterised by multilinguism and intense cultural communication across linguistic lines; linguistic and political boundaries do not coincide (Afable 2004). There are certain similarities with the situation in Finland–Russia borderlands, especially in respect to epic and ritual (Stanyukovich 2011, 2013).

The paper based on the author's fieldwork in the Philippines (1995-2013) treats about verbal and visual representations of borders by Yattuka and Tuwali Ifugao. Drawings of epic singers, depicting the interaction of mythological topography and real geography, will be demonstrated.

Afable P.O. Notes for an Ethnohistory of the Southern Cordillera, Northern Luzon: A Focus on Kalanguya. Journal of History, 2004. Vol. L(1–4). Р.152–174

Stanyukovich M.V. 2011 O lokal'nosti, roli inoetnicheskoy kul'tury i ‘chuzhogo' yazykovogo materiala v epicheskoy traditsii (On the Locality and the Role of the Culture and Language of the Ethnic ‘Other' in Epic Tradition. The bylinas of Russian North and the hudhud of Northern Philippines). T.G.Ivanova, ed. Ryabininskiye chteniya. Petrozavodsk. P.391-394

Stanyukovich M.V. 2013 Epic as a Means to Control Memory and Emotions of Gods and Humans: Ritual Implications of Hudhud Among the Yattuka and Tuwali Ifugao. N.Revel, ed. Songs of Memory in Islands of Southeast Asia. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. P.167-204.

Academic biography

Maria V. Stanyukovich is the Chair of the Department of Australia, Oceania and Indonesia at Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Science, St. Petersburg, Russia. She has also been teaching courses on anthropology, regional studies, folklore, language, history and geography in the Department of Philippine (Tagalog) Philology of St. Petersburg State University for thirty years. Her primary interests are in indigenous ethnic groups, epics, ritual and shamanism, ethnolinguistics and ethnobotany. She has conducted fieldwork in Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Dagestan, Cuba and the Philippines (since 1995) and has published extensively on these topics in Russian and in English. During the last two decades she has been studying the interactions of different indigenous groups across the political and linguistic borders in the Cordillera of Northern Luzon, the Philippines.

Stanyukovich is a member of International advisory boards of European, US and Philippine research bodies. She has held visiting research appointments at Universities and Museums in Japan, UK and Sweden.




David Newman

Border studies have undergone a major renaissance during the past two decades. The inter disciplinary study of borders has focused on the prevailing debates concerning borderless worlds and the opening of borders on the one hand, and securitization and the re-closing of borders on the other. Borders have also been analysed from a variety of perspectives, ranging from the geographical and the political, to the sociological and the legal and, more recently, to the representation of borders and the way they are portrayed in art, literature and media. No longer are borders only discussed as constituting the physical lines which separate one State from the other in the international system, but the local, and even individual, contexts of borders  within micro and body spaces have become an integral part of the analysis. Borders have not disappeared from the globe but their significance and relative locations have changed. Borders are as mobile as they are fixed and they create a spatial and social dynamic in their own right.  The contrary discourse of a world organized through flows and networks is not zero sum – rather it has to negotiate the changing  functions of borders, in a world where both fixed spaces (simple systems) and networked and hierarchical spaces (complex systems) interact with each other. This all takes place in a world where the technological management and control of borders has emerged as a new means of control – socially, politically and spatially – as governments and power elites create new discourses of fear, threat and security. This presentation will outline the main themes in borders studies and point to the key questions and agends to be analysed by a new generation of research students.

Academic biography

David Newman is Dean of the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and professor of political geography in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University in Israel. Since 1999, he has been the chief editor of the international journal, Geopolitics. He has published widely on the role and significance of borders in the contemporary era.


SESSION 7: Multidimensional and Suitable Borders



Stephen Wolfe

Much recent scholarship in border studies, anthropology, and cultural studies has focused on migration and material culture, but there is remarkably little literature specifically concerned with the convergences of these two areas of study.  In this paper, I will present four literary tropes that allow the exploration of the relationships between migrant worlds and material cultures.  This will provide a theoretical framing for an analysis of the intersection between mobility and materiality in figures of movement; waiting and awaiting (metaphors of absence and presence within a space or serial spaces of the "processing" of individuals); and coexistent, overlapping, and intersecting memories as they are represented in the figure of a palimpsest memoryscape in which "the memory of prior memory practices is retained and can even dominate" (Basu, "Palimpsest Memoryscapes: Materializing and Mediating War and Peace in Sierra Leone" 3).

The paper will use one major example of a migrant narrative of an individual who has been either forced or voluntarily moves from an African to the German Democratic Republic, and then to the EU. The challenge is to show how this narrative represents multiple materialities within the complex act of border crossing. One of these complexities I will present is the way in which the migrant's usually few possessions are highly contingent upon the particular circumstances, motivations and experiences of the migrants themselves. In fact, I shall argue that the choices of narrative form, whether articulated in the past or the present, are mutually constituted by the intersecting itineraries of people and things set forth in the architectures and landscapes from which the migrant has come and through which the migrant must travel. The figures I will examine have to be multidimensional and yet must be constructed in a particular historical and geographic context.

In Abdulrazak Gurnah's novel By the Sea (2001), he depicts the state of being in transit as a space where the connections between humans are homogenised and stripped of specificity. This is portrayed as a "non-place". In this instance this space is first a detention centre and then a single rented room written in metaphors of absence and lethargy. But there is also the tension created when these spaces of transition must be materially filled and culturally specific when a particular bordering/ordering/ othering performance enacted by authorities within the borderscape or by the migrant himself. The novel's central figure of the refugee seeks agency and a degree of transformative familiarity in his temporary "home".  The central figure in the text has to create a connection between his historical and social self through the act of gift giving and story telling. The paper will problematize the ways in which gift giving, both conditionally and unconditionally, are acts of hospitality. The novel's intertwining stories and levels of narrative are mirrored in the intertwining of migrant person and gifted hospitality developed in the relationship between the central character as both guest and host.

Academic biography

Stephen Wolfe has his Ph.D. from York University Toronto, Canada on British radical writers of the Romantic Period. He is førsteamanuensis in the Literature and Culture section of the Humanities, Social Sciences and Teacher Training Faculty, University of Tromsø, Norway.

Most recently, he and Johan Schimanski have co-edited a collection of essays Border Poetics Delimited (2007) from Wehrhahn Press, in which two essays of theirs appear.   He also coordinates, with Schimanski, a Norwegian Research grant in the Kulver Program of the Norwegian Research Council entitled "Border Aesthetics".  



Ekaterina Melnikova

The paper is concerned with the issue of "border" as a meaningful sight for symbolic imagination at the territory of the former Finnish Karelia. The history of Northern Ladoga region and Karelian isthmus is significantly shaped by the border politics both in the middle ages and modern times. It passed repeatedly from one state to another while the states changed themselves. The contemporary trend in the Russian provinces is shaped by broad efforts for creating local and regional "brands" and the past of the territory is often used as a crucial instrument for revealing and demonstrating local image. But having many options for selection the "suitable past", what past do cultural curators actually choose for presenting?

Within the paper I rely on the exhibitions at local museums of Ladoga Karelia (Sortavala, Lahdenpohja, Kurkijoki and Pitkyaranta regions) as well as a series of the interviews with the leaders and guides of the museums. I focus on the idea of "golden age" as the background for representing the local history and the role of "border" in the discourse of museum leaders upon the question of "what the golden age of Ladoga Karelia actually is?"

Academic biography

Ekaterina Melnikova, PhD (2006), researcher, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) Russian Academy of Sciences. Graduated from the Department of Anthropology, the European University at St. Petersburg (2003). The author of the monograph "Imagined Book: the History of the Folklore about Books and Reading in Russia" (St. Peterburg, 2011), the editor of the book "The Border and the People: the Recollections of the Soviet Migrants to Ladoga Karelia and Karelian Isthmus" (St. Peterburg, 2005). The leader of the projects "The Pragmatics of Memory on Local Scale: Accommodation of the Recent Past by the Migrants to the Former Finnish Karelia. 1940-1990" (Gerda Henkel Foundation) and "Accommodating an Alien Past: the Soviet Migrants at the Territory of the Former Finnish Karelia" (Kone Foundation). The co-organizer of the panel "Russian Kraevedenie: the History and Anthropology of Local Knowledge in Provinces" at the annual conference of the European University at St. Petersburg (2012). The key articles: "The peoples of the krai, which I represent, became more close": the local studies' movement of the 1920-30s and the Soviet national politics, Ab Imperio, 2012, 1. P. 209-240 (in Russian); "Global postsocialism on the local scale: the Soviet migrants at Karelia and their past", Anthropology of East Europe Review, Special issue: Global Socialisms and Postsocialisms, 2009, 27 (2). P. 86-100 (in English). On-going project: "Landscape and Memory: Local Identities of the Migrants at the Former Finnish Karelia" supported by RGNF (2013).



Alexander Izotov

This paper examines geo-cultural images of Sortavala, a small town situated near the Russian-Finnish border. Using the phenomenological methods and analysis of narratives it also scrutinizes production of a sense of place and locality.

Images of Sortavala such as Amphitheatre, a Bridge and a Labyrinth form a symbolic imaginary matrix. The image of Amphitheatre occurs in the mountainous sights around Sortavala, the urban design, and the tradition of choir festivals. The image of Bridge symbolizes the North Ladoga region as a place where different cultures contact with each other and is associated with real Karelian bridge. The image of Labyrinth symbolizes inlets of Lake Ladoga, blind alleys of Soviet buildings, closed industrial and border-guard areas.

A sense of place is also formed in the public narratives. The identity politics in the Soviet era demonstrated a power of symbols in understanding of a border. The paper argues that the closeness to the border is main factor of local identity construction. However, a sealed-off border zone and relatively liberal border regime in the post-Soviet era impacted differently on these processes. The paper scrutinizes discursive (re)positioning of local actors in the context of changing meaning of the state border.

Academic biography

Alexander Izotov is PhD student in the Karelian Institute (the University of Eastern Finland, Finland). He holds a MA (history) from the University of Petrozavodsk, Russian Karelia, Russia (1980), a Candidate of Historical Sciences from the St Petersburg State University, Russia (1990), and MSc (Human Geography) from the University of Eastern Finland, Finland (1998). From 1984 to 1993 was working as a lecturer in the Social and Political Sciences in the University of Petrozavodsk. Since 1995 he works as a researcher in the Karelian Institute in Joensuu, Finland. He is interested in regional studies and cross-border interaction. More currently he focuses on the process of identity construction in the Finnish-Russian border area. He is also inspired the contemporary Russian history, culture and arts, which enrich his field of expertise.


SESSION 8: Border, War, and Trauma Writing



Saija Kaskinen

Various forms of dislocation, such as exile, have become central topics of postcolonial thought. The paper examines the concept of internal and external exile and subsequent exilic experiences of displacement, homelessness (‘the politics of dispossession'), and a sense of rejection and belonging in two exilic narratives. On the routes of exile, many different kinds of borders are crossed. Border crossings reveal various dimensions these borders acquire at the cultural, linguistic, ideological, and existential level. The purpose of this paper is twofold: First, to explore how these different borders are represented, and second, how the concept of hybrid(ity) and hybrid space are created in these narratives. The article is framed around the premise that these exilic narratives become a hybrid Persian novel in Dutch and a hybrid Soviet novel in Finnish. The purpose is to analyze how these experiences, both subjective and collective, are used as a prism through which the exiles attempt to formulate impressions about their hybrid space.

Academic biography

Dr. Saija Kaskinen (Researcher, Karelian Institute, UEF). Dr. Kaskinen completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Languages at the University of Washington (UW). As a Senior Lecturer in English she has continued her research in feminist theory, feminist theology, post-colonial theory, and magic realism in nineteenth-century and contemporary English literature. Currently Dr. Kaskinen is a full-time project researcher in WCTB Project. In this border studies project, her research interests have concerned the hybrid nature of the Finnish-Russian national Border, hybrid identity formation, and hybridity in the writing traditions in the national Finland-Russia borderlands.



Tiiu Jaago

I will analyze the story of two Estonian soldiers (Finnish-boys), who escaped from Finnish army during the Continuation War. The reason for desertion was the fact that Estonians who were serving the Finnish army would be sent back to Estonia were they would have to serve in Nazi Germany army. They crossed the border of Finland-Sweden in Tornio/Haaparanta in the autumn of 1944. The story was recorded by the storytellers themselves in Sweden in 1975.

On one hand the story being analyzed consists of detailed description of the escape route: how to orientate in unfamiliar landscape and also reach and recognize the state-border. They did not have a map and therefore had to relay on their memory to find their way to the borderline. Escapers remembered the map from their school-years. On the other hand symbolic borders emerge from their story. They discuss the moral value of their action based on three aspects: the fate of their comrades, their own refugee-identity and the political history of Estonia.

The question is how territorial and symbolic borders rise up and inter-wine in the story.

Academic biography

Tiiu Jaago is Adjunct Professor for Estonian folklore research, Institute of Cultural Research and Fine Arts. Her research interests are oral history research, Estonian old folksong tradition, history of folklore studies.



Mari Ristolainen

National borders territorialize our thinking and provide parameters that we need to live within. Nevertheless, borders are not just territorial lines that can be drawn by governments and maintained by politicians and their ‘top-down' policies. Borders are dynamic processes of cultural production and negotiation that takes place far away from metropolitan power centers. Focusing on ‘local texts' about Chechnya at the Pskov Province in Russia, the aim of this paper is to show how traumatic events have delocalized the notion of border and alter the social perception of national cohesion and belonging. The main research questions of this paper are: where are Russia's borders located today? What signifies borders? How does border become meaningful in people's minds? The aim is to argue that borders are no longer perceived as geographical locations and physical lines on the map. For instance, borders can be written between areas that have no geographical connection between them, but due to for example a traumatic event a border and a connection are formed between these areas. This paper provides an example of cultural border construction and negotiation processes ‘from the bottom up' perspective and a representation ‘top-down' b/ordering practices in the contemporary Russian Federation.

Academic biography

Dr. Mari Ristolainen is a postdoctoral fellow at the Karelian Institute in the University of Eastern Finland, working within the Finnish Academy project "Writing Cultures and Traditions at Borders". Dr. Ristolainen is representative of the fresh Russian Literature and Culture scholars using a multidisciplinary approach in Border Studies. She is currently studying how people engage in amateur cultural practices in order to demolish and constitute borders at the Pskov Province in the Russian Federation.