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Call for papers for the 2-day symposium “Borders Inside and Out: Representing the Border across cultures”


Sept. 21-22, at the Department of English of the Chinese University of Hong Kong


Moving out from the site of Hong Kong this symposium builds on the representation of literary and cultural geographies of border regions from Ireland to India, and from Catalonia to California so as to examine the close relationship through history between the border – urban, suburban and rural – and the practices, psychology and literatures of the peoples. It calls on writings in many languages and dialects. It aims to plot an interactive map of regional relations between literature and geography.
The symposium builds on, and feeds into, recent work in literary and cultural geography, eco-criticism, ecological responsibility, the life sciences and environmentalism and looks back to and revives an often untapped ‘romantic’ and ‘pastoral’ spirit at the heart of Hong Kong commercial and religious culture that sees shrines to such land and sea gods as Tudigong (The God of the Land) and Tin Hau (Goddess of the Sea) and others in many regions and in many shops and businesses. The Borderlands will be an especially important area of investigation for this study. Many other regions such as Ireland have consistently defined their peoples as hybrid or liminal due to the fact that a “border” and borderlands have been so integral to the regional consciousness; however, there has been no sustained study of notions such as liminality and hybridity in the Hong Kong conscience and this is important for such topics as cultural healing and reconciliation that can look beyond a concentration on any strain of insular individualism, peninsular exceptionalism as well as cultural and regional-based conflict towards archipelagic commutuality. Organizers seek papers on the following themes and are open to other topics related to borders:

  • How the Belt and Road initiative is ‘softening’ the border
  • Borders and Belts: New Rites of Passage
  • Eco-criticism and the border
  • Environmental aspects of the border consciousness
  • The economics of borders
  • Hybridity, liminality and borderland regions
  • Representing war and peace at the border
  • Peace and reconciliation studies
  • International relations
  • Trade and commerce across the border
  • Language and identity
  • Brexit
  • Gender and identity in the borderlands
  • The politics of exchange across borders
  • The border in literature and culture


Please send 300-word abstracts by June 30th to

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