Event — Conference

Borderland Futures: Technologies, Zones, Co-existences

7th Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network

The conference Borderland Futures: Technologies, Zones, Co-existences, which was originally scheduled from 25-27 June 2020 in Seoul, South Korea, has been postponed until 23 - 25 June 2022 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 


    In the past decade, Asian borderlands have experienced intense ruptures and unparalleled connectivity across diverse communities and geographies. The re-opening of frontiers has unleashed a development frenzy evident in new railways, road networks, import/export zones, trading ports, markets and casinos. Higher-level initiatives such as China’s “Belt and Road” and India’s revamped “Act East” policies seem to promise a renewed interest in creating greater social and economic spaces for mutual prosperity. At the same time, ground-level realities challenge these top-down notions and visions of transregional engagement and fast-track development.

    Over the past decade, peace-building and co-existence have opened new possibilities for reconciliation, resolution, and readiness for shared futures. State and non-state actors continue to seek new directions and pathways away from a past haunted by conflicts, violence and unsettled differences. In doing so, friendship ties and communal bonds can be strengthened across borders to make space for respect, recognition, and co-existence. Nevertheless, anxieties over security and sovereignty trigger concerns over unregulated mobilities, the prevalence of shadow economies, new forms of crime, the abuse of military force, and resource and trade wars. Borders are thus being reconsidered and reinforced in parts of Asia, creating new uncertainties and precarities for communities living in borderlands.

    The 7th Asian Borderland Research Network (ABRN) conference focuses on three key themes – technologies, zones, co-existences – that aim to generate broader debate and intellectual engagement with borderland futures. Panels and papers will offer critical reflections on these key themes, both theoretically and empirically.

    • Technologies – Borderlands in Asia are shaped by technology to varying degrees: from sites of surveillance and dense infrastructure to areas that are seemingly remote and distant from nodes of technology. Panels engaging with this theme might consider the following questions: How do technologies of various forms transform the ways in which borders are drawn, maintained, and crossed? How are technologies used to make borders “smarter”? How do technologies enable new opportunities for social and economic development on the margin? How have endogenous forms of technology been evolving across the Asian borderlands? Can technologies help to remake the geographies of power? Will technologies lead to new forms of displacement and dispossession?
    • Zones – Borderlands are attractive as zones for development, investment, extraction and extra-territorial experimentation. Panels engaging with this theme might consider the following questions: How do zones alter the lives and livelihoods of borderland communities? Do zones enable new forms of mobility in borderlands and across borders? Can we imagine zones as both productive and extractive sites? What are the politics around establishing zones in borderlands, and how do they reflect changing spatial imaginations? Do productive zones change the vision of borderlands in national and transnational ideas of the future? What happens to borderlands when zones decline or are shut down?
    • Co-existences – Everyday life in Asian borderlands in history was and is determined by varying forms of socio-economic, cultural and political co-existence, which are often (but not necessarily) subject to transforming border regimes. Panels engaging with this theme might consider the following questions: How might we identify and analyse co-existence in Asian borderlands? What kinds of institutions, communities, societies and polities co-exist in borderlands? How does the constant negotiation of co-existence lead to new configurations of border arrangements? How can historical memory and experience of co-existence and convergence in borderlands resolve disputes and conflicts between nations and states in the future? What role do technologies and zones, but also interconnections, infrastructures and mobilities, play in negotiating and shaping co-existences across borders and vice versa?    

    The Final Conference Programme is available HERE. All times in the programme are listed in Seoul local time (GMT/UTC+9). If you are participating virtually, please check carefully the date and time at your location in a time zone converter
    (note that the programme is subject to change without notice)

    Zoom Sessions

    All registered participants will be sent the programme with Zoom and Webinar links and passwords by email on Tuesday 21 June.

    Please check your spam folder. If you have not received an email, please contact us at asianborderlands@iias.nl

    If you have not already registered, you are urged do so now.


    The fees are as follows for session participants (including presenters, convenors, chairs, discussant and roundtable participants):
    Early bird (before 31 May): € 125
    Regular (before 15 June): € 150
    On-site: € 175

    (PhD) students:
    Early bird (before 31 May): € 70
    Regular (before 15 June): € 90
    On-site: € 110

    Online Observer fees:
    Regular (before 20 June): €50
    (PhD) students (before 20 June): €30

    To register please go here. The following payment methods are accepted, Mastercard and Visa. If you are unable to pay via creditcard, please contact the conference organizers at asianborderlands@iias.nl 

    Local In-person Observer fees:
    Local in-person observers receive a waiver of the registration fee. To register as local in-person observer please click here

    Travel and Visa

    As of 8 June 2022, all overseas entrants are exempt from mandatory quarantine regardless of the vaccination status.

    Before arriving in South Korea, all foreign entrants should obtain a Q-Code online (an equivalent of a vaccine passport), which will be inspected at immigration.

    Passport holders of visa-free countries and regions are required to apply for K-ETA at least 72 hours before entering South Korea. Due to COVID-19, South Korea has suspended visa waiver scheme in some countries and regions, please check the K-ETA website to determine if you require a visa to enter South Korea.

    South Korea imposes strict arrival restrictions for safe travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge that you go through the Arrival Guide to ensure a successful entry to the country.

    Conference Venue

    The conference registration and conference sessions for in-person participants will take place at:
    Centennial Hall (Building 310)
    Chung-Ang University
    84, Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu
    Seoul 06974, South Korea

    View the building location on google maps.
    Please view the conference venue’s COVID-19 measures.

    Direction to Chung-Ang University from Incheon International Airport

    At Incheon International Airport, take the airport train at Incheon International Airport Incheong Airport Terminal 1 Station. Get off at Gimpo Airport Station and transfer to Line 9 direction to VHS Medical Center. Take either the express train or the all-stop train. If you took the express train, please transfer to the all-stop train at Noryangjin. Get off at Heukseok(Chung-ang University) Station. The fare is around 4,050 won (approx. $4). CAU is 20 minutes away from the stop, and easy to find by asking nearby passengers. 

    The fare for a regular taxi from the airport to the school is about 70,000 won (approx. $70). If you take a deluxe taxi (Mobeom Taxi; colored black), the fare will be around 90,000 won (approx. $90). The fares of regular taxis start at 2,400 won (approx. $2), while those of deluxe taxis start at 4,500 won (approx. $4.5). Most taxi drivers know how to get to Chung-Ang University.

    Direction to Chung-Ang University from Downtown Seoul

    Chung-Ang University is located in the heart of Seoul. Two subway lines link CAU with downtown Seoul. The subway stations near CAU are Sangdo Station on Line 7 and Heukseok Station on Line 9. By subway, CAU is 30 minutes away from the downtown Seoul.

    There are several buses that connect CAU with various parts of Seoul. Fares start at 1,300 won and increase according to distance


    The organising committee has prepared a list of recommended accommodations. This document shows a list of hotels and guesthouses near the conference venue. You can reserve the room of your choice by contacting the accommodation directly.

    • Duncan McDuie-Ra, University of Newcastle, Australia
    • Erik de Maaker, Leiden University, the Netherlands
    • Henryk Alff, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE), Germany
    • Juan Zhang, Bristol University, United Kingdom
    • Kee-Hyun Ban, Korea Military Academy, South Korea
    • Myung-Ho Hyun, Reconciliation & Coexistence in Contact Zone (RCCZ) Research Center, South Korea
    • Tina Harris, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    • Willem van Schendel, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands