Event — Call for proposals

Negotiating Asian Borders: Actors, Displacements, Multiplicities, Sovereignties

8th Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network

The 8th Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network, Negotiating Asian Borders: Actors, Displacements, Multiplicities, Sovereignties, will take place at Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan, from 2 to 4 September 2025.

We invite conceptually innovative papers, based on fresh research, in order to develop new perspectives in the study of Asian borderlands and its broader geographical reach, especially connections to other world regions and continents. 

One of the main goals of this conference is to spur collaboration and conversation across diverse fields in the hope of building up a more nuanced picture of the intersections and relationships across Asian borderlands. Submissions are therefore invited from scholars, writers, policy studies researchers, artists, filmmakers, activists, and journalists, among others. 

    Call for Proposals

    The Submission Deadline is 1 November 2024. 
    Participants will be notified by March 2025.

    Very limited financial support may be made available to specific scholars residing in the Global South and some junior or low-income scholars in other parts of the world. If you would like to be considered for a grant, please submit along with your abstract for a panel and/or paper a short letter stating the motivation for your request. Please also specify the kind of funding that you have applied for or will receive from other sources. Please note that the conference operates on a limited budget.

    Further information about registration fees, the venue, and logistics will be provided on the ABRN website once the panels have been accepted.

    To submit a proposal click on a Submission Type

    [ Organised Panel ]

    [ Roundtable ]

    [ Individual Paper ]

    Background
    Negotiating Asian Borders: Actors, Displacements, Multiplicities, Sovereignties

    Over the last four years, the geopolitical landscape of the world, and of Asia, witnessed fundamental shifts marked by concurrent and overlapping crises. From global disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to escalating international tensions reminiscent of Cold War politics; from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the war in Gaza; and from extreme weather events to displacement and scattering of refugee communities across international boundaries – overlapping crises are transforming how people live their lives, negotiate their identities, recall their pasts and imagine futures. Concurrently, nation-states have reinforced borders, both physical and virtual, through heightened surveillance and defence in the name of security. At the same time, shared values of freedom and peace are strengthening non-governmental solidarities across borders, connecting diverse actors in human as well as more-than-human worlds. 

    The multiple crises facing our world today warrant critical reflection of how we think of bordering, sovereignty, belonging and solidarity. Today, borders are transforming in multiple forms as communities, technologies, infrastructures, and natural forces interact, blending physical and virtual boundaries together. Borders are negotiated in new ways, on the ground and “in the cloud”, with profound implications on our understanding of actors, displacements, multiplicities, and sovereignties. The tactics people use to navigate contemporary borders, the historical linkages and narratives of borders, and alternative visions of borders and borderlands are all important parts of these transformations. How people navigate and make sense of these turbulent times remains a key question to be answered. Tracing historical linkages and dynamics can unveil diverse narratives on borders and sovereignty, inviting voices, memories, and imaginaries towards alternative visions of the present and future.

    Theme
    Negotiating Asian Borders: Actors, Displacements, Multiplicities, Sovereignties

    The theme of the 8th ABRN conference is “Negotiating Borders” across Asia. The four sub-themes offer specific points of engagement, with broader possibilities of cross-fertilisation of ideas and research directions. Exploratory questions are listed under each sub-theme as a starting point for conversation:   

     Actors/Actants
    1. Who are the main actors negotiating borders and boundaries, in human and more-than-human worlds? Who is excluded from these processes and how?
    2. How are these actors profiled, imagined, networked, managed, and controlled?
    3. How do diverse actors negotiate their voices and echoes, their presence and impact, their visibility and invisibility, strategies, and practices?
    4. What are the hopes and visions of different actors, and what are the possibilities for creating borderland commons (e.g. around shared habitats, waterways, energy resources, specific trades, and technologies?)
    Displacements
    1. How does the forced displacement of populations transform borderlands?
    2. How are these processes shaped by gender dynamics as well as different age cohorts, particularly among youth?
    3. What are the political/legal and economic responses of state and other authorities to large-scale displacement and how do they reflect in wider bordering dynamics as well as social empowerment and integration?
    4. How do transborder solidarities, loyalties and belonging of displaced people impact upon socio-economic and (potentially) social-ecological developments in borderlands?
    Multiplicities
    1. How are borders evolving to form new and surprising assemblages?
    2. How to trace multiple connections of global supply chains, just-in-time (and now “just-in-case”) logistics, offshoot and proxy enterprises, physically and virtually?
    3. How do fast-evolving technologies such as generative AI simulate and stimulate novel understanding of complex social-ecological systems in and beyond borderlands?
    4. What roles do borderlands play in overlapping socio-economic and social-ecological systems in Asia?   
    Sovereignties
    1. How can we better understand multiple and intersecting forms of sovereignty that transform politics and imaginations? e.g. cyber sovereignty, health or biosovereignty, energy/resource sovereignty, air/water/climate sovereignty, data sovereignty, volumetric sovereignty etc.
    2. How are borders reconstituted, gained, evaded and undermined, as ideas and practices around sovereignties evolve?
    3. What roles do narratives of insecurity and the securitisation of borders and borderlands play?
    4. How do multiple forms of sovereignty shape research methodologies?
    5. How do evolving sovereignties influence or pose any implications for the ethical conduct of research?
    Convenors
    • Ruba Al Akash - Yarmouk University, Jordan
    • Juan Zhang - University of Bristol, United Kingdom
    • Willem van Schendel - Amsterdam University, The Netherlands
    • Tina Harris - Amsterdam University, The Netherlands
    • Henryk Alff - Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE), Germany
    • Busarin Lertchavalitsakul - Naresuan University, Thailand 
    • Hasan Karrar - Lahore University for Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan
    • Duncan McDuie-Ra - University of Newcastle, Australia