Borderland Spaces: Ruins, Revival(s) and Resources - 6th ABRN Conference

Conference dates: 13-15 August, 2018*
Venue: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

6th Asian Borderlands conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, which addresses the following questions: How are borderlands in Asia creating alternative spaces for heritages, self-definition and the extraction of resources? How can these cases serve to rethink social theories of various kind?

Ruins: In which ways do the legacies of former state rule, of conflict or environmental hazards - abandoned infrastructures such as roads, irrigation systems or border installations, decaying cultural and religious heritage or historically informed imaginations of precarity and superiority, cohesion and otherness – play out in the identity-formation and socio-economic strategies of borderland populations? How (and with which effect) do these legacies, but also ‘re-discovered’ legal frameworks and maps, become instrumental for the invention, enforcement, opening and shifting of borders in current state politics?

Revivals: How are specific cultural, religious, and linguistic practices and performances harnessed to make claims about identity, belonging, and entitlement? How do these new forms of expression embody continuity with the past as well as its transformation? How do ideological trajectories such as communism and democracy circulate as global discourses, which may be localized in specific borderland contexts to revive political participation and lead to new forms of mobilization? With these questions, we solicit panels that attend to the temporal and spatial dynamics of revival in relation to our other themes of ruins and resources.

Resources: We seek panels analysing conventional resources from land to timber, from crops to rare species, from valuable minerals to bio-prospects. Furthermore, as borderlands become sites for intensified resource extraction, exploration, and transit, they are also sites for imagining resources in different ways. They are sites where human resources arrive in and depart from borderlands as labourers but also as bureaucrats, soldiers, professionals, students, and athletes. They are sites that generate manufacturing and agricultural resources through factories and export processing zones. And they are sites that produce revenue for state and non-state actors in enclaves of pleasure targeting tourists, settlers, and mobile professionals.

Applicants background

As one of the main goals of this conference is to spur collaboration and conversations across diverse fields, we would like to include scholars, writers, policy studies researchers, artists, filmmakers, activists, the media, and others from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds. We hope that these conceptually innovative panels, based on new research, will help to develop new perspectives in the study of Asian Borderlands.

The conference is organised by the American University of Central Asia; International Institute for Asian Studies and the Asian Borderlands Research Network (ABRN).


For full information about the conference, please refer to:

* Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances the dates of the conference have been rescheduled. The conference will take place from 13-15 August 2018 (NOT from 23-25 August).