About FOCUS Announcements Crossing Borders Focus Front Page

FOCUS | Call for Submission on Crossing Borders

We are calling for submission to our FOCUS: Crossing Borders!

The Critical Edge Alliance (CEA) is collaborating with us from March to June on this special Focus. In preparation to the upcoming CEA annual conference, we are launching a Prize Competition by calling for submission: One CEA Student can win a sponsored opportunity, including conference fee, transportation, and accommodation, to attend the conference at the New School in New York City, June 7-8, 2019!

This year the conference theme is “Boundary Crossings in Culture, Power, and Experience: Re-imagining Higher Education”. This theme was selected to honor a well-respected professor Lily Ling from the New School and her critical scholarship in international relations, multi-cultural and border crossing studies, as well as her dedication to integrating students participation.

We chose to engage with the concepts of borders/boundaries. When thinking about these concepts and our own experiences with them, we are reminded of its complexities and richness and the fact that they affect our lives on a daily basis, with or without us consciously knowing it.

Our human mobility has raised a variety of questions on borders and boundaries. Since the 19th centuries, borders as historical, political constructions and physical objects have become a central role in the meaning of citizenship/membership, identity/belonging, and immigrant integration. In countries around Western Asia, many people seek refuge; in Europe, the migration “crisis” has led to unsettled political questions on legal borders; the Americas are seeing intensified border reinforcements battling inclusion and exclusion.

All spaces contain both burdens and possibilities for our lived experiences as individuals and communities. Burdens as negation, limitation, and exclusion; possibilities as in expansion, enrichment, and inclusion. But what does that really mean, historically and for us today? How has colonialism, the Westphalian sovereignty, and the process of globalization shaped our understanding of borders/boundaries.

We need to recognize that borders and boundaries live beyond what the human eyes can grasp. They live in our minds, emotions, and social dynamics. We can feel a border in a variety of ways: it can be a nationalistic and cultural sentiment when crossing national borders, an empower/depower realization when lingering among different socioeconomic classes, an expansive or conflicted experience when interacting with different racial groups, or a holding-back voice when pushing through social norms. Often in these situations, power relations become clear. The powerful and powerless oppose one another and lead to situations of marginalization and privilege, segregation and gate-keeping. Borders and boundaries create burdens in which one can but stand still, while possibilities ask us to go beyond.

Crossing borders is a courageous and expressive act. Analyzing and addressing border is a critical contemplation. In this Focus, we ask you to do both and to go beyond!

We sincerely welcome your submission and hope to present well-grounded analysis of case examples related to visible and invisible borders and boundaries, their political, social, cultural, economic and environmental contexts, complex effects on societies and their relation to our future. We hope that students everywhere can engage in meaningful and multi-perspective discussions, as well as gain deeper understanding of the concept and phenomenon of borders and boundaries; and we hope that we can share knowledge to inspire and encourage more people to find ways to address issues with boundaries in their own situation and environment.

The contributors/writers can present different perspectives on the topic of borders. You can submit in a wide variety of genres: Essay, article, interview, poetry, video, music, art, podcast etc. Get creative and get your ideas across!


For submissions, we would like to see:

  • Theoretical analysis and investigation of the causes and constructions of borders and boundaries as well as strategy mechanisms to find strategies to reduce burdens and offer possibilities
  • Socio-politico-cultural debates in the discourse around borders and boundaries.
  • Personal stories and experiences with borders and boundaries, and crossing them.
  • Examples of local or global activism and projects to stop marginalization and to open up borders (prefer student driven).

Additionally, we provide a few more detailed writing prompts to help you get started if you are looking for additional ideas.


Writing Prompts

1. (In)visible borders

Borders can be very obvious if we look at walls, barriers, and obstructions, or simply, objects that hinder us to go further physically. Borders can, however, occur in other ways. They can be hidden for the human senses.

Which borders are addressed and which ones are hidden away? Also, what are the reasons and historical processes for some borders being almost invisible? How can we make them more visible? What role does ideology, language, and culture play in presenting or hiding these differences? Which established narratives are constructed around the themes of crossing borders by the ruling ideologies in our societies, and how should we understand these narratives from a critical perspective? Some of the “hidden” borders of consideration could be class, race, citizenship, ethnicity, gender, caste.

Further, this theme might also include how borders have been created and evolved through history. Is it an ever-changing process. Who creates borders and who are they for? How is it possible to interrupt the bordering process? Might borders even be necessary, or what do the future of bordering look like?

2. Bridging across borders

Moving in an entity, in a system or discipline means to encounter a border that is often necessary to cross to widen one’s horizon and to develop further. Exploring what is behind, what is on the other side makes us curious. The process of crossing a border can be exhausting, but enriching at the same time. In which situations are we able to make the jump to another system? How can we combine both the exhausting and enriching experience? What can we seek behind and reach beyond? Do we experience a fusion or simply a direct separation?

We ask writers to send in experience reports or critical essays analysing what border crossings mean; Why it is important to fight for the accessibility of border crossings and how is the transition experienced? We are looking for both individual cases of border crossings and the sociological, political processes of bridging borders.

Bridging across borders can have many forms, from migrating to another country and bridging one’s own and a foreign culture, to international political engagement to find solutions together. They can be seen as progressive steps to confront struggles, such as class, gender or ethnic struggles, by giving the oppressed science, rationality, logic, theory, the means of the mind. Also, education plays a critical role in empowering the mind and the body of the oppressed.

With this, we are looking for stories illustrating the jump to another “entity” in perspective to class, gender, ethnicity, caste, culture or nationality, for example a working class student or a student from a minority who enters universities. What role does the gender gap play? How does socioeconomic and cultural borders affect one’s subjectivity? Is there a certain integration process? And how are all of this is reflected or experienced in your education life?

3. Ontological identity of borders

Ontology is the discipline in philosophy that tries to understand the being of the world, and it’s deeper logic. Some philosophy is centered on establishing borders and distinctions between differences, such as formal logic and Aristotelian logic, or even that of Parmenides (Which says that change is impossible). Others ontologies understand the world from a different perspective, for example Heraclitus, with his famous statement that: “no man ever steps into the same river twice”. These two extremes can be presented as follows; Either everything is (or “should be”) unchangeable, otherwise everything is always changing, flowing and influencing each other (and should be).

In our “modern” times the two positions can vaguely be put up as between “postmodernism”, where (affirmative) borders exist or are self-created, free flowing and independent and essentialist or traditional ontology, for example, positivism, religion and conservatism, where borders are seen as important to sustain inner coherence, to keep the outsider out. Furthermore in positivism the “borders”, can also be translated into the need for having clear and demarcated definitions of concepts and explanations, for example seen in the triumph of natural science and it’s stability.So is it possible to imagine an ontology without borders or at least one that consequently tries to go beyond them or fight them (such as Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy), and how do we imagine such one? Do we imagine this ontology without division between form and content? Between the signified and the signifier? Mind and body? Outside and inside? Friend and stranger? What role do borders play in our perception of the world? And in what way do borders convey truth or falseness? If our normative ideal becomes the one that problematizes borders in itself, we consequently must try to establish some philosophical base for this counter-perspective of borders. Can we reconstruct the actual meaning of borders into something positive, something of resistance or of affirmation, creation, and possibility? Here the writers can reflect on personal experiences as well as formative experiences made during encounters with one’s own university and education.

Prize Competition for the CEA Conference in New York City
Selection Process

If you want to participate in the Prize Competition, in addition to getting your submission published on our website:

  1. Send us your work and remember to add “CEA conference” in the subject line by April 5, 2019.
  2. The submissions will be evaluated based on their the originality, argumentation, and ideas, and the selected candidate will be informed around April 30.
  3. Reply to confirm/cancel your acceptance to the opportunity by May 7.
  4. If you are selected and confirm, CEA will cover the conference fee, a return ticket between the city of your home institution and New York as well as accommodation in New York during the conference.
  5. Prepare and come join us in New York from June 7 to 9th with innovative and critical students, educators, and scholars from around the world!

Send us your work

  • Use “CEA conference_Foucs submission_title_name ” as the subject in the email
  • Attach media (pictures, audio, video, etc) content separately in your email
  • Send to our e-mail at ce.submission@gmail.com
  • Learn about our submission guidelines, if you have other concerns
  • We will send notifications to you via the email we receive your work, so please make sure that you check your email regularly and respond timely.

If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to contact us: criticaledges(at)gmail.com. Our Crossing Borders Focus will last start publishing from April 15, 2019.

Critical Edges Editorial Board & Critical Edge Alliance
March, 2019

Illustration by Rosa Nan von Leunbach.



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