Northwestern Events Calendar


Anxious Borderlands: De Facto-ness, Uncertainty and Immobility in the semi-recognized Republic of Abkhazia

When: Tuesday, May 7, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: 1800 Sherman Avenue, Suite 1-200, Room 124, Evanston, IL 60201 map it

Audience: Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Morrissey  

Group: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Category: Lectures & Meetings


EDGS Graduate Lecture Series

Mikel Venhovens, Anthropology PhD student, School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University

The borderlands of the de-facto state of Abkhazia take a unique position in the debate on borders due its insecure, anxious and contested nature. Especially as Abkhazian Statehood was established among the ruins of a violent conflict and has afterwards been left with the scars of non-recognition, contested statehood and unresolved conflict.

During this talk, I would like to look at the multiple implications that a de-facto borderization process has on the accompanying landscape and people populating these lands. It can be argued that the borderlands of de-facto states are explicitly meant to be additionally ‘hard’ and immovable, as the insecure, unrecognized state of being makes it more important to stress the existence of the state. Due to this existential need to express where one space begins and where another ends, the ethnic Georgian population still living in the Abkhazian borderlands are severely affected by this process. Once just an administrative borderline on a map, nowadays the border does not just limit their ability to cross it and visit their family and friends but their immobility spreads further, affecting their everyday living environment and their chances of future making. So, how does immobility look like? What kind of forms of immobility exist and how does it affect the daily lives of the people residing in the borderlands?

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