Review of Bordering/debordering International Conference

Review of Bordering/debordering International Conference

This weekend, GCAS and the University of Primorska hosted the bordering/debordering International Conference, an event we were proud to help organize. The conference took place at Hotel Spik in Gozd Martuljek on the border of Slovenia, Italy and Austria.

The conference’s theme was more concrete than, perhaps, its name would suggest: Speakers at the conference reflected on the philosophical and practical implications of borders, focusing specifically on the ongoing immigration crisis affecting Europe and Central Asia, and to a lesser degree immigration world-wide. Consequently, the conference was as concerned with praxis as it was theory, if not more so. The idea, then, was to determine an underlying cause of the crisis (borders) and to explore a possible means of transcending it (debordering).

Prof. Dr. Edward Casey and Philosopher, Tomaz Grusovnik

Prof. Dr. Edward Casey and Philosopher, Tomaz Grusovnik

Over a dozen nations were represented at the conference. Perspectives were varied. Some scholars focused on the linguistic underpinnings of borders–Prof. Helena Motoh, of the University of Primorska, in her lecture “The Sorrow of Departure: The Conceptions of Border and Migration in Late Zhou China”–and others focused on their pulmonary underpinnings–Prof. Petri Berndston, of the University of Jyvaskala, in his lecture, “Cultivating a Respiratory Culture of Hospitality.”

Professors Rocco Gangle and Gianluca Caterina presented on a new paradigm of thinking through ways in which category theory creates new ways of resisting surveillance systems and creating new configurations of subjectivity on the ontological level in their talk entitled, “Covering Spaces: Topos Theory and Non-Classical Political Geography”.

Rocco Gangle just completed teaching a AMEU-GCAS seminar “Category Theory and Philosophical Dialectics” that offers new ontological and political configurations and possibilities.

Prof. Dr. Joel Katelnikoff

Prof. Dr. Joel Katelnikoff

GCAS also presented an extraordinary “experimental panel” that featured Cara Judea Alhadeff (GCAS), Joel Katelinikoff (GCAS, University of Alberta, Canada), Peggy Ann Bloomer (GCAS, Quinnipiac University) and Sigrid Hackenberg y Almansa (GCAS-Director of Critical Philosophy Institute, and Pacific Northwest College of Art). Dr. Alhadeff’s talk was about the creation of a new parenting world as performance art/philosophy. Dr. Katelinikoff presented on his work on Viktor Shklovsky in an ingenious new fabric of poetic expression. Dr. Bloomer presented on “Inside and Outside the Hero: A Work in Progress” that proffered a new angle on positioning the “hero” within postmodernist site of articulation. Finally, Dr. Hackenberg y Almansa provided a radical new way of doing philosophy that breaks free from the corporate neoliberal prison-house that gives way to a new “non-ego” space of collective becoming. In sum, it was an extraordinary pleasure to see some of the most creative-activists-philosophers creating a new space for doing philosophy today.

Keynote, Prof. Edward Casey gave an excellent talk on the relationship between “Walls” and the political ethics of hospitality on Thursday evening.

Prof. Dr. Sigrid Hackenberg y Almansa

Prof. Dr. Sigrid Hackenberg y Almansa

Prof. Lenart Skof (Chair of the Conference Committee and Head of the Institute for Philosophical Studies, Science and Research Centre of Koper, University of Primorska and a professor at GCAS) offered an ethical examination of hospitality in an age of massive immigration. His talk was entitled, “On Migration, Extreme Vulnerability, and new Material Ethics of Hospitality”. Prof. Skof will be guest lecturing in the “New Theological Horizons” seminar starting July 5th.

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Maja Bjelica, a conference organizer, offered an amazing musical concert with istRaNbuL on Saturday night.
Here, though, is what all in attendance shared: They spent their weekend giving serious thought to a serious problem. They came not just to spend a few days in the Julian Alps–which, admittedly, are lovely–but to apply their discipline to as worthy and pressing a cause as exists today.

Together it was a great practice to observe how philosophers and theorists came together to work through an acute issue of immigration and hospitality in very practical ways.