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Research Unit Borders

Research Unit: Borders

Research Unit: Borders

The RU Borders will analyse whether struggles over borders indicate an emerging split within liberal societies, as well as a possible decline of the liberal script. By addressing such tensions, the RU Borders will help SCRIPTS to contribute to research pertaining to one of the major global challenges in the 21st century and its history: global migration flows.

Borders determine who belongs to a group or society and who can be legitimately excluded. Paradoxically, the liberal script both grants the nation state the control over its borders while also constraining it from doing so, for such an act in turn contradicts the idea of personal and economic freedom and mobility.

Against this background, the Research Unit investigates three main research areas:

1. Historical and contemporary analysis of borders

How do contemporary processes of globalisation, regional integration, and technological change challenge territorial integrity and citizenship? How do contemporary challenges to the liberal script fit into the larger historical pattern of border contestations? RU Borders distinguishes different types of contestations of the border script and compares them across Western and Eastern Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as well as across time.

2. Endogenous and exogenous factors in contestation

To what extent are contestations of territorial integrity driven by endogenous dynamics or exogenous shocks? Who are the actors involved in the alternatives to the liberal script? We focus on contestants of current border regimes as well as the usage of new technologies and global networks.

3. Contestation-driven changes to liberal border script

To what extent have contestations of the liberal script led to changes to the liberal border script itself? Has increased global integration of the world yielded practices regarding borders that look(ed) alike?

Research Projects

Objects from Afar and Sustainable Liberal Identity - The Contestation of Material Representation in National Museums of the Global North
Prof. Dr. Philipp Lepenies, Prof. Dr. Marianne Braig, Prof. Dr. Gülay Çağlar, Prof. Dr. Andreas Eckert, Prof. Dr. Jessica Gienow-Hecht
Nov 01, 2022 — Aug 31, 2025
Varieties of Diversity Scripts
Prof. Dr. Gülay Çağlar, Prof. Dr. Yasemin Soysal, Prof. Dr. Kathrin Zippel
Sep 01, 2022 — Aug 31, 2025
War in Ukraine, Russia’s potential decoupling from the global internet and the changing perspective of emerging powers on internet and data governance
Prof. Dr. Katharina Bluhm, Prof. Dr. Gwendolyn Sasse
Sep 01, 2022 — Aug 31, 2025
The Liberal Script in Ukraine's Contested Border Regions
Dr. Sabine von Löwis, Prof. Dr. Gwendolyn Sasse, Prof. Dr. Christian Volk
Oct 01, 2020 — Sep 30, 2023
Gender, Borders, Memory: Contestation of the Liberal Script in the Catalan Separatist Movement
Prof. Dr. Marianne Braig, Prof. Dr. Gülay Çağlar, Prof. Dr. Jessica Gienow-Hecht, Johannes Heß, Tobias Klee
Sep 01, 2020 — Aug 31, 2023
A Longitudinal and Multilocal Qualitative Analysis of Displacement from Ukraine
Prof. Dr. Gwendolyn Sasse
May 01, 2022 — Apr 30, 2023
Contesting the Liberal Border Script
Prof. Dr. Christian Volk
Oct 01, 2022 — Mar 31, 2023
Debating the Legitimacy of Borders: How the Admission or Refoulement of Refugees is Justified Across the World
Prof. Dr. Marianne Braig, Dr. Daniel Drewski, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gerhards, Prof. Dr. Steffen Mau

Oct 01, 2019 — Sep 30, 2022
Rethinking Individual Self-determination and Women’s Emancipation. Global South Feminism(s) and the Contestation of Liberal Feminist Thought
Prof. Dr. Gülay Çağlar

Jul 01, 2021 — Jul 31, 2022
Manly Empires: Masculinity, Border Expansion, and the Liberal Script in US-German-Japanese Relations, 1868-1914
Prof. Dr. Jessica Gienow-Hecht, Maximilian Klose
Jun 01, 2021 — Dec 31, 2021
Gender, Border Expansion, and the Liberal Script
Prof. Dr. Jessica Gienow-Hecht
Jun 01, 2021 — Dec 31, 2021
Performing the Liberal Script: Audiovisual Arts and the Aesthetics of Self-Determination
Prof. Dr. Jessica Gienow-Hecht
Apr 01, 2019 — Dec 31, 2019