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The political aesthetics of boundaries and crossings

This interdisciplinary volume explores the role of images and representation in different borderscapes. It provides fresh insight into the ways in which borders, borderscapes and migration are imagined and narrated by offering new ways to approach the political aesthetics of the border. The case studies in the volume contribute to the methodological renewal of border studies and present ways of discussing cultural representations of borders and related processes. The case studies address the role of borders in narrative and images in literary texts, political and popular imagery, surveillance data, video art and survivor testimonies in a highly comparative range of geographical contexts ranging from northern Europe, via Mediterranean and Mexican–US borderlands to Chinese borderlands. The disciplinary approaches include critical theory, literary studies, social anthropology, media studies and political geography. The volume argues that borderlands and border-crossings (such as those by migrants) are present in public discourse and more private, everyday experience. This volume addresses their mediation through various stories, photographs, films and other forms. It suggests that narratives and images are part of the borderscapes in which border-crossings and bordering processes take place, contributing to the negotiation of borders in the public sphere. As the case studies show, narratives and images enable identifying various top-down and bottom-up discourses to be heard and make visible different minority groups and constituencies.

Borders and images in migration narratives published in Norwegian
Johan Schimanski

This chapter brings together the concerns of border aesthetics and ‘post-national’ imagology. Setting out to map images of Northernness in contemporary migrant literature that features viewpoints originating from the global ‘South’, it discusses the border processes implied by stereotypical images of the other and of the self. It addresses a number of fictional or autobiographical public narratives written in Norwegian by migrants arriving in Norway as children or young adults, including testimonial narratives by the child refugee Amal Aden and ‘illegal’ migrant Maria Amelie, along with semi-autobiographical novels by Romeo Gill and Sara Azmeh Rasmussen. Migrant narratives negotiate discourses of arcticity, winterliness, nordicity etc., known from imagological research on Northernness. The chapter asks to what degree various topoi of Northernness contribute to the bordering processes in the texts, or whether these narratives produce new images of Northernness and new vocabularies for addressing the border-crossing. The narratives deploy chiastic switchings between North and South, circling disorientations, entropic white-outs and liberating and destructive verticalities in order to figure the border in new ways at different points of their physical and symbolic journeys. The ambivalence of these images shows that they are related not merely to borders but also to the epistemological borders negotiated.

in Border images, border narratives
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Border images and narratives: paradoxes, spheres, aesthetics
Johan Schimanski and Jopi Nyman

this book goes back to work in a previous research project, Border Aesthetics ( 2010 ), and more specifically one chapter in the book that resulted from that project: the chapter addressing the key word ‘in/visibility’, by two of our present contributors, Chiara Brambilla and Holger Pötzsch (2017) . The theme of in/visibility suggests that a central problem of politics and aesthetics in contemporary borderscapes is a contradiction, an ambiguity or a paradox concerning the role of aesthetics in the political sphere. To have agency in democracies is a question of

in Border images, border narratives
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Images and narratives on the border
Jopi Nyman and Johan Schimanski

natural to see Simmel as a precursor also of the field to which we see this book contributing: that of border aesthetics. Müller-Funk refers to various texts by Simmel, among them ‘Brücke und Tür’ (‘Bridge and Door’, 1997a ). This short text, on the way in which we see our world through both borders and connections, considers a short series of central figurations of the divisions and joinings between different spaces: the path, the bridge, the door (and implicitly the threshold) and the window. These are conceptual metaphors, ways of grouping a

in Border images, border narratives
Images of the ‘Jungle’ in Breach by Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes
Jopi Nyman

makes it relevant from the perspective of border aesthetics. In Lundén's view, the open form is particularly apt for representing the ‘contrapuntal’ value system of a nation such as the United States whose national culture is full of ‘centripetal and centrifugal forces’ ( 2000 : 108), that is, paradoxes and contradictions that reveal cultural divisions or what he calls ‘biformities’, tension between actors at different levels such as ethnicities and the nation (see Lundén, 2000 : 108). For Lundén, such perceptiveness to biformities is specific to the genre and makes

in Border images, border narratives
Young people, subjectivity and revolutionary border imaginations in the Mediterranean borderscape
Chiara Brambilla

1 My conceptual and ethnographic research for this text has been conducted within the framework of the research project EUBORDERSCAPES (2012–2016) funded by European Commission FP7-SSH-2011-1 (290775). My reflection in this chapter is also closely related to my participation in the transdisciplinary Border Aesthetics research project (Norwegian Research Council 2010–2013). 2 In Mazara

in Border images, border narratives
Ethnic minorities and localities in China’s border encounters with Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam
Victor Konrad and Zhiding Hu

. In this expanding yet integral ‘borderworld’, dissensus vies with consensus to characterise the conceptualisation and materialisation of borders (Rancière, 2015 ; Rodney, 2017 ). With a growing participation of actors in borderlands and bordering, a broader range and complexity of cultural production of borders is evident (Schimanski and Wolfe, 2010 ). Also, the aperture for expression of border aesthetics is enlarged, and the concomitant richness and complexity of cultural production of borders invites greater research and understanding (Schimanski, 2015

in Border images, border narratives
Border figures of the fantastic
Patricia García

and the agency is displaced from the ghost to the building (see García, 2015a : 19–47). 6 See Meta Mazaj's study ( 2019 ) for an extensive discussion on the migrant codes and transgressions in Abbasi's film, within the context of border aesthetics and European cinema. 7 ‘pour

in Border images, border narratives
Seen and unseen migrants
Stephen F. Wolfe

face and skin (see Brambilla's Chapter 4 above for a theorisation of the notion of the in/visible and its usefulness in border aesthetics). Lamming's first novel, In the Castle of My Skin ( 1953 ), makes this point dramatically, often in terms of the traumatic representations of the male body, but in The Emigrants we find a strangely similar dilemma: except with a focus on female characters: I was getting the queerest feeling, and then looked in the mirror, and the

in Border images, border narratives
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Imagin(in)g the materiality of digital networks
Holger Pötzsch

–34 . Brambilla , C. , and H. Pötzsch ( 2017 ) ‘ In/visibility ’, in J. Schimanski and S.F. Wolfe (eds), Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections. New York : Berghahn Books , pp. 68–89 . Castells , M. ( 1996 ) The Rise of the Network Society . Cambridge : Blackwell

in Border images, border narratives