Essey on Annual Meeting of Association for Borderlands Studies
This year's Association of Border Studies (ABS) Annual Meeting coordinated by Professor IWASHITA Akihiro took place in Portland between the 8th and 11th of April. The meeting attracted participants from many regions including but not limited to Europe, North and South America, Asia and Oceania. Participants represented not only multiple countries and regions but also various disciplines ranging from geography and history to cultural studies and international relations. One thing that united them was the interest in borders-geographical borders, identity borders and other physical and mental constructs that create a certain boundary between human groups.
My own academic interest is in territorial disputes in Northeast Asia but by attending various panels I learned a lot about territorial disputes and other border related issues in different regions. One of the things that I learned for example is that France (as a result of its possession of a territory in South America called French Guiana) actually has a border with Brazil! I have also learned about the various problems that local people living in this border area face and the attempted solutions to these issues on local and state levels.
Overall, the conference was perfectly organized and a great learning experience. I would like to thank all of the organizers and especially Prof Iwashita for putting together such a great event. (written by Alexander Bukh, Victoria University of Wellington)