Contested Borders? Practicing Empire, Nation and Region in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Contested Borders? Practicing Empire, Nation and Region in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Levke Harders (Bielefeld University) & Falko Schnicke (German Historical Institute London)
German Historical Institute London
United Kingdom
Vom - Bis
26.04.2018 - 28.04.2018
Levke Harders, Abteilung Geschichte, Fakultät für Geschichtswissenschaft, Philosophie und Theologie, Universität Bielefeld

This conference intends systematically (1) to contribute to the definition of ‘belonging’ as a research concept, (2) to explore the region as a category of historical research, and (3) to combine regional analyses consistently with perspectives drawn from the nation-state and (post)imperialism, as has been repeatedly demanded in recent literature, (4) to contribute to overcoming a widely criticized ‘methodological nationalism’ via transregional and transnational approaches. We will examine how belonging is created, as well as instances of suppressed or prevented belonging, and the political, social, and personal hierarchies associated with them. How were inclusion and exclusion created? What role did the different forms of boundaries between empires, states, nations, and regions play? What actors were involved in the creation of belonging, in the drawing of borders, and in crossing them? Fractures, resistance, and interrogations can be used to reveal lines of conflict and demonstrate the elementary functioning of the politics of belonging, and the logic behind them. We are interested both in specific local/regional and state practices of belonging, and in the concepts inherent in them.


Thursday, 26 April 2018
1:30 pm
Arrival & Registration

2 pm
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Andreas Gestrich (London, Director of the GHIL)
Falko Schnicke (London) and Levke Harders (Bielefeld)

2:30 pm
Session 1: Belonging and Nation-building
Timothy Baycroft (Sheffield): Models of Belonging: Historical Reflections
Michael Rowe (London): Imagining the Rhineland: Region and Nation Building in France and Germany

4:30 pm
Session 2: Politics of Representation
Cindy McCreery (Sydney): Crossing the Line: Political, Spatial and Racial Border Crossings in the 1901 British Imperial Royal Tour
Falko Schnicke (London): Performing the Commonwealth: Britain’s First Post-Colonial State Visits to India and Pakistan in 1961

6:15 pm
Floya Anthias (London): Thinking with ‘Belonging’ as an Analytical and Political Prism: Complexities and Translocations

8 pm
Dinner at TAS Restaurant, 22 Bloomsbury St, London WC1B 3QJ (at own expense)

Friday, 27 April 2018
9:30 am
Session 3: Practices and Spaces of Belonging
Ursula Lehmkuhl (Trier): Processes of De- and Re-Territorialization and Practices of Placemaking and Belonging: Theoretical Considerations and Analytical Perspectives in International History
Maiken Umbach (Nottingham): Borders and other Boundaries: Heimat and the Private Photography of Jews and Other Germans in Nazi Germany

11:15 am
Session 4
Migration and Contested Belongings
Levke Harders (Bielefeld): Alsace as Borderlands: Migration and Region in the Nineteenth Century
Anne Winter (Brussels): Non-nationals between Belonging and Expulsion: Cities and ‘Foreigners’ in the Formative Years of the Belgian Kingdom, 1830-1880s

1:45 pm
Session 5: Border Practices
Benjamin D. Hopkins (Washington): Frontier as Practice: Frontier Governmentality along the Nineteenth Century Global Periphery
Sarah Frenking (Göttingen): Practices and Perception of Spatial Ordering: French-German Bordermaking around 1900

3:30 pm
Guided Tour: Migration History in London (in cooperation with the Migration Museum)

6 pm
Philip Murphy (London): Foreigners, Friends and Family: The Conservative Party and the Problem of British National Identity since 1945

7:30 pm
Dinner at the German Historical Institute London

Saturday, 28 April 2018
9:30 am
Session 6: (Post-)Colonial Regions
Julio Decker (Bristol): Transfers, Adaptions, Withdrawals: Contested Spatial Regimes in German Southwest Africa, 1884-1914
Anne-Isabelle Richard (Leiden): Eurafrica and African Belonging in the Late 1940s

11:15 am
Session 7: Empire and Beyond
Amanda Behm (York): Edens of Exclusion: the Anglo-American Pacific and the Fates of the Late-Modern British Empire
Almuth Ebke (Mannheim): Britain 1981: Spheres of Belonging in a Post-Imperial Society

12:45 pm
Reflections on the Conference & Closing Discussion
Gerard McCann (York): Concluding remarks

13:30 pm
End of Conference

There are a limited number of participant/discussant places available on a first come basis. Expressions of interest should be emailed to by 19 April 2018. Please note that (free of charge) advance registration is mandatory and that participants will have to make their own travel arrangements.


Levke Harders

Universität Bielefeld, Abteilung Geschichte
Universitätsstraße 25, DE-33615 Bielefeld