07 September 2010


The University of Cambridge's Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) has announced a very interesting competition for a visiting fellowship there during 2011-12 on the theme of 'Cultures and Politics of the Transregional':

Borders – regional as much as national – are constantly being crossed, both in reality and in fantasy, in socio-political systems of lived experience and in socio-cultural systems of representation. They are crossed by the flow of travellers and longer-term migrants; by the transit of goods, symbols and technologies; by the transfer of new narratives and forms of language; and by the transmission of political and other ideas. At the same time, borders are selective barriers to movement, calibrated for imbalance in the relationships between East and West, North and South and the regions that are aligned with these. Transregional flows – transactions or translations on human, cultural, intellectual, political and economic levels – are conditioned by the interests of those who govern the borders in question.

Historically, geographical and legal borders have delimited the reach of regional identities, which were constructed against those perceived as ‘other’ and instituted or reinforced binary divisions in culture, language, institutions and ideas of selfhood. Today, the dynamics of import and export – sustained not least by new technologies – are more able to cross borders, whether political, cultural, linguistic or economic. And the dynamics in question are driven by changing factors: resource depletion, climate change, hegemonic shifts, and economic disparities. This increase in human and cultural traffic transforms not only borders between regions but also circulating values, objects, practices, meanings and identities.

In an age of more globalised movement and exchange, flows across regional borders and the filtering or blocking systems that control them are ever more large-scale and complex in character. Accordingly, they demand rethinking in interdisciplinary and comparative ways. The new transregional constellations can also prompt us to reassess historical forms of relationship between global regions, which may have been obscured by the tendency to focus attention on the regional as a category of understanding and disciplinary organisation.

Adopting a wide comparative perspective in both geographical and historical terms, and considering both bilateral and multilateral forms of relationship, the work on the theme of Cultures and Politics of the Transgregional will focus on achieving a better understanding of the dynamics of flow and the systems of regulation and resistance that operate between and across regions.

This seems very closely related to our aims. The deadline is 1 November 2010 and fellowship details are available here.

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