Frontiers in the Contemporary Moment 1: Of Culture and Capital

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Political Geography Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Development Geographies Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (MDT)
Room: Napoleon C1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Organizers: Teo Ballve, Julie Klinger
Chairs: Teo Ballve


Frontiers are socially produced spaces. As Anna Tsing puts it, they are ‘conjured’ into being through anti-local and extra-local powers. The frontier as a concept, debate, field site, and object of study has a long and storied history in Geography (See, for example, Holditch 1899; Hills 1906; Browne 1929; Foweraker 1981; Blomley 2003; Hecht 2005; Redclift 2006; Barney 2009; Moore 2011; Peluso and Vandergeest 2011; Ballvé 2012; Watts 2012; RGS-IBG 2013; Hecht 2016; Klinger 2017, inter alia), but the term has received comparatively little attention relative to the discipline’s other spatial keywords—region, location, scale, place, territory, etc. Leaving aside the question of international “borders,” the proposed session seeks papers that examine the spatiality of frontiers from critical perspectives and in the present moment.

In particular, this paper and panel series proposes to explore how contemporary frontiers are produced by and how they continue to shape contemporary societies. The basic premise here is that all frontiers are the real-and-or-imagined “edges” of something for someone, but this call for papers purposefully leaves open the question as to what exactly the frontier in question is the “edge of.” Paper topics could range from state power to resource extraction; from expansionist cultural projects, to urbanization, and much more. Through a collection of papers, the sessions aim to answer the questions: How should we conceptualize today’s frontiers? How are these frontiers being created? How do they work and what work do they do?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Julie Ren*, Humboldt University Berlin, The Politics of Aspiration at the Cultural Frontier: Contemporary Art Biennials in Dakar and Taipei 20 8:00 AM
Presenter Charles Solberg*, McGill University, Sarah Turner, McGill University, Creating a frontier cultural project in the Sino-Vietnamese borderlands: Miao (Hmong) ethnic minority livelihood struggles. 20 8:20 AM
Presenter Bruce Erickson*, University of Manitoba, The Neoliberal Frontier in Churchill: Tourists, Bears and Failure 20 8:40 AM
Presenter Vera Smirnova*, Virginia Tech, Territories of Dispossession in the Frontier: Enclosure and Capitalist Appropriation of the Russian Land Commune 20 9:00 AM
Discussant Teo Ballve Colgate University 20 9:20 AM

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