Buffer Zones: Border Space in Liminality

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Coolidge, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Hyun-Gwi Park, Franck Bille
Chairs: Franck Bille


Historically and theoretically, linear and zonal concepts have been axiomatic to our understanding of borders and borderlands. This binary pair of notions has been mobilized in conjunction with other geopolitical notions through pairs such as state/empire, edge/margin, indexical/non-indexical borders. This panel challenges this binary understanding of borders/borderlands by taking ‘buffer zones’ seriously as a geopolitical concept. In particular, we suggest our panelists might focus on the notion of buffer zones in the following three instantiations. First, buffer zones bring in a temporal dimension to our understanding of border space, thereby highlighting a historical and dynamic dimension in border studies which tends to revolve around the axiom of line/zone pair, in a near-static way. As used in information technology, ‘buffering’ indexes control in the speed of flow within a given time period; such usage in a geopolitical context suggests a suspension of certain temporal situations such as conflicts and wars. This temporal and processual aspect of buffer zones further guides us to understand border spaces in relational terms, considering their liminal aspects in relation to linear and zonal concepts of the borderland. In this sense, the liminality of buffer zones might equip scholars with more sophisticated conceptual tools to apprehend conventional border spaces and border lines. Finally, this panel pays attention to its spatial potentiality to be transformed into something. This spatial capacity will invite us to imagine border spaces not as fixed geographical entities but as in-between spaces continually subject to transformation into other kinds of spaces.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Franck Bille*, University of California - Berkeley, Auratic Geopolitics: On Backyards and Concorporeality 15 9:55 AM
Presenter Nianshen Song*, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Whose Buffer, Against Whom: Rethinking the Qing-Korean Border River Region 15 10:10 AM
Presenter Hyun-Gwi Park*, Chung-Ang University, Riparian Buffer Zones in Post-Cold War Geopolitics 15 10:25 AM
Presenter Lisa Sang Mi Min*, UC Berkeley, Department of anthropology, Buffer Zones and the Disappearing DMZ 15 10:40 AM
Presenter Natalia Ryzhova*, Palacky University in Olomouc, Playing with barriers: way of life in restricted access border zones in post-Soviet Russia 15 10:55 AM
Discussant Gerard Toal Virginia Tech 20 11:10 AM

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