SYMPOSIUM | Riverine Borders - On rivers and other border materialities

In the framework of the exhibition Al río / To the River by Zoe Leonard

20.05.2022 | 09h00 – 18h00

Mudam Auditorium

Waterways are essential components of the living and non-living world. They shape landscapes and serve as demarcation lines – as “natural borders” – between states in many parts of the world. In addition to being lines that separate, rivers and streams are also lines that connect, and borderland territories are often particularly rich places of life, interaction, passage, porosity, cross-pollination and exchange.

Organized in the context of Zoe Leonard’s exhibition Al río / To the River, a series of lectures and the symposium Riverine Borders: On rivers and other border materialities will focus on the materiality of these river borders both from a territorial, geographical, and political point of view, and also from a metaphorical perspective, as arbitrary places where interests and ideologies overlap and clash.

A number of scholars and researchers in the fields of visual arts, cultural studies, history and geography will consider the riverine border in the North American and European contexts. Their interventions are both part and a continuation of contemporary debates on the status and the (symbolic) meanings of borders. These questions of borders have gained particular momentum in recent decades. The significance of borders as a response to the rise of burgeoning nationalisms or the ongoing migration management crisis in particular, has led to a forced digitalisation of border regimes, an increase in physical and digital surveillance and the multiplication of border installations worldwide.

This programme has been developed in conjunction with Zoe Leonard’s exhibition Al río / To the River (26.02–06.06.2022, Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean) in collaboration with partners of the UniGR-Center for Border Studies: University of Luxembourg (Geography and Spatial Planning), Universität des Saarlandes (North American Literary and Cultural Studies) and Universität Trier (Trier Center for American Studies).

Schedule of the symposium

09h00-09h45: Possibility to visit the exhibition and have a small breakfast at Mudam Café

09h45: welcoming and small introduction

10h00-12h30: First section on the materiality of the river: Rebekka Kanesu, Dr. Ifor Duncan, Dr. C.J. Alvarez

12h30-14h00: Lunch break + possibility to visit the exhibition

14h00-16h30: Second section on the river as a metaphor: Elisabeth Lebovici & Catherine Facerias, Dr. Daniela Johannes, Prof. Dr. Astrid Fellner

17h00: Closing and final discussion