Monday 12 January, 19:30

Barcelona debate 2004 - Borders

Lecture series

Modern Europe was constructed on the basis of the idea of the nation-state where community, culture and power represented a single geographical and metaphorical entity that was clearly differentiated from the neighbouring nation. Borders were understood simply as a zone of passage between such entities, each of which recognised and defended its own particular identity. At the same time, in the collective imaginary, an idea was consolidating of borders that separated Europe from other cultures, which were regarded, depending on the cases, as greater or lesser expressions of barbarism.

Throughout the twentieth century, progress being made in the social sciences and the dismantling of colonial structures saw the beginning of a progressive questioning of the idea of the border so that those limits that had once been considered "natural" came to be understood as the result of a process of political, social and cultural construction. With the process of globalisation, the earlier geopolitical and symbolic borders have been displaced by the emerging imaginary of the "global city", a hybrid concept where the border ceases to be a zone of passage and becomes an area of cohabitation in which any place can constitute a threshold between us and them. Meanwhile, geopolitical borders continue to be of prime importance in shaping our surroundings.

How has the idea of border changed? What former borders persist and what new ones are appearing? To what extent are the emerging borders endangering our ability to defend universal values?

With the aim of debating these issues, the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona and the Collserola Foundation propose a cycle of talks to be held between 12 January and 22 March 2004.

12 January  «The Borders of Europe»

Tzvetan Todorov. Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Paris), historian and philosopher.

19 January «The Concept of the Border»

Manuel Cruz , Professor of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona.

26 January «Between Civilisation and Barbarism»
Francisco Fernández Buey, Professor of Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy at the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona.

2 February «Wealth as Frontier: the Cultural and Global Guidelines of Economic Development»

David S. Landes, Professor Emeritus of History and Economics at Harvard University.

9 February  «East-West: the Imaginary Fracture»
Georges Corm, Economist and former Finance Minister of Lebanon and author of the book The Imaginary Fracture. The Rational Spirit and Religion in the East and West (2003).

16 February «Community and Citizenship: the Limits of Collective Identity»
Dominique Schnapper
Sociologist and member of the Conseil Constitutionnel (France).

23 February «Cultures Without Territory»
Roger Bartra, Lecturer in Social and Political History, Institute of Social Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

1 March  «Architecture as a Border: the Wall Between Israel and Palestine»
Eyal Weizman
, Architect and expert on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and co-author of the book, A Civilian Occupation. The Politics of Israeli Architecture (Babel Publishers, 2003).

8 March  «"From frontlines to borders in Europe and around"»
Michel Foucher , Geographer and author of the book Fronts et frontières. Un tour du monde géopolitique (Fayard, 1991), and presently the French Ambassador to Latvia.

15 March «The End of Territories»
Bertrand Badie, Professor of International Relations at the Institut d'Études Politiques in Paris.

22 March  «New Borders and Universal Values»

Zygmunt Bauman, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds and the University of Warsaw.


Centre de Cultura Contemporŗnia de Barcelona, Collserola Foundation
With the collaboration of
Consulate General of the United States of America - Barcelona, School of Humanities of Universitat Pompeu Fabra