19th Nov 2015 6:30pm
M2, Board Room, Grand Parade
Dr Eugene Michail, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton.0 0 1 253 1448 University of Brighton 12 3 1698 14.0
As the millions of refugees breached the EU borders this summer, they challenged the wider concept of borders. Borders in these last months have functioned not just as obstacles, as generators and reminders of differences, but also as crossing and meeting points, as sites of transgression. This paper focuses particularly at the Aegean islands on the Greek-Turkish frontier, a border most heavily loaded, historically, culturally and politically. It is the border of the EU, the border between two nation-states commonly identified as eternal enemies, the border between Asia and Europe, the border between Christianity and Islam etc. But in the current crisis it is also a border that in some ways it has been conspicuously absent. Surveying the reactions of a wide range of actors (locals, refugees and tourists; the volunteers and the state; regional, national and international), the paper examines: at what levels borders have remained standing and where they have been breached; what cultural and political attitudes have come to fill these breaches; and the role of historical memory in all this process. It will end with some ideas about we might be able to help this historical process.
Eugene Michail is a senior lecturer in transnational history in the School of Humanities at the University of Brighton, researching on modern European history. He is the author of The British And The Balkans: Forming Images Of Foreign Lands, 1900-1950 (2011), and has published works on all modern Balkan wars and on the cultural history of British-Balkan contacts. Currently he is researching the Western reactions to the 1990s Yugoslav Wars & the links between the Greek crisis and Greek history.