Living with (un)familiarity in borderlands, Japan and Korea

Interesting conference format — it convenes first in Fukuoka, Japan, then hops over to Tsushima Island, ending up in Busan, Korea.


Call for papers
Border Regions in Transition (BRIT) XII conference, 13-16 November 2012, Fukuoka (Japan) & Busan (Korea)

Living with (un)familiarity in borderlands
Session convenors: Bas Spierings (Utrecht University) and Martin van der Velde (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Borderlands provide many opportunities for encountering all sorts of differences, including social, cultural, political, economic, physical and natural ones. A multitude of differences meets in borderlands and borders are their markers. The concepts of familiarity and unfamiliarity are often used to explain whether differences between countries and within cities encourage or discourage mobility and interaction across inter-national and intra-urban borders (Bauman, 1995; Prentice, 2004; Spierings & Van der Velde, 2012).

By building on recent work on everyday encounters with social-cultural differences in cities (Valentine, 2008; Askins & Pain, 2011), this session aims to explore what being and feeling (un)familiar implies with a specific focus on cross-border contexts. In so doing, a wide range of differences on display and their complex interplay in borderlands can be considered here to scrutinize encounters with the (un)familiar on ‘ the other side’.

We invite papers that explore, from a variety of angles – both theoretical and empirical –, experiences and outcomes of encounters with cross-border differences as well as strategies used to deal with unfamiliarity and develop familiarity with differences in inter-national and intra-urban borderlands.

Please submit abstracts (of no more than 200 words) to both Bas Spierings (b.spierings AT and Martin van der Velde (m.vandervelde AT by Wednesday 4 April 2012.

Please also check for more information about the conference.

Many thanks and kind regards,
Bas Spierings
Martin van der Velde