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‘Bodies at the Borders’ conference to be held Jan. 13

MIDDLEBURY — Bordering is a process of restricting human movement in ways that are increasingly recognized as unethical and partisan. In designing the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs’ Seventh-Annual Student-Organized Conference, “Bodies at Borders: The Lived Effects of Settler Colonialism,” to be held on Monday, Jan. 13, three Middlebury College students hope to dig deeper into this issue, addressing the ways in which borders and their consequences affect various human populations.
This year, the annual conference takes the form of a summit, asking participants to engage critically with the material and be heavily involved in the discussions that take place. Scholars of bordering from various fields will come together to speak on bordering in terms of colonial and neocolonial states. Organizers aim to contextualize the global phenomenon of bordering in ways that speak to students in both the humanities and the sciences in a manner that truly embodies the mission of a liberal arts curriculum.
The purpose of the summit is to explore the mechanisms by which borders are established and enforced, as well as to question how these borders affect populations across the globe, including the Native/Indigenous people of the United States and Canada, those confined by bordering in Central and South America, and circumscribed Middle Eastern populations. Two keynote speakers, Marie Cruz Soto of New York University and Thomas Abowd of Tufts University, will speak to the issue of bordering as it relates to the regions of their expertise — Puerto Rico and Palestine, respectively.
Following the first keynote lecture, the audience, seated at roundtables, will have a chance to interact directly with experts to discuss the topics at hand. Middlebury College professors from various disciplines will be scattered around the room to lead conversations that bring their own research interests to bear on the topic. After the second lecture, another break-out discussion will take place, this time led by Indigenous multi-media journalist and organizer Desiree Kane, a Miwok woman with experience documenting the effects of these issues on Indigenous communities. Throughout the night, audience members will be invited to voice their questions and opinions about the subject matter.
Bodies at Borders will begin at 4:30 p.m. with opening remarks followed by the first keynote lecture, by Marie Cruz Soto. At 5:45 p.m., dinner from Sabai Sabai will be served, to be enjoyed over a session of two 30-minute break-out discussions. At 7 p.m., the second keynote lecture will be given by Professor Thomas Abowd, followed by a discussion led by Desiree Kane at 8:10 with catered coffee and desserts. The summit is scheduled to close just before 9 p.m.
All events are free and open to the public and will take place in Wilson Hall in the McCullough Student Center on the campus of Middlebury College. For further information, contact rcga@middlebury.edu.
Schedule
4:30 p.m.: Opening remarks
4:45-5:45 p.m:. Marie Cruz Soto (NYU): “Strategic Spaces, Disposable People: Imperial Imaginings and Colonial Unruliness from Vieques, Puerto Rico”
5:45 p.m.: Dinner from Sabai Sabai served
5:55-7 p.m.: Break-out discussion sessions led by Middlebury professors
7-8 p.m.: Thomas Abowd (Tufts): “Colonizing Jerusalem: The Racialization of Space in a City of Myth”
8 p.m.: Dessert and coffee provided
8:10-8:40 p.m.: Discussion with Indigenous journalist Desiree Kane
8:40 p.m.: Closing remarks

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