We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Ustinov College

Breaking Boundaries Conference

Breaking Boundaries in Postgraduate Frontiers and Borders Research

A Conference held at Ustinov College, Durham University, 25-26 November 2011

Quick links:

Call for Papers - CLOSED
Conference Programme - FINAL

Call for Papers and Posters - CLOSED

Keynote Speaker: Professor David Breeze, Friday Evening
("Frontiers of the Roman Empire: a stimulation for international co-operation," with optional dinner and wine reception)

Special Performance: Stephe Harrop, Professional Storyteller, Saturday
("The Border Ballads," with wine reception)

Frontiers, borders, boundaries and barriers are a familiar feature of contemporary human experience. We face them in the geopolitical realities of modern nation-states, social, ethnic, gender and class divisions, cultural taboos, moral lines drawn by the secular and the divine, the passage between life and death, and in a vast array of ideological lines drawn by individuals and societies. Historical and contemporary frontiers alike play an important role in human behaviour, as they are often barriers with which we must contend and/or negotiate, sometimes even long after they cease to serve their original function. Borders - ideological, physical, imposed and entrenched - have always been central in global and local conflicts.  Perhaps paradoxically, frontiers may also simultaneously serve the contradictory roles of both exclusion and inclusion, helping to forge new and sometimes hybrid identities. Frontiers are thus an essential and timely topic for academic research across a variety of disciplines. This conference aims to provide a venue for the sharing of postgraduate research on frontiers and borders from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, with a special emphasis on "breaking boundaries" through the application of new approaches, cross-disciplinary theories and methods, accounts of discrepant experience and movement across frontiers, as well as new research that challenges long-established paradigms. The conference also aims to provide a valuable postgraduate counterpart and voice to the larger "Life of the Frontier" multidisciplinary research theme to be centred at Durham in 2011-12 under the auspices of the Institute of Advanced Study (

We are seeking proposals for both paper and poster presentations. All proposals will be considered, and we welcome abstracts from postgraduate students working in any discipline, period and/or geographic region. All proposals should relate to topics on frontiers and/or borders as broadly defined above, and we particularly welcome abstracts that demonstrate a "breaking boundaries" theme. Peer-reviewed publication avenues will be pursued for all papers, and a further selection of papers may be invited for further discussion at the Durham Frontiers Conference to be held in March 2012. Please submit abstracts of c. 250 words to no later than 19 September, 2011 and include PAPER or POSTER in your subject line. As space available for paper presentations is limited, we may not be able to accept all submissions; if you would like for your proposal to be considered for both paper and poster options, please include this with your abstract.

Conference Programme

Here is our draft conference programme:

Friday, 25 November
5:00pm -- Registration and Welcome Tea/Coffee (Fisher House, Ustinov College)

5:30pm -- Keynote: Professor David Breeze, "Frontiers of the Roman Empire: a stimulation for international co-operation"

7:00pm -- Optional Dinner (additional charge, pre-registration required, at Duke of Wellington Pub)

9:00pm -- Drinks in Ustinov College Bar (Fisher House, Ustinov College)

Saturday, 26 November

9:00am -- Registration and Welcome Tea/Coffee (Fisher House, Ustinov College)

9:45am -- Welcome and logistics by Conference Co-organisers

9:50am -- Introductory Talk: Dr. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, "Social Science and Humanities discussions on the “Life of the Frontier"

10:10am -- Session 1
   Paper 1: Benjamin N. Vis, "Boundaries beyond confinement: Boundary concepts for studying the social significance of the built environment"
   Paper 2: Marios Kampouris, "The Technological Field. Towards an understanding of the separating effects of technology (and how to overcome them)"

10:55am -- Tea/Coffee Break with Posters

11:10am -- Session 2
   Paper 3: Emily Starkie, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind?: Creating and Enforcing Boundaries in the Victorian Mental Asylum"
   Paper 4: Benjamin Westwood, "Views of an ancient imperial border, from a modern Libyan conflict"
   Paper 5: William Bainbridge, "Debatable Peaks and Contested Valleys: Englishness in the Dolomites"

12:20pm -- Lunch and Posters

1:20pm -- Session 3
   Paper 6: Joy Eddy, "Death on the Frontier: Breaking Boundaries in Cremation Research in Roman Britain"
   Paper 7: Marie Bønløkke Spejlborg, "Anglo-Danish contacts in the late Viking period"
   Paper 8: Katie Hall, "Crossing Borders: Breaking disciplinary boundaries to examine the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in Britain"

2:30pm -- Tea/Coffee and Posters

2:45pm -- Session 4
   Paper 9: Louise Settle, "Selling sex in the city centre: the geography of prostitution in Edinburgh during the early twentieth century"
   Paper 10: Ming-li Yao, "Reconstruction of a Taiwanese National Community"
   Paper 11: Debojyoti Das, "Re-Imagining Margins, State Power, Space and Territoriality in the Naga Hills"
   Paper 12: Bérénice Guyot-Réchard, "Re-ordering a border space: India and the 1950 Assam earthquake"

4:15pm -- Additional Discussion and Comments by Dr. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly.

4:30pm -- Short Break (with Wine!)

4:45pm -- Storyteller: Stephe Harrop, performing "The Border Ballads"

5:45-7:30pm -- More wine and nibbles!



Unfortunately, we are unable to provide free or organised accommodation for this conference. Participants and attendees will need to make their own arrangements, and there are many lovely options throughout Durham.

Limited university-based accommodation may be available through the University's Event Durham website.

Spare beds and floor-space may also be available in limited quantities. If interested in this option, please email us at and we can try to facilitate your plans.

Ustinov College Crest Institute of Advanced Study logo