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Borders and Boundaries

Starts: 27 September 2013

Borders and Boundaries

The First Annual SHARE PG Symposium

Borders and Boundaries: A One-Day, Multidisciplinary, Research Symposium for Postgraduates in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University

Borders and Boundaries are critical to the organisation of both the world around us and our knowledge of it. Where a boundary is normally conceived as a relatively clear-cut point of separation between two things, a border is a more amorphous category, which can incorporate ideas of ‘liminality’ and admixture. Borders and boundaries can be physical and might include fortifications, walls or any other physical divide. They also pertain to features of the physical environment, such as the distinction between valley and vale. Further physical boundaries include those that mark administrative regions or nation states (or areas within a given city, even), but these are, more often than not, notional divisions. Ideas of borders and boundaries also inform chronological sequences, such as the division between the Bronze and Iron Age or the Meso- and Neolithic. They even encompass thresholds between this-worldly and other-worldly locations (such as heavens and hells).  The very distinction between fact and fiction is a boundary that everyone believes they understand, but which is, in many contexts, rather elusive. Borders and boundaries also speak to the zones of contact between an object and its environment or its visitors. Even here, at a chemical level, the assumed dividing line between a given object and its environment is, in fact, a dynamic frontier. When one adds to this the division between cultures, religions, languages, between words themselves, and – related to this - cultural typologies (of foodstuffs, animal or plant life, to name only a few), one has a formidable list. This is without considering the borders and boundaries between academic disciplines and methods, which are particularly apposite for a school of History, Archaeology and Religion.


There is a final border, or boundary, to cross for all postgraduates: that between one’s studies and one’s career. The symposium will also, therefore, include a round-table discussion with invited speakers that have successfully crossed this boundary (into academic and non-academic professions).



Academic and Social Programme


9-9:20: Coffee and Welcome


9:30-10:20: Keynote Address: Prof. James Whitley: Is Boris Johnson an Individual? Homer’s Heroes between Melanesia and Modernity


10:30-11.30: Panel One: Borders and Boundaries in Wales


Beth Jenkins, ‘Lady Doctors: The Suggested Appointment at Cardiff Gaol’: Challenging cultural boundaries and expanding gendered borders in Victorian Cardiff.

Thomas George, ‘I should be very pleased if you would kindly help me to get a situation in the munitions works’: gendered boundaries in the workplace in Wales during the First World War

Simon Jenkins, Moral Margins: Traversing the borderlands of race, gender, and space in Cardiff’s prostitution, c.1919-c.1950


11.40-12:40: Panel Two: Conceptual Boundaries: Historical or Historiographical?


Heather Crowley, ‘The Munāsafāt of the Muslim States and the Frankish Condominia in the Medieval Levant: Blurred Boundaries’

Ioannis Smyrnaios, ‘Social demands and technological boundaries in Athenian Early Iron Age pottery production’

Alex Davies, ‘Does the traditional divide between the Bronze Age and Iron Age represent a real cultural boundary?


12.45-1:30: Lunch


1:35-2:35: Panel Three: Religious Boundaries: Physical and Metaphysical


Susannah Deane: “There is power in belief”: Creating space for psychiatric illness and healing in the Tibetan context.

Abdul Azim Ahmed: Mosques in Britain 

Riyaz Timol: Exploring the Cultural Boundaries of the Tablighi Jama’at: Real or Imaginary?


2:40-2:55: Coffee and Launch of new postgraduate e-journal


3:00-4:00: Panel Four: Methodological and Theoretical Boundaries


Betty Binysh: How do ‘Theory’ and ‘Approaches’ border on real-life research?

Eric Nordgren: ‘Archaeological Conservation: from the Centre to the Periphery of an Emerging Profession?’

Amber Lawson: ‘Borders and boundaries in researching coatings and corrosion from a conservation perspective’


4:05-5:00:  Roundtable Discussion: Borders, Boundaries and Careers (with academic and professional speakers)


5:15-late: Drinks at The Pen and Wig

Trevithick Seminar Rooms One and Two from 9.00am to 5.00pm

Other information

Open To: Staff and Students