International Border Studies Center

at the University of Gdańsk, Poland

Dr Welizarowicz visits University of New Mexico on  October 24-28, 2022 (Teaching mobility, Erasmus+)

I arrived on Saturday before the planned engagements. Albuquerque has a small airport built in the adobe style and designed in a Southwestern/Indo-Hispano/American Indian flavor. Located on a plateau between protrusions of scattered mountain ranges it is cut in half by the Rio Grande. The city has free public transportation as an experimental program. A commute to Santa Fe on a train called Rail Runner is $1.25.

A Roadrunner, a southwestern running bird, welcomed me in the morning at my door steps. Landscape is desert and flat, the horizon immense, the houses mostly in adobe style are low, max. two stories tall. Vegetation is high desert, there are only a few frost resilient palm trees.

University of New Mexico is built in an adobe style too. Many of the buildings are really beautiful, a lot of construction is going on.

I taught my first class at the Spanish and Portuguese Dept on Monday and saw the students again on classes on Wednesday and Friday where we continued our conversations on the topic of Chicano theater. The class was a diverse group of students, bilingual, most but not all of Hispanic background. On Wednesday I taught a seminar “Border Monsters: Spectrality in the Borderlands”. The material presented contained my own research and it was a great opportunity to share it with a group of graduate researchers working with my host Dr. Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez (Chair of the Spanish and Portuguese Studies). The material provoked discussions which we continued well into the night after the class was over. We talked about extending this cooperation further and planned future exchanges.

As my visit coincided with the Hispanic Heritage Month thanks to my host, I participated in local community cultural events. On Tuesday, October 25, I attended a gala for Mexican American film director Hector Galán at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque. This was a cultural event of the highest caliber, and it gathered representatives of the city’s cultural and academic elites. For example, I met Dr. Margie Huerta, the Executive Director of the NHCC, Anthony Fiorillo, the Director of the Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, Edward Lujan Chair Emeritus and the founding director of the NHCC. We visited the mural Mundos de Mestizaje painted on the concave walls of the NHCC’s bell tower or Torreon. The following night we attended a screening of Galán ’s Chicano! The Fight for Homeland (1997) and were able to meet the director. I extended IBSC’s invitation to Gdansk to maestro Galán. He kindly accepted saying that he has “always wanted to go to Warsaw!”. On another occasion we were invited by Chair Orlando Marquez to participate in the gala dinner for the Hispanic Heritage Committee and learnt a lot about the unity of the Hispanic community which includes, as the residents of Albuquerque see it, all nations – UNIDOS – of Latin America.

On another occasion we took a train to Santa Fe and attended the Dia de Los Muertos celebrations on the main plaza of this oldest capital in the United States. In front of the Governor’s palace, we saw young children running in Calavera makeup while Coco was playing on the big screens. Santa Fe is famous for its aura. It is also very pricey. But one can see there some spectacular Indian jewelry, Kachina dolls, and other Native art. Museum of Contemporaty Native American Art is right there, in front of the Santa Fe cathedral.

New Mexico has a special aura. On the train to Santa Fe one passes many Indian pueblos which still live in the same way they lived hundreds of years ago. Rio Grande still flows in their backyards. One feels an ancient weight in Albuquerque, maybe it is the western winds coming down from the Rockies, maybe it is the elevation or the chiles drying in the air. In front of the building at which my classes were held, the Ortega Building, there is a curious monument, standing perhaps too close to the entrance to Ortega, as if inviting one to go inside. Arranged in the form of a cross it leads to the middle and lets one look into the sky. But when one looks below a sign reads “The Center of the Universe.” I liked going in there. Something about New Mexico feels like the center of the universe.

Special thanks to Dr. Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez (UNM Albuquerque, IBSC UG).

Marta Grzechnik and Alexander Drost of IBSC attended Korean-German Comparative Border Studies Forum in South Korea (25-28 October 2022).

ENIEC Annual Meeting in The Hague „In 2021, I became the chair of the European Network on Intercultural Elderly Care. ENIEC is a non-profit European network of professionals representing social care, nursing, management, policy and research, whose work is related to the elderly people with different ethnic background in Europe. ENIEC constitutes a platform to exchange ideas, experiences and practices. Our main aim is to secure that elderly migrant across Europe can live in an environment of tolerance, intercultural understanding and respect. It is important to mention that ENIEC membership is directed at individual professionals, not the institutions.
We decided to organize two Annual Meetings as a Diptych in 2022 and 2023. Diptych – two parts of Europe. In a way, those two parts are still apart and we need to build bridges. ENIEC can act a one of those bridges.
We have the evidence from many countries that relatively big numbers of migrants decide to age abroad. In The Hague we discussed on how we could prevent potential problems related to those migrants’ ageing in foreign countries. We shared the lessons learned from care in earlier stages of migration. Gdańsk will host ENIEC in 2023. However, the annual meetings 2002 and 2023 are not particularly about The Hague and Gdańsk. Those two cities are only examples of western and eastern European cities and we hope to hear from other cities and regions in Europe.” Elżbieta Czapka

The 31st World History Association Conference “Distance, Mobility, and Migration” took place in Bilbao, Spain between 23 and 25 June 2022. The IBSC was represented by Dr. Marta Grzechnik.

The World History Association (WHA), founded in 1982, gathers scholars, teachers, and students. Its aim is to promote world history by encouraging teaching, research, publications, and personal interactions. Since 1992, WHA has organised annual conferences. This year’s conference, co-sponsored by University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), was the first one organised in person since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The opening lecture by Joseba Agirreazkuenaga (UPV/EHU), “The World, a Bigger Bay of Biscay for the Last 500 Years (1522–2022)” put the site of the conference, Bilbao and the Basque Country, in the context of world history as a maritime hub for commerce and exploration. Over the course of the following two days, the participants, meeting in up to nine parallel sessions, had an opportunity to discuss the topics related to world history in its various facets, including questions of teaching world history at all levels. The IBSC was represented by Marta Grzechnik, who presented a paper “Modernisation through maritimity: Sea and overseas connections in interwar Poland’s attempts to achieve global status.” The conference also included an opportunity of cultural excursions and guided tours, including a guided tour of Bilbao’s most distinctive landmark, the Guggenheim Museum.

International EuARe (European Academy of Religion) Conference: Religion and Diversity, Bologna (Italy), 20-23/06/2022, panel Magic in Ancient Near East and Middle East. Paper delivered on ‘Between Divinatory and Magical Practices in Ancient Mesopotamia’.
In the oldest university in Europe, founded in 1088, I (Krzysztof Ulanowski) represented our IBSC UG on the EuARe conference. The main topic of this conference relates to diversity which characterizes internal dynamics and external relations of all religious faiths in their different dimensions. According to the organizers, religious diversity offers discussions about similarities, differences and also borders of understanding religious practices.
Personally, with the contributors of my panel, we discussed the topic of magical thinking in the ancient word and the differences, borders and dialogue between religion, magic and wisdom. During four days, the scholars from all around the word have presented the different issues related to diversity. As the examples, I cite only three titles presented by the keynote speakers: “The multi-dimensional entanglement of restrictions on religious diversity: A Myanmar case study,” “The role of religion in coping with refugee trauma: agency and resilience,” “New social patterns: old educational structures? Comparative perspectives on how diversity challenges Religious Education in Europe”.
The conference offers the wide variety of auxiliary events connected to the religious topics which allows the participants taking part in the official and non-official discussions.
The 5th Nordic Challenges Conference “Nordic Neighbourhoods: Affinity and Distinction in the Baltic Sea Region and Beyond” took place in Stockholm between 1 and 3 June 2022. It was organised by the ReNEW (Reimagining Norden in an Evolving World) network and hosted at Södertörn University.
Over the course of two and a half days, the participants had an opportunity to discuss the topics related to the Nordic and Baltic regions. The presentations, panels and discussions were dominated by the recent events: the global pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In particular, the keynote lecture by Juhana Aunesluoma (University of Helsinki) “From Cold War to Post-Cold War Hysteresis. Security and Insecurity in the Baltic Sea Region from the 1990s to the Present” revolved around the questions about the post-Cold War period: its starting and ending points, and, most importantly, what does the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 mean not only for the present and future of the region, but also our understanding of its recent, post-Cold War past. The conference also included a cultural programme: a screening of a film “Mans mīļākais karš/My Favorite War” (2020) followed by a Q&A with its director Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen, and a meeting with a writer and playwright Marius Ivaškevičius. The conference gala dinner was accompanied by life music performance by, among others, musicians from Donetsk: Maria Zhylova and Ainura Safarova. The IBSC was represented by Marta Grzechnik.

XII Congreso Internacional de Literatura Chicana y Estudios Latinos: La etica de la hospitalidad y el compromiso con el Otro en la literatura chican y los estudios latinos. (12th International conference on Chicano Literature and Latino Studies: The Ethics of Hospitality and the Commitment to the Other in the Chicano Literature and Latino Studies). Universitat Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona, 20-22 de junio de 2022/June 20-22, 2022.  The conference was organized by HispaUSA and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, in collaboration with Instituto Franklin-UAH and Institut Català de la Vinya y el Vi. The biannual conference returned after the pandemic hiatus. The conference was originally scheduled for 2020. The theme of the conference, “hospitality”, was proposed three years ago and naturally some presenters have since changed their topics or were able to refine them. Some persons were sorely missed. The Texas fiction luminary Rolando Hinojosa, and scholar and editor Gary Keller, the usual presences at the Congreso have recently passed away.  Apart from many interesting papers and lectures the highlights of the conference were: Luis Leal prize for Norma Cantu and her lecture, a lecture by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, Herrera’s Ukraine War-inspired staged reading, launch of a new critical collection on Alejandro Morales’ fiction, the performance of The Canción Cannibal Cabaret by Amalia L. Ortiz and her bandThe IBSC was represented by Grzegorz Welizarowicz who presented the research paper “Rituals of Welcoming: Latinx Encounters in California Place”.

In June the PIASA 8th World Congress on Polish Studies took place in Białystok. This year the discussions focused on Borderlands. IBSC members took active part in these deliberations both in person and online, as the conference took on a hybrid form. The complete program is available here:…/8th-world-congress-on…/ It is worth reminding that the 7th World Congress took place at the University of Gdansk in 2019. Each time the PIASA Congress is organized in Poland the theme is different. Obviously the choice of Borderlands in the context of the current crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border made the academic discussions in Białystok ever more relevant.

Anna Mazurkiewicz was a Visiting Professor at the ScienceCampus, University of Regensburg (Germany). Photos from the Research Colloquium: Cold War Instruments? Exiles from East  Central Europe in U.S. Political Warfare. Organized by: Lehrstuhl Geschichte Südost‐ und Osteuropas an  der Universität Regensburg  Leibniz-Institut für Ost‐ und Südosteuropaforschung, Regensburg in Kooperation mit der Graduiertenschule für Ost‐ und Südosteuropastudien und dem Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus “Europa und Amerika in der modernen Welt.” (28 IV 2022).

Workshop on Cultural and Literary Histories of the North:
„On Friday, February 25th, 2022, I attended a workshop on Issues and challenges of writing cultural and literary histories of the North and the Arctic (Finland, Faroes Islands, Norway, Inuit World, Iceland), organized by cooperation with The International Laboratory For Research On Images Of The North, Winter And The Arctic At The Université Du Québec À Montréal. With support from the Centre d’études sociologiques et politiques Raymond Aron (EHESS), the Centre de recherche sur la littérature et la culture québécoises (UQAM) and the NICH-ARCTIC project (Belmont Forum).
Presentations held by speakers – such as Malan Marnersdóttir from the University of the Faroe Islands – presented the projects they are working on in literary and cultural history while raising the methodological and practical challenges they encounter. These presentations were followed by a period of questions and discussions, led by Yohann Aucante (EHESS), Sylvain Briens (Sorbonne- Université) and Harri Veivo (Université de Caen). „
Agnieszka Oleńska

Launching a new project! Refugee reader at the KBnM PAN in Łódź (Conference: „Migration in the era of social crisis”, organized by the Center for Migration Research of the University of Lodz and the Committee of Migration Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences). IBSC was represented by Ewa Antoszek, Katarzyna Mirgos and Anna Mazurkiewicz, with a special guest: Yulia Kiselyova, Associate Professor of the Department of History, Sources and Archaeology, Kharkiv (ХНУ им. Каразина)

For Border Seminar program, please go to:

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