Opening Speech. Prof. Karl Schlögel: Borderland Europe – Borders and Conflicts in Europe in the 20th Century

Opening Speech Viadrinicum 2017

“Borderland Europe – Borders and Conflicts in 20th Century Europe” by Professor Dr. Karl Schlögel

The great changes in Europe after 1989 have re-opened our view on many fundamental political, social and cultural issues, among others on borders, boundaries, border zones, borderlands. Borders which have been taken for granted for ever ceased to exist, territories which never have been borderlands have become border zones, even frontlines as we have seen in former Yugoslavia, in Ukraine today and the contested border areas of the European Union in the Mediterranean Sea. Border management – hard or soft – has become one of the crucial issues in Europe today. The idea of overcoming national boundaries in Europe (Schengen) is obviously competing with the necessity of maintaining control and defending the sovereignty of nation states. The discourse on borders after the fall of the Iron curtain has to cope with entirely new challenges – or not so new ones, as the history of Europe as the „continent of moving borders“ (Joseph Roth) will demonstrate. Frankfurt on the Odra river is a good place for rethinking the entire complex of European borderlands then and now.

Karl Schlögel is a publicist and one of the most renowned experts on Eastern European history in Germany. Until recently he has been professor for Eastern European history at the University of Konstanz and the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. His books primarily address the culture of modernity and municipal history in Eastern Europe, especially Russia, as well as Russian emigration in the 20th century. His most important publications include “Decision in Kiev. Lessons from Ukraine”, 2015; “Archeology of communism, 2014; “Petersburg. Laboratory of modernity, 2002; and “Moscow 1937”, 2012.

Moderation: Professor Dr. Alexander Wöll

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