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Independent Reading Groups

Encountering Borders: displacement, transgression, hybridity


Borders and boundaries are often understood either too narrowly (physical dividers) or overly generally (categories). Yet, the question of borders and boundaries forms the very question of social space – the space of our daily practices and routines. Ultimately, borders create social space, as borders define how we move and connect our bodies and ideas. Can we argue, therefore, that the most efficient way to interrogate the meanings and possibilities of the social spaces in which we live is through understanding their borders? Consequently, can we accept the premise that the best way to encounter borders is through spatial practices and physical artifacts that lead to the division of ‘we’ and ‘other?’ This reading group intends to explore the necessity of thinking of any social space (the space of everyday life, whether in urban or rural, public or private environments) in terms of its borders, depicted here through the concepts of displacement, transgression, and hybridity. Through the discussion of a number of texts and several case studies (linked to Architecture or Urban Design), the group will trace the emergence of borders from the point of theoretical discussions of displacement, transgression, and hybridity to physical artifacts and spatial practices that make borders and, consequently, social space tangible and possible.

Reading List

Convenors: vladimir [dot] mikadze [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (Vladimir Mikadze), Nik Luka, Olivier Vallerand, Tanya Gutiérrez Monroy
Meeting times: Mondays, 2:00-4:00pm: 16, 30 September, 28 October, 11, 25 November, *plus Thursday, 17 October
Room 21-6, 3610 McTavish St.