Where do the Americas begin, and where do they end? What is the relationship between the spatial constructions of “area” and “continent”? How were the Americas imagined by different actors in different historical periods, and how were these imaginations –as continent, nation, region- guided by changing goals and priorities? Which competing and conflicting narratives of spatialization can we observe in past discourses, and how do they reflect dynamics of delimitation, exclusion, or inclusion? What is the relationship between present discourses about the Americas and these earlier narratives?
The questions of when, where, and under which conditions transnational spatialization processes involve the crossing or creating of borders are particularly relevant in the Americas. How should transnational space be defined: geo-strategically, culturally, historically, philosophically, geographically, politically, or as a combination of these and other approaches? Which configurations emerge from such definitions? What do the economies, politics, histories, cultures, languages, philosophies, religions, and literatures of the Americas tell us about the dimensions and depths of processes of spatialization and the boundaries created by them?
Do present processes of globalization weld together the different parts of the Americas or do they rather create divisions, e.g. between highly industrialized and less developed countries? What is the role of contact zones and peripheries, of rimlands and borderlands between North and South which have produced “open wounds” (Anzaldúa) but also reimaginations of space, nation, and national cultures, as well as places such as Miami or New Orleans that are often considered extensions of the Caribbean? And how do free trade zones, migrations, networks of drug trade and violence, and new currency flows (such as remittances) impact the turning of national borders into new frontiers? What is the relationship between imagined bordercrossings and existing or newly drawn borders and the discourses produced by them?
Source: SFB 1199 (1 April 2017)