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(De)Colonizations in Global Borderlands research seminar

  • Seminaari
  • Kielet ja kulttuurit
  • Talous ja yhteiskunta
Joensuun kampus, Aurora-rakennus, sali AU111, sekä verkossa
Yliopistokatu 2, A-sisäänkäynti
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The seminar “(De)Colonizations in Global Borderlands” is organized in collaboration with the researchers Hanna Laako, Vadim Romashov and Tiina Sotkasiira at the Department of Social Sciences, and Borders, Mobilities and Cultural Encounters Research Community (BOMOCULT) at the University of Eastern Finland.

The key speakers are:
- Professor Edith Kauffer, CIESAS - Centre of Research and Superior Studies in Social Anthropology,
- Fiona McConnell, University of Oxford and
- Rauna Kuokkanen, University of Lapland.

The seminar is open to everyone interested in the complex dynamics of (de)colonizations within global borderlands and Indigenous communities. The seminar will explore intersections of power, conflicts, and struggles for sovereignty with relation to such multifaceted processes as diplomacies, peace-building, and international interventions. It aims to foster dialogue on pathways towards decolonial futures for diverse borderland contexts.

The seminar will be held in English. Participants can attend free of charge onsite in Joensuu or join the seminar virtually. Participation requires registration. Welcome!

The seminar is funded by Hanna Laako’s Kone Foundation Project “Political Forests – the Maya Forest” and the BOMOCULT Research Community.

Registration deadline is Friday 10.5.2024 at 23:59 Finnish Time. Register to the seminar by filling out the registration form, indicating if you are planning to participate onsite or via Zoom. Zoom links to lectures will be posted to all registered participants.


Tentative program 

09.00 Welcome

09.15 Edith Kauffer: "Whose and what water diplomacy? Contesting smallness at postcolonial Belize"

10.00 Fiona McConnell: "Tracing diplomatic tutelage: pedagogies and the training of African diplomats in the context of decolonization"

10.45 Coffee break

11.15 Rauna Kuokkanen: "Poststate Indigenous feminist sovereignty as decolonization of borders"

12.00 Discussion with the panelists

12.45 End


Key speakers

Edith Kauffer is a Senior Professor and Researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (Centre of Research and Superior Studies in Social Anthropology) (CIESAS) in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, in Southern Mexico. As a political scientist, she has studied refugees in Central America and in the South of Mexico and analyses refugees’ policies and Guatemalans’ return political project between 1991 and 2002. From 2003, she focused her research on hydropolitics, water politics and policy issues: water policies, waters and borders, transboundary river basins, conflicts and cooperation, gender and water, water and power. Her fieldwork experience took place in various regions mainly in Central America, Mexico, the Mediterranean but also in Western Africa, South and North America, and Europe. She participated in diverse activities of training with NGOs and grassroots organisations, civil servants from local, state and federal governments in Mexico as well as international organisations in different Latin American countries on water, climate change, gender and refugees topics. As she has always worked with colleagues from diverse disciplines of social sciences and humanities, but also biologists and engineers, her approach emphasises dialogue between sciences and stakeholders’ collaboration. 

Fiona McConnell is Professor of Political Geography at the University of Oxford. Driving much of her research has been an interest in how communities officially excluded from formal state politics are nevertheless engaging with aspects of statecraft, and in using such seemingly anomalous cases as a lens to critically examine the 'norms' of governance. Her doctoral and post-doctoral research focused on the political institutions and practices of the exile Tibetan government based in India. She has an ongoing interest in how political legitimacy is claimed, constructed and contested, particularly in the so-called margins of geopolitics, and in practices of peace, diplomacy and mediation. Working with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) she has examined both the barriers faced by stateless communities in engaging with diplomacy, particularly at the UN, and the innovative strategies they use to make their voices heard. She is using funds from her Philip Leverhulme Prize (2019) to map hitherto hidden geographies of diplomacy, establish new ways of thinking about diplomacy as an inherently spatial practice, and to work with Costas Constantinou (University of Cyprus) on the notion of a right to diplomacy, and re-imagining self-determination. She is also interested in the pedagogy of diplomacy, working with Ruth Craggs and Jonathan Harris (KCL) on a Leverhulme Trust funded project 'Training Diplomats of Postcolonial African States, 1957-1997'.

Rauna Kuokkanen is Research Professor of Arctic Indigenous Politics at the University of Lapland (Finland) and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on comparative Indigenous politics and law, Indigenous feminism and gender, Sámi governance, and settler colonialism in the Nordic countries. She is the author of several books, most recently the award-winning Restructuring Relations: Indigenous Self-Determination, Governance and Gender (Oxford University Press, 2019). Among others, Rauna is a member of Sámi Climate Council, an independent expert body formed in accordance in the 2023 Climate Act in Finland, and of the Standing Committee on Indigenous Involvement, International Arctic Science Committee. Rauna was a Fulbright Arctic Initiative 3 Fellow from March 2021 to April 2023. The FAI3 Arctic security team produced an Arctic security policy brief, launched in Washington DC in April 2023. She is a Sámi scholar from Ohcejohka/Utsjoki.

For further information, please contact Vadim Romashov, email vadim.romashov@uef.fi.