Conference Call – 4TH Cátedra Friedrich Katz Conference in 2018

Conference organized by the University of Chicago (The Katz Center for Mexican Studies) and the University of Vienna (Vice-Rectory, research and international cooperation), in cooperation with the Department of History and the Research Group on Latin America, University of Vienna.

Walking Through Walls, Transgressing Frontiers

Border Regimes and Phantom Borders in North America and Central Europe since 1848

Venue Vienna University

Date, October 18 and 19, 2018

Submission of abstracts to until September 30, 2018

This conference is a joint venture by the University of Chicago and the University of Vienna and will take place together with the fourth Cátedra Friedrich Katz. It would extend Katz’s cope on Mexico’s northern frontier as a transnational space to discuss issues of labor migration, linguistic borders, cultural hybridization/cohabitation, border regimes. Its thematic scope stretches from current controversies about the bordering of empires in the northern hemisphere (EU, USA) back to important changes to the political maps of North America and Central Europe in the mid-Nineteenth Century.

Key concepts discussed at the conference will include the juxtaposition of frontiers vs. borders, central to the work of Friedrich Katz who has studied Mexico’s northern frontier at the time of the Mexican Revolution and its relevance for both Mexico and the USA; the idea of closed borders in historically intercultural spaces, such as the current plan to build a wall at the Mexican-American border or the Iron Curtain cutting through Europe over four decades; and the concept of phantom borders, i.e. the lasting impact of disappeared borders in the regions they used to separate.

By combining studies of both past and present and inviting approaches from history, sociology, cultural sciences, and migration studies, this conference hopes to contribute historically saturated in-depth analysis of one of the central issues of our days. Vienna, as a former “borderliner” of Cold War Europe, is an ideal location to host such a conference, contextualizing related experiences of seemingly remote spaces and periods.


Challenging the Empire. Unrest at Mexico’s Northern Frontier and a Century of American Responses from Woodrow Wilson to Donald Trump” (C.J. Alvarez, Univ. of Austin)

• The Mexican-American border wall and its impact on North American integration (Kateřina Březinová, Metropolitan University of Praha)

• The Iron Curtain and the Schengen borders: Two sides of one coin? (Corinna Milborn, Vienna)

• Challenges of undocumented immigration and radical responses (walls, fences, military enforcement) (Daniela Ingruber, Donau Univ. Krems)

The final shift of the Western Frontier: Texas and the Southwest are annexed by the United States 1845–1848 (NN, CIESAS Mexico)

• The shifting empire: Austria-Hungary’s reorganization in the face of nationalism: 1848 → 1867 →1918 (Andrea Komlosy, Univ. of Vienna)

• Phantom borders as lasting demarcations in demography, culture, politics 

o Along the post-1822 Mexican-Central American borders (Laurin Blecha, Univ. of Vienna)

o Along the former Iron Curtain in Central Europe (Claudia Kraft, IfZ Wien)

    Submission of abstracts to until September 30, 2018

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