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Symposia & Seminars

For a poster version of the Call For Papers in .pdf format, please see here.

Medussa pediment from the
Corfiot Temple of Artemis

The Durrell School of Corfu has opened each annual session with a symposium that examines themes of importance to the Durrells and to our world. The first symposium in 2002 took "Understanding Misunder-standing" as its central theme and it included distinguished leaders in politics, economics, the arts and environmental studies among its participants. The 2004 symposium examined "Globalisation and Nationalism."

Keynote speakers have included: Gayatry Chakravorty Spivak, Avalon Foundation professor at Columbia University; Terry Eagleton, professor of Cultural Theory at the University of Manchester; Lee Durrell from the Durrell World Wildlife Trust; David Bellamy, internationally acclaimed ecologist and botanist; Harish Trivedi, professor of English at the University of Delhi; John Brandon of the Asia Foundation; Elemer Hankiss, dean of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; and Marwan Bishara from the American Univerisity of Paris.

The Venetian Winged Lion




26 September – 1 October 2005

The Durrell School of Corfu Autumn seminar on ‘Borders and Borderlands’ will take place from Monday 26 September to Saturday 1 October 2005 in two locations: the DSC Library and study center in Corfu, and the village of Lia in mainland Epirus (north-west Greece, the native village of Nicholas Gage, author of Eleni). The seminar will focus on the nature of borders both conceptually and concretely, through the topics of psychology, religion, creative arts (literature, film, painting), history and politics. The role and status of borders in the Balkans will be a special subject for discussion, in the light of ongoing tensions in and about Kosovo and Macedonia.

Borders are spatial, conceptual, spiritual and psychological and shape the dynamics of identity, community, and governance. Territorial borders are receiving renewed attention in this era of transnational mobility and globalised cultures. As a construction of history, psychology, law and politics, borders are often represented in symbolic form as transitions and rites of passage.

The creation and defence of borders, for example in defining the nation-state, involve both inclusion and exclusion, invasion and enlargement, and pose questions about political, cultural and personal identity. Knowledge, power, anomie and xenophobia are intimately associated with these processes.

Arrival at a border raises issues such as cultural negotiation, and confrontation with otherness.

The crossing of borders affects meaning, perception of landscape and sense of identity.

Translation involves the crossing of linguistic boundaries as meaning leaves the homeland of one language and enters that of another.

This seminar offers an opportunity to explore how borders, borderlands, shifting borders and border-crossing are used in narrative works, social theory and empirical research to understand the relationships between time, space and knowledge, self-development and political institutions.

The seminar will explore the subject under five major headings: concepts, psychology, religion and the supernatural, creative arts, and specific examples of border locations.


  • nation-state as a symbolic space
  • cultural identity
  • map-making
  • north-south relations
  • east-west relations
  • diaspora
  • the European Union as a supranational space
  • cyberspace
  • multinational corporations
  • the harem
  • divination
  • transit camps and refugees
  • tradition versus modernity
  • ghettos
  • borders of the self:
  • I/Not I;
  • I/Thou;
  • Us/Them;
  • Self/Others;
  • Male/female.

Corfu's Asian Art Museum

Corfu's Rue de Rivoli

Religion and the supernatural:

  • heaven and earth
  • the after-life (the living and the dead)
  • dreams and the waking life
  • the conscious and unconscious
  • sanctuary
  • the veil
  • infibulation
Creative arts:
  • romantic fiction (e.g. Anthony Hope (Prisoner of Zenda), Dornford Yates (the ‘Richard Chandos’ novels);
  • modern Greek novels (e.g. Yiorgos Yatromanolakis, Sotiris Dimitriou)
  • translation
  • 'the writer at the frontier'
  • 'travel writing' or 'foreign residence writing'
  • Film: e.g. The Others, The Sixth Sense, Passport to Pimlico, Peter Ustinov’s Concordia
Specific examples of geographical/physical borders:
  • the Irish border as a cultural divide
  • the Berlin Wall
  • the expansion of Greece's borders
  • Tibet
  • the 'Iron Curtain'
  • the 'Forbidden City' (Beijing)
The DSC invites submission of proposals for short papers (no more than 30 minutes) on any aspect of the subject. The format of the seminar will facilitate detailed discussion of each paper with members of the School’s faculty, and will therefore permit no more than 4 papers each day. Full texts of presentations must be received at the DSC by 1 September 2005 in electronic format in order to facilitate circulation to all participants.

Provisional programme:

Monday 26 September: in DSC library and study centre in Corfu
Tuesday 27 September: transfer to Lia (Epirus)
Wednesday 28 September: Lia
Thursday 29 September: field class to the monasteries of Meteora
Friday 30 September: Lia, and transfer to Corfu
Saturday 1 October: conclusion, in Corfu

A selection of papers and the discussion they inspire will be published by the DSC as part of its Proceedings.

In absentia presentations are not acceptable.

Proposals should be received at the DSC by e-mail before 10 June 2005, consisting of not more than 2 double-spaced typed pages ([email protected]).

The registration fee for the seminar will be 300 euros for participants (to include costs of field classes and transfers Corfu-Lia-Corfu) and 350 euros for those who wish to attend and take part in the discussions, but who do not wish to present papers.

The Durrell School of Corfu will not be responsible for any costs associated with accommodation. Intending participants should consult the DSC website (www.durrell-school-corfu.org) for details of accommodation available in Corfu. Accommodation in Lia (at participants’ own expense) will be in local hostels, reserved for participants by the DSC.

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