Dr Daniel Meier held a Visiting Research Fellowship with us for the summer of 2013. Dr Meier is Senior Associate Member at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and was previously visiting researcher at the CEMAM (Centre d’Etudes sur le Monde Arabe Moderne) at St Joseph University in Beirut and Associate Researcher at the IFPO (Institut Français du Proche-Orient). He has also taught at the Lebanese University in Beirut, at the University of Geneva and he is Associate Professor of the Master MIM at the University of Venice. His research addresses borders and boundaries questions in the Middle East, with a focus on South of Lebanon and a special interest in Resistance movements there and the way their use ofthe borderland is linked to their political identity and legitimacy. Whilst with us, Daniel prepared several publications and developed his research in the North of Iraq and South of Sudan on the political use of borderland spaces and resources.Dr Natalia Ribas-Mateos joined us as a CIBR Visiting Research Fellow in August-September 2011 from ESOMI, the Universidad de A Coruña. Whilst with us, Natalia continued her research on the juxtaposition of the external and internal EU borders in relation to mobility, using examples in particular from Mediterranean Europe and Southern Europe. Her latest book El Rio Bravo Mediterraneo: Las regiones fronterizas en la época de la globalización has recently been published.
Professor Albert Moncusí Ferré from the Departament de Sociologia i Antropologia Social at Universitat de València visited CIBR from 14 July to 5 October 2003 to work with Hastings Donnan on the anthropology of borders. Professor Ferré has worked on national identities and sites of sociability on the border between France and Spain in the Cerdanya. Drawing on Peter Sahlins’ research on this border, whilst visiting CIBR Professor Ferré developed his work on international borders, nationalism and the European Union with a new research project in the Cerdanya.
Dr Judit Molnar, a lecturer in Geography at the University of Miskolc in Hungary and Marie Curie Fellow joined the School of Geography for 16 months from January 2004 to work on a comparative study of the Irish and Hungarian borders in the context of EU integration/expansion. Judit has completed studies of the Hungary-Austria, Hungary-Slovakia and Hungary-Ukraine borders, and on the Irish border she worked with James Anderson and Ian Shuttleworth and linking with CIBR’s involvement in the HEA project ‘Mapping Frontiers, Plotting Pathways: Routes to Co-operation on a Divided Island’.
Dr James Goodman, Associate Professor in International Relations, University of Technology Sydney, visited Queen’s as CIBR Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in August 2003. Dr Goodman, whose main research interest is transnational social movements, was based in the School of Geography.
Maximilian Rapp was a visiting research affiliate at CIBR from the University of Augsburg in Germany. He is doing his doctoral thesis on the murals in Norhern Ireland and joined CIBR in the summer of 2012 to deepen his research. In the scope of his thesis he mainly explores the central functions of murals, the intentions of the muralists and the transformation of the urban landscape in Belfast and (London-)Derry after the implementation of the peace process. In addition to his doctoral research, Maximilian worked on different papers in the field of ´Open Government`, 'Citizensourcing` and ´Government 2.0`.
Debora Bottaro Costa Terra, a student from the University of Nijmegen, was a visiting research associate at CIBR during spring/summer 2011. Whilst with us, she conducted research for her thesis on tourist tours of West Belfast. We are especially grateful to Debora for her invaluable behind-the-scenes help with the 'Conflict in Cities' conference in May. Debora has written a brief reflective note on her experience of visiting CIBR and conducting research in contemporary Belfast (see below).
Pedro Aires, a student from the University of Nijmegen, was a visiting research associate at CIBR during summer 2011 whilst conducting research for his thesis in Belfast.
Benjamin Hans from the University of Bielefeld was a CIBR intern working with Hastings Donnan whilst conducting his Masters research on national border and identity boundaries. We are grateful to him for his work on the ABS/CIBR bibliography during his stay.
Xavier Ferrer from the University of Barcelona visited CIBR while preparing doctoral research on the reshaping of the Spanish-Moroccan Border in Ceuta (one of the two Spanish enclaves in Morocco). He is interested in the geopolitical meaning of the border and its changing significance within the EU reterritorialization process, in its symbolic dimension as a dual instrument for Spanish and (EU)ropean identity formation and in its role as regulator of flows between the EU and Morocco.
Ivo Nienhuis from the University of Nijmegen was a CIBR intern working with James Anderson, Ian Shuttleworth and Judit Molnar on a survey of cross-border interaction in Ireland in 2004. He was preparing his Master's dissertation entitled 'Border(ed) identities'. He is interested in the (Irish) border as a consequence of (post)modern state thinking, recognising borders as an arena in which to explore the struggle over space. His study involves the critical examination of questions on democracy, economics and the nation, and in employing a constructivist approach, he draws upon the work of Kenneth Gergen, Gearóid Ó Tuathail, Michel de Certeau, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, Manuel Castells and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Reflections from a Visiting Fellow
On May 2011, I went to Belfast to undergo my two month masters-level research. Belfast is a lovely place, and it has incredible landscapes, history, and friendly people. The only disappointment is the infamous island rain, classified from 'Heavy' to 'Light Showers', even during the summer time. There, I was welcomed as a Research Associate with the Centre for International Borders Research (CIBR).
During my research period, I had the opportunity to be surrounded by important and well-known scholars, institutes and researchers. Through these contacts, I was encouraged to understand how multifaceted the city’s challenge and needs are, the conflict’s various micro-dimensions and the on-going initiatives to improve the city. Furthermore, I have become more accomplished in the use of simple to more complex procedures in research, from conceptualizing a research to the challenges of implementing it at the ground level. And it was precisely this last feature that I have experienced the most challenges, such as not finding access to the sample group and the researcher’s own limits, such as the research fatigue and the field’s dangers. It was, especially, through my colleagues at CIBR and School of Sociology that I could reason about these challenges and overcome them and, for that I am, eternally, grateful.
The most impressive observation, during my field research, is how much literature and information about Belfast and its challenges is, to some extent, superficial. This is because, the local and micro levels are, for the most part, left apart from general reasoning despite being the factors that remain most intense and important in keeping 'the difference' alive. Moreover, walking and living the daily life in Belfast, I was put in contact to people’s everyday discourses and practices. Definitely, that was the most amazing part of the ethnographic research. The common response to my questions was actually no response, or in the eyes of a foreigner researcher, a non-sense response, even though such seemingly-conditioned responses are commonly-rationalised behaviour.
My experience as a CIBR visiting fellow not only contributed to productive empirical data and greater research professionalism, it also improved my personal skills, such as effective communication and networking. What is more, and perhaps unexpectedly, the friendships created during my time at Queen's are, without a doubt, a stimulating asset and a lasting legacy.
Debora Bottaro Costa Terra