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Edinburgh, 29 June 2016

ABORNE Newsletter June 2011


The ECAS 4 conference in Uppsala is approaching and many of you will be there, so this would seem to be a good time to send out a newsletter. It contains more on ABORNE’s presence in Uppsala as well as these topics:

New Features on the ABORNE Website

Membership Profiles

Membership Fees

ABORNE-AUBP Cooperation

ABORNE Events in 2011 and 2012

ABORNE-Palgrave Publications Series



At least three panels in Uppsala will have an African boundaries/borderlands theme and two of those are convened by ABORNE members:

Panel 56: Secessionism in Africa

Panel 76: Borders, Gates, Gatekeepers

Panel 159: The Boundaries of the State in Sudan: Engaging the Intermediaries between State and Society

Further details on these panels are here.

In the publishers’ area of the conference exhibition ABORNE will have its own table, easily recognizable by a large banner with the ABORNE logo and the photograph of an immigration checkpoint, which should by now be familiar to you all from our glitzy and very detailed ESF brochure. You can expect to find Wolfgang Zeller, Paul Nugent and other ABORNE members at this table - not always but often during the conference.

One main purpose of having this table is to give ABORNE members an opportunity to showcase their own recent publications – if they are related to the network theme. Those of you attending ECAS 4 are warmly invited to bring copies of your recent books offprints of articles, book flyers or order forms for display on this table. There will always be someone looking after the table, but please understand we cannot absolutely guarantee that nothing will ‘disappear’. If you put your own copies on display, please label them clearly, e.g. with “author’s copy – do not remove” and your name (if there are multiple authors). And please remember to pick up your items by noon on the last conference day – or else they will travel to Edinburgh!

ABORNE will also hold another of its legendary parties at ECAS 4, on Thursday 16th of June starting at 20:30. It will seamlessly connect with a reception given by the Centre of African Studies of Edinburgh University in room B115 from 19:00 that evening. Depending on the weather, the ABORNE party will either take place in a park near the conference venue, or in an apartment at the on Klangs Gränd 5 – less than 300m from the conference venue. Final information will be available at the ABORNE table. This get-together will be very informal. You can bring something to drink, friends that are not ABORNE members (but please don’t crash the party…), and especially an instrument and song for the Singing Network. was a big hit last September in Basel.



New Features on the ABORNE Website

Maintenance work continues on all sections of our website and if you have not been there in a while you will notice numerous changes. Some of these changes can only be seen by members after they log in using the user name and password they gave or received when they signed up. The purpose of the maintenance work has been:

- To improve the sign-up procedure for new members.

- To make the website more interactive by giving members the opportunity to add and edit content.

- To expand the website into a major database for anyone working on African borders and borderlands.

More specifically, the website has the following new features, some of which can only be accessed by members to view and contribute (compare below, section membership profiles):

Three separate search functions:

1. For the entire website (situated on all ABORNE pages in the top right corner)

2. For the members list including their areas of research specialization (situated on the page ‘Members’)

3. For the bibliography section, including its keywords fields (situated on the page ‘Bibliography’. The keywords section itself is a new feature. Members can now not only add references and full-text files to the bibliography, but also make these more searchable by adding key words, which can also be viewed by non-members. The bibliography section is therefore well under way towards becoming THE online reference for any scholar or policy maker working on African borderlands – IF MEMBERS ARE WILLING TO CONTRIBUTE.

ABORNE headquarters in Edinburgh have hired a student (who is also a network member) to greatly expand the bibliography section over the summer of 2011. Hugh Lamarque will fine-comb the existing entries, add keywords, further references and full-text files. If you want to make sure that your publications are listed and visible to colleagues, now is the time to add references. ABORNE members will soon receive an e-mail from Hugh reminding them about this and offering assistance. Those senior ABORNE members who earlier volunteered to compile area-specific reference lists will also hear from Hugh soon.

Following a request, the bibliography now has a new sub-section Borderlands in Arts and Literature and you are welcome to add references.

The Links section of the website also features several new categories and links, including this one to a very interesting website called ‘Borderbase’. Members, please keep adding content here as well.

The section ABORNE Science Meetings (formerly ‘Conferences’) now contains not only a list of past and future ABORNE events. Members can also access sub-sections for each of ABORNE’s events where conference papers, programs and other documents will be stored. These sections will be filled with more content over the coming months and continually expanded in the future with papers from forthcoming ABORNE events. If you are organizing a future ABORNE Science Meeting, your meeting documents will be made available here to members (and only members, since such documents are often works in progress).

A new section titled African Union Border Programme has been added and contains documents relating to the work of AUBP. See below for further details on ABORNE-AUBP cooperation.

The web designer is currently working to create a Notice Board on the front page of the ABORNE website. Members will soon be able to post announcements, e.g. about new publications, future publication projects, conference panels or events related to the shared interests of the ABORNE community. Those posting will be able to determine whether only network members or everyone can view individual notices. The content of a notice should be relevant to the themes covered by ABORNE and will be checked by an administrator before it goes online.



Membership Profiles

Several of the new features mentioned above are only fully accessible to network members, who are logged into the ABORNE website. The size of ABORNE has grown to presently about 200 individual and institutional members. The times when any one member knew all the others personally have long since passed. What use is a network if we can't find each other? And what use is a Member Area on the website if members cannot access it?

If you are a member of ABORNE, you will not get your money’s worth from the website without logging in every time you access it. Also, others cannot find you or your work if you do not make it visible. Therefore, please log in with your user name and password, click ‘Member Area’ and ‘Edit Profile’ and check if your personal details are still up-to-date. Numerous members, especially those who joined before the new website was launched in 2010, have incomplete details especially in the sections on research expertise. If you want to be seen as an expert on a certain topic and region, please enter those in your profile as well as the Map of Research Areas. And if you can’t remember your login details, send a mail to .

Hugh Lamarque will also fine-comb our members' list this summer. If your details are still incomplete or outdated you will get a reminder mail from him.

Members are, by the way, automatically added to the newsletter mailing list, so it is not necessary to sign up for that separately.



Membership Fees

The time has come to pay your membership fees for 2011, if you have not done so already. Details regarding payment are here.

If you come to Uppsala or to Lisbon in September you can pay your fee in cash to Wolfgang Zeller (in Euros, Pounds or Swedish Krona). The fees we have collected since last year will be used to fund the attendance of 2-3 African scholars at our upcoming annual conference in Lisbon September 21-24.



ABORNE-AUBP Cooperation

ABORNE and the African Union Border Programme have signed the long-awaited Memorandum of Understanding in April this year, which lays the foundations for our future cooperation. The document can be viewed here.

AUBP - and in particular our main contact person there, ABORNE member Wafula Okumu - have a keen interest in liaising with the ABORNE community. They have a number of well-funded projects in the pipeline, which require the input of borderlands experts. This is a good example why keeping your membership profiles up-to-date can be important and in your own interest. AUBP has funded the participation of African colleagues in our 2009 and 2010 annual conferences and we hope they will be able to make contributions – both in terms of finances and content - to future events as well. This is particularly important since the current funding ABORNE has from the European Science Foundation’s Research Networking Programme must, according to ESF rules, be predominantly used for scholars based in the European countries that are contributing to this programme. You can find out which ones they are in the aforementioned ESF brochure.

AUBP has recently produced a short documentary film about their work. Its release on June 7, 2011 will coincide with African Borders Day, an event AUBP intends to mark annually from now on with various events and activities. The film can be viewed (using the password: borders2011).



ABORNE Events in 2011 and 2012

A workshop co-funded by ABORNE on the very timely topic "State Construction in Sudan's Borderlands" was organised on April 18-19, 2011 by Cherry Leonardi and Chris Vaughan from the Department of History at Durham University. An edited volume on the same topic is under preparation as one result of this meeting.


ABORNE is cooperating in the organisation of the Border Regions in Transition (BRIT) XI conference on Mobile Borders, to be held on September 6-9, 2011 in Geneva, Swizerland and Grenoble, France. It is expected that this meting will strengthen the ties we have with the non-Africanist borderlands research community. In this conference, ABORNE member Timothy Raeymaekers, together with Benedikt Korf are organizing a panel on War Making and State Making.


Preparations are at an advanced stage for the 2011 ABORNE Annual Conference in Lisbon 21-24 September. The conference theme is ‘Crossing African Borders: Migration and Mobility’. The original call for papers with panel descriptions is here.

The preliminary program can be viewed here.

If you have any questions regarding organizational matters of this meeting, please contact the organizers Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues: and João Dias: .

In conjunction with the Lisbon conference, the two winners of the 2011 ABORNE Exchange Visit Grant will stay in Lisbon for two months, to carry out their own borderlands research and contribute to the conference. The candidates selected by the Steering Committee from overall 8 candidates are: Paolo Gaibazzi and Hugh Lamarque. Congratulations!

A workshop further pursuing the topic of migration between Africa and Europe through a borderlands perspective will be organised by Alice Bellagamba and Timothy Raeymaekers on December 15-17, 2011 at the University of Pavia, Italy. Its title:  Fences, Networks, People - Exploring the EU/Africa Borderland. The original call for papers is here.


ABORNE’s activities in 2012 at this stage include two thematic workshops, the annual conference and the second ABORNE PhD summer school.

The ABORNE Annual Conference of 2012 will be held at the birthplace of ABORNE in Edinburgh. It will coincide with the of the Centre of African Studies there. The dates are: 5-8 June 2012, with an excursion to the wild and highly volatile English-Scottish borderland and Hadrian’s Wall planned for June 9. If you have not memorized the lyrics of by then you will be sent homeward tae think again, just like Proud Edward.

ABORNE will have its own stream of panels within the larger conference, organized around the general topic African Borderlands - Regional Integration from Above and Below.

The call for panels and round tables is hereby open and a more detailed invitation is in preparation. If you have a suggestion for a panel topic, now is the time to discuss it with other ABORNE members and colleagues. If you would like to make a proposal or ask for advise and feedback before doing so, please write to Wolfgang: .

One of the 2012 thematic workshops will be organized by Jan-Bart Gewald. The working title for this meetings is: The Enduring Legacy of German Colonial Rule and the League of Nations Mandate in the Borderlands of Contemporary Africa. The timing, place and other details are still under preparation and will be announced on the ABORNE website and by e-mail in due course.

The other 2012 thematic workshop will be held in conjunction with the ABORNE PhD summer school in the Senegalese city of Saint Louis near the border of Mauritania. Further details regarding the themes, timing and funding opportunities will be announced on the ABORNE website and by e-mail in due course.



ABORNE-Palgrave Publications Series

A number of monographs and edited volumes for the Palgrave series in African Boderlands Studies are already at various stages of completion. If you have a book project in mind, please have a look at the call for manuscripts.


So much for this edition of the ABORNE newsletter.

Please remember that ABORNE is your network. If you have any suggestions, e.g. for future activities, the website, or anything else raised in this letter, please bring them up by e-mail or in conversation with Paul Nugent, Wolfgang Zeller or any of the other ‘Chiefs of ABORNE’. 

And please pay your membership fees.


Looking forward to seeing many of you very soon,

Wolfgang Zeller, Coordinator & Paul Nugent, Chairman



Wafula Okumu, Wolfgang Zeller and Paul Nugent on April 23, 2011 - just after the signing of the ABORNE-AUBP Memorandum of Understanding in Paul's garden.

Publishers responsible for content

Paul Nugent, Chairman
Wolfgang Zeller, Coordinator
African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE)

Centre of African Studies
The University of Edinburgh


© ABORNE All rights reserved. Edinburgh 2010


ABORNE is funded by the Research Networking Programme of the European Science Foundation

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