Talking Borders.

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From Local Expertise to Global Exchange.

From 10 until 14 July 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, border scholars from around the globe came together in Vienna and Budapest to discuss borders. This world academic conference on borders became a site of scientific investigation itself, where 66 citizen scientists (bachelor students in the humanities from border regions throughout the ex-Habsburg area) met 24 border scholars as equals for a cross-disciplinary (border/citizen science) experiment.

This Citizen Science project asked:

  1. What do borders mean to border scholars?
  2. What do borders mean to young adults from the (ex-) Habsburg area?
  3. What new knowledge does a global encounter between citizen scientists and border scholars reveal?

The Experiment consisted of two aspects:

  1. It gathered 43 face-to-face dialogues about the meaning of borders.
  2. It hosted a global digital café for 100 working days, where extracts from the dialogues were posted so that people could comment on them. The online page demonstrates how scientific knowledge on the global meaning(s) of borders is generated.

A special focus was put on potentially common narratives among citizen scientists in articulating the meaning of borders. How was the border verbally drawn and how did it evolve during the further global conversations? The project aimed to offer a solid empirical data basis for future research in border studies. It also aimed to draw attention to the limits of public expertise in the knowledge and information society of the 21st century, as well as the limits of the production and consumption of science.

Map of Austro-Hungarian Empire
Map of Austro-Hungarian Empire - 5th edition of Meyers Konversationslexikon (1893-97)

Cartoon Citizen Scientists
Cartoon Border Scholars
Cartoon What does a border mean to you

We invited 66 selected citizen scientists and 24 border scholars to take part in the scientific experiment ‘Talking Borders From Local Expertise to Global Exchange’, which took place on 10 July 2018 during the Association for Borderland Studies 2nd World Conference in Vienna.

Interviewed by students, 19 April 2018

Contact Details
Citizen Science Project ‘Talking Borders’

University of Vienna
Institute for Eastern European History
Machteld Venken, PhD
Spitalgasse 2 Hof 3
1090 Vienna

Project Leader Questions about citizen science project Questions about Association for Borderland Studies World Conference

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