Project News | 21 February 2012

Conference programme online

The Art of Neighbouring: Old Crossroads and New Connections along the PRC’s Borders.
Jointly organized by the Asian Migration Cluster and the Open Cluster, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
Date: 1–2 March 2012

Venue: Asia Research Institute Seminar Room, National University of Singapore - Bukit Timah Campus, Tower Block, Level 10, 469A Bukit Timah Road

What does China’s rise mean for those who live along its borders? Reflecting on the PRC’s strategies to foster trade, secure access to natural resources, and prevent unrest in its own borderlands, this workshop is concerned with the ways in which people’s lives and futures are affected by living along the borders. As rising China (the nation, the notion, the buzzword) channels aspirations, triggers fears and creates opportunities, “neighbouring” becomes a crucial skill in the borderlands – a skill that includes evading, openly opposing, making use of, or renegotiating the border situation.

In the first half of the 20th century, the fuzziness of erstwhile frontier zones was replaced with the sharp contours of nation-states. Political and military conflicts between the PRC and its neighbouring states brought many long-established trans-border relations to a halt. More recently, new stimuli of economic growth and material prosperity readily impelled a momentum of “opening up”. As ancient crossroads emerge as zones of contact and translation again, borderland communities actively engage with new possibilities; they also become targets of new regulatory regimes to “manage” the flows of people and goods across the borders.

This workshop aims to explore the ways in which the closure and re-opening of the PRC’s borders condition the myriad realities of making as well as being China’s neighbours through peace and turmoil. By theorizing “the art of neighbouring”, this workshop seeks to develop an alternative perspective on border practices and strategies, as well as new understandings of the relations between nations, territories, geo-political positionalities, and historical connections.

Programme and Abstracts

Please click here for the updated Programme & Abstracts.

Photograph Exhibition

The workshop is accompanied by a small photo exhibition at the main venue. Three photographers show a selection of images that portray the diversity, the transformations, the vulnerability and the resilience of these border zones.


Admission is free. Kindly register early as seats are available on a first come, first served basis.

We would gratefully request that you RSVP to Valerie Yeo e-mail: indicating your name, email, designation, organization and contact number.

Contact Details

Workshop Convenors

Dr Martin SAXER


Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore