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Cold War Europe Beyond Borders. A Transnational History of Cross-Border Practices in the Alps-Adriatic area from World War II to the present.

Project description

Cold War borders in the Alps–Adriatic region

The EU-funded OPEN BORDERS project aims to rethink the history of Cold War Europe by examining the development of transnational cross-border cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic region from the end of World War II to the present day. Focusing on a historical region today shared by Austria, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia, the project will challenge a dichotomous vision of two separate Europes, ‘East’ and ‘West’, from a new border perspective. Furthermore, reconsidering the European past from a transnational angle the project will demonstrate the interplay between top-down politics and bottom-up initiatives, offering a platform for contemporary discussions on sovereignty, territoriality and belonging.

Objective

"This project aims to rethink the history of Cold War Europe by examining the development of transnational cross-border cooperation from the end of World War II to the present. Overcoming traditional narratives of a clear-cut European separation symbolised by the Berlin Wall, a decentralised analysis of recent European history will show us that the question of a divided continent should be reframed. The final objective is to challenge a dichotomous vision of two separate Europes, “East” and “West”, from a new, border perspective. To this end, a highly qualified team of senior and junior scholars under my guidance will focus on the Alps-Adriatic region, a historical area that is now shared by Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. This case involves a relatively narrow geographical area but an unusually broad typological range of subjects. During the Cold War it was divided among socialist but non-aligned Yugoslavia, capitalist but neutral Austria, and NATO and EEC member Italy. Its development from the ""southern end"" of the Iron Curtain in 1946 to the ""most open border"" during the Cold War and a precursor to present-day Schengen Europe, represents a paradigmatic case to study an alternative attitude towards borders, frontiers and boundaries. Drawing on Cold War and borderland studies, social history and the history of European integration, which up till now have not found common ground, our innovative conceptual elaboration will demonstrate the interplay between top-down politics and bottom-up initiatives, thus offering a new, and more nuanced history of Cold War Europe from the border perspective. Reconsidering the European past from this transnational angle, both in terms of geographic and methodological perspectives, will allow us to rediscover the human face of European integration and will offer us a new platform for contemporary discussions on sovereignty, territoriality and belonging and on the future role of borders in Europe and in the world."

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Coordinator

ZNANSTVENO-RAZISKOVALNO SREDISCE KOPER
Net EU contribution
€ 2 474 330,00
Address
Garibaldijeva ulica 1
6000 Koper
Slovenia

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Region
Slovenija Zahodna Slovenija Obalno-kraška
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00