Crossborder Histories

This course is part of the programme
Master's Degree Programme Humanities Studies

Objectives and competences

Subject to students:
• offers a broad overview of modern theoretical and conceptual approaches as well as a historical overview of the thematization of space and history, at the intersection of historiography, anthropology, philosophy, language cultures
• offers support and guidance in choosing a topic, developing an idea and academic presentation in the form of a discussion or essay
• Encourages students to critically read scientific and other literature and evaluate theoretical and conceptual approaches, encourages the integration of different approaches and disciplinary emphases and different methodological, theoretical and conceptual approaches
• equip students with tools for understanding modern processes and finding solutions
• Students get to know the connection of different sectoral histories and sciences, their "grounding" in a specific border area.
• Through interdisciplinary dialogue, as well as interdisciplinary dialogue and synchronization of static (traditional material and spiritual culture) and dynamic perspectives (flow of people, ideas and "capital") learn mental, behavioral and other constants and variables of a (cross-border) space in time.
• The student develops the skills of written and spoken academic argumentation, open discussion or debate.
• Develops and upgrades independent selection of research topics, use of appropriate tools and methodology.


No specific enrolment conditions or completed study obligations for the course required.
The course is complementary with Crossborder Histories, Culture, Borders, Memory, and Intercultural, Egalitarian, and Sustainable Heritage.


Differences in the position, mentality and perceptions of cross-border communities and in the relationships between these communities are significantly conditioned and shaped by borders. Therefore, this cultural-historical approach treats cross-border spaces as spaces that are shaped in complex, intertwined, interdependent and dynamic ways by discursive practices and by political and economic processes in the context of local, regional and global histories geographical environment.
The course draws on conceptual and theoretical approaches to the history of mentalities, social history, historical anthropology, intellectual and conceptual histories, geography and psychology, and sexual, colonial and migration studies. It examines the historiography of borders and their basis and definition in spiritual-material contexts. The course emphasizes the need to deal with borders from different perspectives, namely the conceptual, historical, geographical (border-water relationship), psychological, as fluidity vs. limitations, etc.
Due to the centuries-long life of Slovenes in various state / provincial formations (dynastic territory of the Counts of Gorizia, Patriarchate of Aquileia, Venetian Republic, Habsburg Monarchy, Kingdom of Italy, DF Yugoslavia, Republic of Italy, FLR Yugoslavia / LR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia / SR Slovenia, Republic of Slovenia) the course will privilege this as a case study, tangentially also examining other examining (Prekmurje, Middle East, Ireland).

Thematic highlights:
• the history of national, linguistic and cultural borders
• the issue of borders and their crossing as a global condition of the 21st century
• the internal dynamics of borders and cross-border areas
• the psychology of borders. Borders determine the natural belonging to a group and define the processes of inclusion and exclusion.
• the “border” between multiple languages on borders
• the problem of treating cross-border areas from the viewpoint of one nation - exclusion of the other / others and its consequences
• the concept of cross-borderness, transnationality, transculturalism, cultural hybridity
• the need for a decentralized approach
• concrete case studies (also as a study obligation) - from the specific to the general
• borders understood as processes, border construction as a continuous form of construction
• the border as a geographical-hydrological phenomenon

Intended learning outcomes

After passing the exam, the student wil havel:
• Gained a thorough understanding of conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of history and cross-border areas through mastery of basic literature and analysis of concrete cases.
• Demonstrated the competence to write different types of texts in dialogue with critical reading and analysis of contemporary scientific and other literature.
• She will get acquainted with scientific and public discourse on the importance of researching history in the context of understanding cross-border spaces.


  • Agnew J. 2001. “Bordering Europe and Bounding States: The 'Civilizational' Roots of European National Boundaries”, in Kaplan D. and Hakli J. (eds.), Borderlands and Place, New York, Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Anderson B. (1983), Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London, Verso. Catalogue
  • Anderson J., O’Dowd L. & Wilson T.M. (eds.) (2003), New Borders for a Changing Europe, London, Frank Cass. Catalogue E-version
  • Balibar E. (1998), “The Borders of Europe”, in Cheah P. and Robbins B. (eds.) Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation, Minneapolis, MN, University of Minnesota Press.
  • Bechev D. & Nicolaidis K. (2010), “Introduction: Frontiers, Memory, and Conflict in the Mediterranean”, in Bechev D. and Nicolaidis K. (eds.), Mediterranean Frontiers: Borders, Conflict and Memory in a Transnational World. London, Tauris Academic Studies.
  • Berger, Stefan. 2007. Border Regions. Hybridity and National Identity. In: O. E. Wang, F. L. Fillafer (eds). The Many Faces of Clio. Cross-Cultural Approaches to Historiography. Essays in Honor of Georg G. Iggers. [S.l.], Berghahn Books, 366‒381 E-version
  • Bialasiewicz, Luiza; Minca, Claudia. 2010. ''The Border Within": Inhabiting the Border in Trieste. Environment and Planning. D: Society and Space 28, 6, 1084‒1105 E-version
  • Brubaker, R. (2004): Ethnicity withouth groups. Harvard, 17. E-version
  • Elden S. (2009), Terror and Territory. The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty, Minneapolis, MN, University of Minnesota Press. Catalogue
  • Gilles P., Koff H., Maganda C. and Schulz C. (eds.) (2013), Theorizing Borders Through Analyses of Power Relationships, Brussels, Peter Lang. Catalogue
  • Golec, Boris. 2017. Temporary Croatization of parts of eastern Slovenia between the sixteenth and nineteenth century: changing identities at the meeting point of related peoples, Urbanc, Mimi (ed.). Frankfurt am Main [etc.]: P. Lang. Catalogue
  • Houtum H. van & Naerssen T. van (2002), “Bordering, Ordering, and Othering”, Journal of Economic and Social Geography, 93, 2, pp. 125-136. E-version
  • Jurić Pahor, Marija. 2012. Čezmejni in transkulturni imaginariji: alpsko-jadranski prostor v kontekstu njegovega zamišljanja in o(d)smišljanja. Annales 22, 2, 409‒424 E-version
  • Kolossov, Vladimir and James Scott. 2013. “Selected conceptual issues in border studies”, Belgeo E-version
  • Kolstø, P. (2005): Introduction, Assessing the Role of Historical Myths in Modern Society. V: Kolstø, P. (ur.): Myths and Boundaries in South Eastern Europe. London, Hurst & Company, 23-27.
  • Makuc, Neva. 2021. Border Identities in the Early Modern Period. Venetian Friuli and the Habsburg County of Gorizia Mirrored in Contemporary Historiography. Pogačar, Martin (ed.). Berlin, Peter Lang. Catalogue
  • Smith, A. D. (1999): Myths and Memories of the Nation. New York, Oxford University Press, 150.
  • Širok, Kaja. Kalejdoskop goriške preteklosti: zgodbe o spominu in pozabi. Ljubljana : Založba ZRC, 2012 Catalogue E-version
  • Thaler, Peter. 2001. Fluid Identities in Central European Borderlands. European History Quarterly 31. 4, 541‒542,
  • Verginella, Marta. 2010. Zgodovinjenje slovensko-italijanske meje in obmejnega prostora. Acta Histriae 18, 1‒2, 207‒216. E-version


Written or oral exam, regular coursework, essay):
- regular assignments in accordance with the curriculum
- final essay with presentation
- written or oral exam

Assessment structure:
20% of the regular task
50% final documentation
30% written or oral exam

Lecturer's references

Prof. dr. Petra Svolšjak (Milko Kos Historical Institute ZRC SAZU) focuses on the history of the First World War and its cultural-historical context, and more broadly on the social and political history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her research focuses on the period of World War 1914-1918 and the memorial cultural landscape that emerged as a result of the war. At the same time, he transfers his knowledge to the field of education of undergraduate and postgraduate students. She is particularly active in the field of the victims of the First World War, where, in addition to numerous studies, she is also involved in European research flows and groups studying the cultural demography of the First World War. He has good organizational skills and many years of experience in collaborating and leading research projects.

In his research, Dr. Oto Luthar focuses on issues of history and historiography, philosophy of history, history of modern intellectual practices, historical revisionism, modern history of ideas and cultural history of the Great War.
In 2011, Dr Luthar was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour, a recognition of his endeavours for improvement of collaboration between ZRC and Austrian institutions in the fields of history, history of art, ethnology, Slavistics, musicology and philosophy.
Dr Luthar is member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute for Culture Studies and Theatre History of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and member of the External Advisory Board of the Centre for the Study of the Balkans, Goldsmiths College, University of London; member of the permanent delegation of the Republic of Slovenia for cooperation in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and member of its academic work group; and member of the National Geographic Slovenia Editorial board.