Measuring the Borderland in Sabrina Janesch’s Katzenberge (2010)

B. Venkat Mani, Pamela M. Potter and Karolina May-Chu


This contribution considers the role that borders and borderlands play in ‘measuring the world.’ I argue that the increased awareness of the inherent tensions of borders and border spaces and their shifting constellations have produced a border poetics. Border poetics is a particular narrative and cultural practice that moves borders to the center of the narrative and turns actual topographic and geopolitical border sites into a staging ground for more universally oriented figurative and literal border crossings. The analysis of Katzenberge highlights how ‘world,’ when measured from the perspective of the borderland, is made visible as a network of flexible and highly mobile constellations of affiliation and belonging between variously conceived boundaries. Because of the simultaneous engagement with universal and particular border experiences, and its commitment to flexible transborder connections, border poetics can be understood as an idiom of the cosmopolitan imagination within the context of a “critical cosmopolitanism” (Delanty). (KM-C)