CfP: The Borders of Europe. The Schengen System in a Historical Perspective (1990-2020)

Call for papers, deadline 31 March 2020

In 1985, a group of five member states of the European Community (EC), i.e. France, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Benelux countries, signed an agreement in Schengen, whose aim was to remove internal border controls. It also provided for measures to strengthen external border controls and to ramp up the fight against drug trafficking, international crime and illegal immigration. This document, however, was more a working programme than a detailed plan of action and it was outside the community framework. After the Schengen Agreement had been signed, negotiations were therefore opened to decide upon a convention implementing it (CISA). The CISA, signed in 1990 in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall, specified the measures, which were to compensate for the abolition of internal border controls; it also established the Schengen Information System, to support external border control and law enforcement cooperation in the Schengen states.

The system based on the CISA started to work in 1995, and was incorporated into the European Union in 1999, after the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty. Today, twenty-six European countries have abolished internal border controls and established judicial and police cooperation and common rules for controlling external borders.

This conference aims at commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Schengen system, still considered as one of the most significant achievements of the European integration despite its current problems and challenges. Meanwhile, it intends to analyse events and dynamics behind it at a time when primary sources are beginning to be available to scholars. The time has come, in fact, for historians, along with political scientists, jurists, economists, sociologists and demographers, to discuss and draw some conclusions on the evolving conceptions and practical applications of the Schengen process, placing both of them in the wider context of the social and demographic transformation of the Euro-Mediterranean region and the political and economic narrative of continental integration.
The main purpose of this conference is thus to integrate the existing fragmented analyses, place them in a longer and broader perspective and extend the analysis further by examining:
− motives and interplay of factors and actors at the origins of the Schengen process and the evolution and enlargement of the Schengen area;
− the impact of Schengen on the European integration, consciousness, citizenship, society, economics, borders and external relations;
− the impact of Schengen on its member states and their domestic and foreign policies;
− the impact of Schengen on third countries both within and outside the European Union;
− the impact of Schengen on the regional and global migration governance and flows;
− public perceptions and opinions both within and outside the Schengen area;
− narratives and counternarratives of Schengen.

The conference is jointly organised by the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Italy, the Department of Political Science of the University of Pisa and the History Department of the University of Potsdam.

Proposals in English should be submitted to Dr Simone Paoli ( and Dr Bastian Matteo Scianna ( by 31st March, 2020. The selection will be finalised by the end of March.
Proposals must include:
- Name and Surname of Applicant
- Position & Affiliation
- Contact: Postal Address, Phone Number, E-Mail Address
- Title of Paper
- Abstract of Paper; it should be 250 words long with the key argument, research methods and main sources and findings.

Travel and accommodation costs will be covered after prior agreement by the organisers. There will be no participation fee.

Selected papers will be published in an edited volume or a special issue of a scientific journal.