Trade, Transit and Travel conference - registration is open
Trade, Transit and Travel: knots of global capital in passageways and buffer-zones conference will be held between 21-22 May 2021. Registration is required.

Transit, Trade and Travel (TTT) is a research project funded by the Academy of Finland which focusses on transit zones and crossroads areas of the Mediterranean. We concentrate on places that can be seen as spaces-in-between, temporal and spatial “knots” that exist within and between different chains of global circulation. We are interested in producing ethnographic insights onto how different ‘locating regimes’ (from bureaucratic techniques and regulations to financial institutions, from language to religious structures, from agricultural practices to transport infrastructure and digital technologies) contribute to produce or mitigate spatio-temporal frictions and ‘tensions’ in these kinds of crossroad spaces. Often located near a border or a passageway, zones of transit, trade and travel constitute particularly fertile ground to explore tensions between different locating regimes and how they generate meaning and value in these particular zones.

This two-day conference aims to open up this discussion to geographical regions within and beyond the Mediterranean, and to create a forum where researchers across the world working on other areas broadly associated with notions of crossroads, passageways and buffer zones can meet and share ideas. We are interested in papers in anthropology and cognate disciplines that explore, from an ethnographic and theoretical perspective, how the in-betweenness of these areas shapes and is shaped by experiences and practices of trade, transit and travel, both on the macro-scale (e.g. export processing zones, free ports and other trade hubs) and on the micro-scale (e.g. street markets, bazaars, etc). We are interested in the logistics and logics by which these places operate, but also in the experiences, activities, and histories of those who inhabit them and bring them to life.

Some of the questions we wish to address during the conference are:

  • What infrastructures, beliefs, historical and geopolitical narratives contribute towards constituting particular areas as passageways/buffer-zones/spaces-in-between?
  • What particular mechanisms regulate practices of trade, transit and travel in areas defined or experienced as cross-roads/buffer-zones/spaces-in-between?
  • What happens when places recognised as connecting hubs, cross-roads or buffer zones come to lose such status and how does that affect the activities and experiences of those who inhabit these places?
  • How do places that were not previously recognised as connecting hubs, cross-roads or buffer zones come to acquire such status and what does that mean to the activities and experiences of those who inhabit these places?
  • What processes, tensions and contradictions are rendered visible as these places become more or less (dis)connected from other places in the world?


Everyone is welcome but registration is necessary for you to receive the conference access links. Registered participants will receive conference access links within two days prior to the conference. Schedule of the conference can be found below. 

Registration is closed, but you can email for a last minute Zoom link!  

Schedule of the conference

Day 1 (21st May):

Introduction: TTT project overview (16:00 - 17:00)

  • 16:00 -16:10 Welcome note by professor Sarah Green
  • 16:10 - 16:30 The making of a buffer zone between Europe and Africa: the case of Melilla
    • Presenter: Laia Soto Bermant (University of Helsinki)
  • 16:30 - 16:50  Circulation, dis/connectivity and locational shifts: the case of the Istanbul Grand Bazaar and its iconic carpet trade
    • Presenter: Patricia Scalco (University of Helsinki)
  • 16:50 - 17:00 Q&A

Session one (17:15 –18:45 ):

Chair: Carl Rommel (University of Helsinki)

Discussant: Pamela Ballinger (University of Michigan)

Session two (19:00 – 20:30): 

Chair: Phaedra Douzina-Bakalaki (University of Helsinki)

Discussant: Alexia Bloch (University of British Columbia)

Day 2 (22nd May):

Session three (16:00 – 17:30): 

Chair: Samuli Lähteenaho (University of Helsinki)

Discussant: Brenda Chalfin

ROUNDTABLE (17:45 – 19:15): Buffer zones and passageways in focus: circulation, infrastructures, logistics and logics within and beyond the Mediterranean

  • Participants:
    • Sarah Green (University of Helsinki)
    • Alexia Bloch (University of British Columbia)
    •  Pamela Ballinger (University of Michigan)
    • Brenda Chalfin (University of Florida)
  • Moderators:
    • Laia Soto-Bermant (University of Helsinki)
    • Patricia Scalco (University of Helsinki)

Further details

If you have any questions, please contact us at or email the conference organisers directly.

We look very much forward to seeing you!