Borders and Boundaries Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Project on Borders and Boundaries in World Politics is looking to fill two postdoctoral fellow positions. Both are one-year and renewable. Partially supported by the National Science Foundation, the Project is concerned with boundaries between organized human communities, broadly understood.

International borders, border regions and border crossings have multiple significance as designations of state authority, security buffers, expressions of social meaning and opportunities for economic integration. Border regions and activities speak to national and local encounters with neighbors and the rest of the world. This project is concerned with how humans demarcate the space between “us” and “them.” It contextualizes border architecture, infrastructure and institutions as expressions of various social, political and economic anxieties associated with globalization.

This research team will concern itself with a broad range of questions relating to “bordering” in world politics. The project team is run by Professor Beth Simmons, Andrea Mitchell University Professor in Law, Political Science, and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as Assistant Professor Michael Kenwick at Rutgers University.

Research Postdoctoral Fellowship: The postdoctoral fellow will split their time between their own research and Borders & Boundaries project research. Postdoctoral fellows will be expected to work 25% of their time on project research. Applicants with an interest in territorial politics; migration and movement across borders; development in and across border regions; border crossing regimes, architectures and institutions; transnational migration; transnational crime, human trafficking and law enforcement across borders; and related issues are welcome to apply. Skills in empirical spatial analysis, GIS technologies, mapping technologies, experimental analyses, computerized textual and imaging analyses, and similar technologies are highly desirable, as are computer programming skills and experience using large computer databases and statistical software.

Research and Program Management Postdoctoral Fellowship: The postdoctoral fellow will work with and help manage the Borders & Boundaries research team. Since the successful candidate will have primary responsibility for managing team effort and output, strong data management and organizational skills are essential. Skills in computational methods, GIS and spatial data analytics, textual and imaging analysis, network analysis, and/or experimental methods are particularly valued, as is experience working within a research lab. We welcome candidates pursuing research careers inside or outside academia. Substantive interest in territorial politics; migration; development in and across border regions; border crossing regimes; transnational crime, law enforcement across borders and related issues is valued. The fellow is expected to actively work on lab projects and coordinate effort among team members.


There are no mandatory teaching responsibilities. Postdoctoral fellows will be expected to give a presentation during the academic year in the Perry World House Seminar Series, engage with Perry World House’s Undergraduate Student Fellows, and attend regularly scheduled seminars. Perry World House will also introduce each postdoctoral fellow to related faculty and leaders of centers and institutes at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Applications are welcome from scholars who have received their Ph.D. or equivalent degrees since June 2019, or who expect to complete their degree by June 2021. Applications closed on January 10, 2021.

Application Instructions

To apply, please go to Applicants will be asked to complete a short form as well as upload a cover letter, CV/resume, one-page research statement, writing sample, unofficial Ph.D. transcript (only required for current graduate students), and contact information for a letter writer, who will be asked to submit a confidential letter of recommendation through Interfolio.

If you have questions, please email

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