The Borders and Boundaries Project

Do international political borders matter in the modern world, and, if so, in what ways? 

The Borders and Boundaries Project at Perry World House is researching how political life both affects and is affected by international borders and border security policies. This interdisciplinary, multi-method effort is directed by Professor Beth Simmons and is composed of research teams studying border politics across a variety of different research areas. These include: a geo-spatial analysis of whether, where, and why some states choose to project their presence at international border crossings; a textual analysis of the discourse surrounding international borders; and an investigation of how public opinion is both shaping and shaped by border policies around the world. 

Personnel

Click here to meet the scholars and students working on the Borders and Boundaries Project. 

Borders and Boundaries Research Team

Conferences

2018 Borders and Boundaries Conference Report

Organized by Beth Simmons, Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics; Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow Mike Kenwick; and Perry World House Predoctoral Fellow Benjamin Laughlin, the day-long conference brought together academic experts from around the world to present and discuss cutting edge, policy-oriented research on borders and boundaries in international politics.

Read the full report here.

2019 Borders and Boundaries Conference

Held from May 2-3, the Conference on International Borders in a Globalizing World explored the politics, economics, social processes, and psychologies of (in)security that explain states’ and their polities’ concerns with their national borders. It explored the meanings, rules, and consequences of borders and boundaries in international relations and in comparative local contexts.

Read the conference call for papers here. 

Analysis

The Borders and Boundaries team have written a series of articles for the Perry World House website, documenting their work around the world. 

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Report from the Road: Borders and Boundaries with Beth Simmons Part 1

In summer 2017, Beth Simmons spent time on the U.S./Mexican border conducting research. In this field report from the road, she reports starting her journey in Brownsville, Texas, close to where the Rio Grande opens into the Gulf of Mexico. 

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Report from the Road: Borders and Boundaries with Beth Simmons Part 2

In summer 2017, Beth Simmons spent time on the U.S./Mexican border conducting research. In this field report from the road, she reports on her experiences at the Humanitarian Relief Center of the Rio Grande Valley. 

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Report from the Road: Borders and Boundaries with Beth Simmons Part 3

In summer 2017, Beth Simmons spent time on the U.S./Mexican border conducting research. In this field report from the road, she reports on observing a case in process at a U.S. immigration court in Harlingen, Texas. 

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Report from the Road: Borders and Boundaries with Beth Simmons Part 4

In summer 2017, Beth Simmons spent time on the U.S./Mexican border conducting research. In this field report from the road, she reports on a visit with the sheriff of Val Verde County, Texas, to hear about his experiences on the border. 

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Report from the Road: Borders and Boundaries with Beth Simmons Part 5

In summer 2017, Beth Simmons spent time on the U.S./Mexican border conducting research. In this field report from the road, she sums up her experiences at different points along the border, 

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Report From the Road: Borders and Boundaries with Michael Kenwick

As part of the Borders and Boundaries Project, Michael Kenwick recently traveled to Israel to present research and explore border security policy firsthand. 

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Oh Man! United Arab Emirates to Oman - And Back: Notes From a Border

As part of the Borders and Boundaries Project, Beth Simmons tells the story of crossing the border between the United Arab Emirates and Oman. 

Presentations

As part of the 2018–2019 Fellows’ Presentation Series at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Beth A. Simmons RI ’19 shares her work on a continuously evolving project that attempts to document and explain the paradox of hardening international borders between states in an era of globalization.

Watch now.