The Built Environment: State Presence at Border Crossings in the Modern World

Statistics/Data Science/Political Science/Geography/International Relations/International Law/Anthropology/Sociology

Do international political borders matter in the modern world, and if so, in what ways? The globalization literature suggests that political boundaries between states matter less and less, especially as states have liberalized their markets for goods and services. But ironically, in the age of globalization states have started to erect walls at an accelerated rate. What are the politics, the economics, and the psychologies of (in)security that explain states’ and their polities’ concerns with their national borders? This project will develop a global satellite-generated database of the world’s major border crossings. These crossings—defined as the intersection of a major highway with an international political border—present an opportunity to better understand how a state and its society want to interact with their neighbors and the rest of the world.

Research partners would carry out library and literature research on international borders in the anthropology/sociology literature; find the main literature, read, and summarize in writing its major findings and perspectives; and produce a footnoted essay and/or annotated bibliography of studies on international borders from an anthropological/sociological perspective. Because I do not know anything about anthropology/sociology, this could be useful for broadening the interdisciplinary aspects of the project. The student will apply his or her anthropology/sociology background to think about international borders in a new way. Students may be asked to help with data coding.