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DHUM 1360A - Borders and Frontiers

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This lecture course will be divided into four sections. The first section outlines a brief history of the present. An introductory session will shed light on key concepts needed to make sense of the current use of the term. To understand borders, we need to relate them to the historical phenomenon of the nation-state and to concepts such as sovereignty and territory. Has this constellation become obsolete in an era of globalisation? And what role do borders play in contemporary migration dynamics? The second section will be devoted to Europe. Starting with a seemingly innocuous natural border, we will look at the changing historical meaning of the Mediterranean as both a source of European cultural identity and a deathly barrier. As one of the centers of imperialism, Europe has sought to extend its borders, imposing on peoples in America, Africa and Asia both a racial hierarchy and a vision of borders. After the Second World War, Europe initiated a border regime that sought to increase mobility while lowering the barriers between nation-states. Yet the European Union created new borders even as, at least internally, it abolished old ones. The third and fourth sections will shift the emphasis to walls and frontiers. We will look at the historically changing role of walls in Ancient Rome, the early-modern city-state and in Berlin during the Cold War. Finally, we will investigate the importance of frontier culture for the self-image of the United States, first in the 19th century and later in the space race that pitted the US against the USSR. Who would be the first to break through the final frontier?


SCHOLZ, Danilo (Etudiant doctorant)

Course validation

The final grade will comprise three components: 1.) Oral presentations during which students will be asked to comment on brief excerpts from the texts (50 %). 2.) Two Q&A tests assessing students' basic familiarity with core concepts and problems (40 %). The first test is scheduled for the sixth session, the second for the twelfth. 3.) Active participation in classroom discussions (10%).

Required reading

Please see the course syllabus