GEOGRAPHY 4024/5502, Late Summer, 2020

North American Borders in Comparative Perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed borders in North America except for essential travel and shipment. In the 21st century, borders between Canada and the United States, and Mexico and the United States, have emerged as dynamic interactive zones and politically charged barriers on the map of North America. Whereas the forces of globalization have expanded mobility, communication, interaction, engagement, and even worldwide integration in many ways, borders between states, societies, cultures, and ultimately people worldwide, have increased in number and expanded in their impact. Borders in globalization are a defining characteristic of 21st century geography, where terrorism and displacement are powerful forces, and where territorial politics, society and culture are reconfiguring our contemporary world. Studying borders in globalization, and North American borders in comparative perspective, affords insights into when and why these borders are constructed, how they work, where they have an impact, who they constrain, and why they are important in a changing world.

This course explores borders as a political, social, cultural and intellectual strategy through online dialogue and participation, study module completion, and directed reading. The course is based on a book published in April, 2020 (G. Correa-Cabrera and V. Konrad, eds. North American Borders in Comparative Perspective. University of Arizona Press, 2020). The book, also available in an electronic edition, provides a current focus for discussion, and offers detailed examination of concepts, issues, impacts, and applications. The course also draws more widely on the rapidly emerging literature of border studies, and particularly on the online components of the Borders in Globalization project ( Student evaluation is based on participation (20%), study module assignments (40%), and a paper (40%).

Pre-requirements are third year standing in Geography or other Social Sciences, or permission.

Registration currently open on Carleton Central.