Comparative Border Studies

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Special Issue of Comparative American Studies

This special issue is devoted to the comparative study of global border regions. Since the emergence of border studies in the 1950s and 1960s, geographers, economists, anthropologists, and social and political scientists have examined a variety of national boundaries worldwide. The more recent focus in the humanities on the U.S.-Mexico border has helped transform U.S. American studies into a transnational discipline with emphasis on the comparative, relational, and intersectional study of citizenship, region, and migration. The limited attention to the U.S. boundary with Mexico within this current of Americanist scholarship has, however, threatened to replicate the very notion of U.S. exceptionalism that an interest in the border was originally meant to challenge.

This special issue encourages the comparative examination of national borders located in or across the continents of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe. We strongly encourage essays that address how a comparative border studies framework enriches, challenges or modifies our understanding of the U.S.-Mexico border. We also seek submissions that explore international boundaries other than the U.S.-Mexico border or that highlight connections among various border regions. Especially welcome are contributions that examine national borders in relation to theories of gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, citizenship, human rights, social justice, environmentalism, regionalization, migration, trafficking, enforcement, and biopolitics.

The following is a list of suggestions for comparative topics:
- immigration/human trafficking and national borders
- the circulation of goods across national borders
- biopolitics and national borders
- border environments
- citizenship and national borders
- the reinforcement of national borders
- the struggle for social justice and human rights in border areas
- linguistic, religious, gender, ethnic, or cultural identities and their relation to national borders
- cultural/media representations of or about national borders
- historical case studies of mutually constitutive border developments
- strategies for local, transnational, and global solidarities
- regionalization and national borders

Please send inquiries and 500-word abstracts to Claudia Sadowski-Smith at The deadline for completed 6000-word essays (using the Chicago Manual Citation Style) is July 31, 2011.