The role of borders and boundaries

Indeed, borders have become prominent topics of research for a range of scholars from across the social sciences and humanities. This burgeoning, interdisciplinary field of border studies covers a broad range of concerns, including state sovereignty, globalization, territorial disputes, trade, migration, and resource management, among other topics.

The role of borders and boundaries

Debated, fought over, and painstakingly delineated on maps and charts, boundaries lie at the heart of major political decisions and prove fundamental to a host of social and economic issues. Paramount among such issues are the expansion of national borders as fresh territories are either annexed by diplomatic treaty or conquered outright, the relocation of eastern tribes to west of the Mississippi through the Indian Removal Act ofthe intensification of regionalism, the westward recession of the edge of settlement, and debate over whether new states added to the union should be slaveholding or free.

As the nation approaches nothing less than a cataclysmic civil war to resolve many of these issues, and as antebellum boundaries remain in flux, their vulnerable, culturally constructed character lies close to the surface.

It is not, then, especially surprising that much of the literature of this period becomes preoccupied with various borders that are said to mark insides and outsides, clearcut beginnings and endings, the limits of territorial jurisdictions, and the outermost edges of the nation itself.

Throughout the antebellum decades the idea of a frontier edge where settlement is said to end, and where "wilderness" is assumed to spread into raw, unsettled space, remains a fundamental aspect of the national sense of geography, with a long history extending back to earliest colonial settlement.

William Bradford —governor of the Plymouth Bay Colony throughout most of its early development, invokes the idea of a frontier of civilization in his Of Plymouth Plantation c. Scholars and historians such as David Laurence, John R. Stilgoe, and Robert E. Abrams have come to emphasize that terms such as "wilderness," "savage," and "civil parts" register European concepts and values projected into New World topography.

As used by a writer like Bradford, the phrase "hideous and desolate wilderness" refers to a pre— New England landscape that in alternative accounts by Giovanni da Verrazzano, Samuel de Champlainand other European explorers actually emerges as thickly populated by native tribes, whose villages and agricultural clearings dot the Atlantic coastland from the Saco River to Narragansett Bay.

The initial colonial division of New World space into a fundamental difference between white "settlement" and "desolate wilderness," with a frontier edge falling between "civil" and "wild" worlds, erases the prior history of tribal cultures on the so-called desolate side of the border while apparently clearing the ground for unimpeded colonial possession.

The frontier thus emerges as a problematic and ideologically charged, if highly significant, concept in North American colonial history. Rooted in colonial interests and attitudes, the idea of the frontier remains widely influential in antebellum literature and culture, although considerable ambivalence is often expressed about its westward recession and eventual disappearance.

On the one hand, the American frontier ostensibly marks the advancing edge of civilized structure and order, and registers the triumph of a nation whose Manifest Destiny, according to the phrase coined by John L.

In commenting on this transformative process, Alexis de Tocqueville — refers in Democracy in America to a great "march" of civilization into wilderness, "turning the course of rivers, peopling solitudes, and subduing nature" 2: Throughout the antebellum decades, however, American writers and artists often lament even as they affirm the militant "march" of settlement behind an advancing frontier.

Thomas Cole —the celebrated Hudson River School landscape painter, writes in his "Essay on American Scenery" that "although an enlightened and increasing people" have "wrought changes that seem magical" across a once uncultivated land, as "civilization" has taken hold, the "sublimity of the wilderness"—"perhaps the most impressive" characteristic of "American scenery"—threatens to "pass away" pp.

A presumed edge of the "wild" that is conceived as withdrawing lamentably away from and yet marking the triumphant expansion of settled, organized space, the frontier thus becomes an ambivalently perceived border, on alternative sides of which allegiances become split between the allure of the vanishing wilderness and the advance of civilization.

Pastoralism, that is to say, appears to soften the sharp distinction between settlement and wilderness through the envisagement of what Marx, in The Machine in the Garden, calls a "middle landscape" falling between and yet harmonizing the "opposed worlds" of "civilization" and "unimproved, raw nature" pp.

In Waldenfor example, Henry David Thoreau — strives to maintain equilibrium between wild and civilized worlds by reading classics in the open air, building a shelter open to summer breezes, dressing simply, and avoiding needless luxuries.

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Often in such works, however, the "pastoral moment" seems at best fleeting and provisional: At the other end of an ostensibly balanced "middle" terrain between "overcivilization" and "wilderness," the vocabulary of American pastoralism projects concepts such as "the primitive," "savagery," and "the wild" into unre-claimed space in ways that have grown suspicious to a later generation of scholars.

The "pastoral moment," that is to say, seems to take shape in the midst of what Henry Nash Smith, in a critique of his own influential earlier book, Virgin Land, terms a series of "social stages" presumed to be modulating from "savagery" toward an "increasing level of complexity.

Although the idea of the frontier as a boundary between primitive space and civilized, more advanced space dominates a considerable amount of antebellum writing, such a boundary is sometimes questioned by antebellum authors themselves.

The frontier may seem to divide civil from wild space, but Hawthorne suggests that when colonial settlers visit or gaze into the forest, they persist in perceiving it through the lens of their own cultural assumptions.The power of geographical boundaries: Cultural, political, and economic border effects in a unitary nation Chang, Bowon, "The power of geographical boundaries: Cultural, political, and economic border effects in a unitary nation" ().


boundaries such as sub-national borders in a unitary nation? 2. If they do exist, what are the. African boundaries, provides a broad classification of international boundaries, then examines their purposes and functions, and ends with a conclusion that highlights the.

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The role of borders and boundaries

The Role of Borders and Boundaries in Partition Literature Such was the magnitude of the devastation wrecked by the Partition of undivided India that it was, and is a mammoth task for writers to deal with it.

Boundaries (geography) |