For my research topic I will explore the geographical phenomenon of political borders, and how it negatively affects marginalized groups of people. Political borders are the invisible boundaries of states, that essentially mark where one nation ends and another begins. Through my research, I intend to discover how political borders create more division than unification among human populations. Increasingly relevant in recent years, human displacement is an international crisis exemplified through growing refugee populations, emerging political camps, and civil unrest withing previous European colonies.

Nations are often sold as a means of unity. While in truth, it appears to be the opposite when sympathizing with those who are excluded from what so many of us take for granted. Through research, I hope to broaden my understanding of political borders and the multiple ways in which it affects the human race. While I am primarily interested in its negative effects, if positive ones should appear convincing, they too will be considered.

The Dividing of a Continent:Africa’s Separatists Problem

This article reveals land dispute issues among sovereign nations in Africa, in direct relation to the colonial powers that used to claim ownership of them. It explains how the fragmentation of the continent is in effect of European colonialism through arguments between nation over ownership of natural resources.

This article is a great example of the absurdity of political borders. I intend to use it to further push my point that they are nothing more than fabrications of space. The civil unrest of Africans in effect of border disputes certainly has a place in my research of political borders

Desert “trash”: Posthumanism, border struggles, and humanitarian politics

This is a peer-reviewed journal article from Political Geography, under the publisher Elsevier. The article is an analysis of migrants discarded belongings (wrongly labeled as trash) in the US/Mexico border zone of the Sonoran Desert.

Being a scholarly article, I can use the analysis of this politically geographic phenomenon to better understand how undocumented migrants are easily dismissed in effect of borders. The article also has quotes from migrants, which could prove useful in my proposal.

Geographies of the Camp

This is also an Elsevier, Political Geography peer reviewed journal article. This one is concerned with the increasing number of political camps emerging all over the world. The article puts forth analysis of the phenomenon and offer geographic solutions.

Again, having the validity of a scholarly article, I can use the information here to demonstrate how the real world occurrence of camps exemplifies the negativity of political borders. I can show this through examples of camp life within the article, or through the authors analysis of the subject.

Migration Policy Institute

This website holds many recent statistics about migrant populations. The statistics are particular focused on international migrants rather than domestic. Statistics are all within recent years, therefore making them applicable to a modern research paper.

This will be a great source of quantitative data for my research proposal. Specifically, I plan to utilize the statistics centered in the Humanitarian Migration sub-page (relating to refugees and asylum seekers). These statistics should offer easily understood evidence to back whatever conclusion I may end up with.

National Geographic-Syrian Refugees

This article describes the common shared experiences of migrants, but specifically told through Syrian Refugees. The article holds quotes from academics such as Harvard archaeologist Jason Ur, and the Syrian refugees themselves.

I intend to use this article through its detailed description of life for one of the most infamous groups of migrants, the Syrians. After, I intend to construct how that applies to the bigger picture of the negativity (or positivism) of political borders.

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2 Responses to Proposal+5-Breadpatrol99

  1. breadpatrol99 says:

    Feedback was requested.

    Feedback (of a sort) provided.

    (The two journal articles may be difficult to access. I did so on rowan campus through the library’s access to Academic Journals.)


  2. davidbdale says:

    P1. That’s a strong-sounding first paragraph, breadpatrol, which nevertheless doesn’t quite clarify what you’re promising.
    —Your concern for “marginalized groups” is admirable, but we’ve no idea who you mean. Surely you don’t mean people living near the margins of bordering countries, but since you haven’t given us a better idea, our minds wander.
    —Creating division is of course an essential function of the border, so it seems odd to even remark about it.
    —Then displacement, refugee status, and political camps can all occur within the borders of a single country, so again the relevance to borders is unclear.

    P2. What is it that “those who are excluded” aren’t getting, breadpatrol? A noun would help here: Immigrants? Refugees? Minorities within a majority-controlled country?

    African Separatists.
    Political borders may indeed be absurd, but your entry here doesn’t support the claim. Are countries no longer European colonies disputing their borders on the basis of pre-colonial nationhoods? Are tribes that never considered themselves part of any “country” claiming ownership of land masses, rivers, or lakes that “nations” invented by colonials “seized”? Honestly, I haven’t a clue.

    Desert Trash.
    The more I read, the more I think you may be working on something poignant and important here, breadpatrol, but what your thesis is still a total mystery. This doesn’t help one bit, but it intrigues me that migrants who cared enough to bring items on a trek (on foot most likely), drop them before crossing a border, as if they had different needs on the two sides of a line in the dirt. That’s poetry. But so far, it’s only in my head. I haven’t seen a hint of it in your own writing.

    Geographies of the Camp.
    There’s not a whiff of an indication here why political borders result in camps.

    Migration Policy.
    Here you promise me that you found data to support whatever conclusion you come up with. I suspect it will have something to do with borders.

    Syrian Refugees.
    Not getting it. I’m sorry.

    If you’d like helpful feedback instead of my repeated complaints that I don’t see the point, please direct me to your post that best describes and supports your general thesis. I’m intrigued by the possibilities, but can’t help much until I understand your argument.

    Reply, please.


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