Borders are paradoxical things. Since the inception of the discipline, anthropologists have been drawn to borders: those that humans construct to categorize behaviors in cultural anthropology; those that humans materialize through objects in archaeology; those that delineate biological limits in physical anthropology; and those that humans reproduce through language in linguistic anthropology. The borders we trace through human experience tell us about more than just boundaries, however. Through attention to borders we can better understand the relations of power and inequality that structure human experience. It is only through recognizing borders that we can hope to overcome them.
The Bordering project hosted through the University of Delaware Department of Anthropology seeks to explore and examine borders in all forms. Our project is inspired by insights into bordering and borderlands.
- Borders are "simultaneously structures and processes, things and relationships, histories and events." Kent Lightfoot and Antoinette Martinez, 1995
- "It is the process of bordering, rather than the course of the line per se, which is important." David Newman, 2006
- Borders "run across land but through people…. They divide and unite, bind the interior and link with the exterior." Ira Zartman, 2010
- Borderlands are liminal, multivocal, multilocal, dynamic, contested places in which people deploy identity strategically and situationally. Hastings Donnan and Thomas Wilson, 1999