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In 2020-21, the UD Department of Anthropology is developing a number of programs, classes, and activities around our annual theme, Bordering. We hope that students and other members of the UD community will join us in the initiatives described below!
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Refugees in Nakivale, Uganda repurpose oil tins donated from USAID in the construction of their homes to symbolize the borders they hope to overcome in the future
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.
Herrman, Augustine. Map of Virginia and Maryland, 1670, with "Delaware" outlined in red as an indigenous homeland and colonial borderland
We analyze the ways that borders pose limits on human experience as well as represent transformational potential. Our explorations of shared and distinctive experiences of danger, strangeness, innovation, negotiation, accommodation, reflection, and embodiment advances understandings of borderlands and the bordering processes that produce them.
Hostile Terrain 94 Project ~3,200 handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019
Above: Speed, John. A Map of New England and New York Sold by Tho: Basset in Fleetstreet and Richard Chiswell in St. Paul's Church, 1676. Fordham University Library. Below: Herrman, Augustine. Map of Virginia and Maryland, 1670, with "Delaware" outlined in red as a borderland