While the expansion of border and borderland studies into a broad interdisciplinary field has given rise to new combinations in approaches, there still exists uncertainty as to the role of theory in such research. Despite the fact that there is an obvious need for theorizing borders and borderlands, the variegated nature of borders with their own contextual features, power relations and unique histories make the development of a general theory virtually impossible (Paasi, 2011). In addition to the absence of a universal theory, distinctions between disciplines in terms of their epistemologies make it even more difficult for scholars to communicate and engage in meaningful dialogue and cooperative research. This presentation makes no attempt to develop either a general theory of borders or to devise a methodology that transcends disciplinary boundaries. However, it does outline an approach that offers a framework for studying the evolution of borderlands over time. An explanation of this approach is preceded by a brief discussion of some of my views on historical approaches to the study of borders and borderlands.
Randy Widdis is professor emeritus of geography and environmental studies at the University of Regina. He is the author of over seventy publications and is the recipient of forty awards and fellowships including the Albert B. Corey Prize for the best book on the history of North America (2006) and a Fulbright Fellowship (1994). He has published widely in the areas of rural development, heritage tourism and land settlement, but has more recently focused on the historical geography of the Canada-US borderlands. Dr. Widdis is just finishing his work as the lead for the historical theme and Great Plains/Prairies region components of the Borders in Globalization Project.
Wednesday, 26 February 2020, from 14.00 to 15.00
Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History
Maison des Sciences humaines, 4th floor
11, Porte des Sciences