2011 to 2014

BorderWork(s) draws together critical perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, and policy studies to explore the acts of division and demarcation — representational and material, symbolic, political-economic and cultural — that have parceled up the inhabited world into bounded communities that arrest, interrupt and/or redirect the free flow of humanity, goods, ideas, images, indeed imagination itself. In this Lab, we will investigate the human consequences of cartographic divisions (broadly conceived) and the materialization of these divisions in wall-building, both literal and virtual. Whenever frontiers change or disappear altogether, human security is affected, usually negatively. Borders that restrict human movement can prevent farmers from reaching their land or drawing water; Internet firewalls can silence reports of human rights violations; genocide can force refugees from their homelands; the walls in Belfast both perpetuate segregation and make a tentative peace possible; and massive development projects such as dam construction can wreak environmental damage across borders as well as cause forced human relocations within borders. The Lab will have specific sites of inquiry, including borders between Israel and the Occupied Territories; India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; within Northern Ireland; and between China and Tibet, among others.



Robin Kirk
Erika Weinthal
Philip Stern

Affiliated Faculty

Sumathi Ramaswamy

Graduate Affiliate

Erin Parish



Social Stoplighting: Participatory Methods for Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Social Stoplighting is a participatory planning method that combines community assessment workshops with digital geo-referenced maps. The goal is to... Read More
Project Search Expands to Include Humanities
Monday, June 10, 2013
This year's incoming first-year students at Duke will have a new pre-orientation option. Project Search—founded in 2009—is a two-week program... Read More
Defining Lines: Rethinking Images of Colonial Authority
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Phil Stern's students in the Maps, Art, and Empire research cluster at the BorderWork(s) Lab conducted research on a series of historical maps that... Read More
"Platforms and Passageways" Summer Research in Columbia
Friday, February 7, 2014
This summer, two students involved in the “Platforms and Passageways” project travelled to Colombia to continue the research they began in class.... Read More
Platforms and Passageways Maps Community Resources in Colombia
Monday, March 31, 2014
The focus of the BorderWork(s) research project Platforms and Passageways is on how to coordinate the information that internally displaced... Read More
BorderWork(s) Hosts a Meeting of the Mapping Minds
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
by Jordana Dym and Mark Olson Thanks to the joint efforts of Humanities Writ Large fellow Jordana Dym and BorderWork(s) Lab director Phil Stern, the... Read More