Global Border Making and Securitisation in the Early Modern World: An Introduction

Edmond Smith, Lisa Hellman

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In the early modern period, borders could be mutable, imprecise, and represent far more than the lines on a map or delineation between sovereign states. In this essay, as well as introducing the eight articles that form the body of the special edition, we set out the key ideas that serve as a common theme and thread across this collected body of work. First, the idea of ‘securitisation’ is examined, and consideration given to how it has been used by both scholars in International Relations and more recently in historical studies. Second, we consider the concept of ‘border making’ and explore how re-examining our preconceptions about the idea of borders can change the way we examine important questions related to state and imperial formation, identity, and the meaning of community. Finally, the possibilities for using borders and security as entry points into asking new questions about ‘emotional global history’ are discussed, and how this could be useful for thinking more carefully about the tensions, frictions and entanglements, as much as connection and exchange, that are at the core of globalising processes that have done so much to shape the world as we know it today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalJournal of the British Academy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2021


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