Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jared Poley

Second Advisor

Gregory Moore


Societies throughout time and space have shaped their interactions with each other and their environments by forming boundaries. The function of boundaries, constructed through the process of bordering shape whether boundaries exhibit monologic or dialogic qualities. Boundaries expressed as enacted or discursive depending on their relations with others. Current scholarships use boundaries and bordering inconsistently, or as simplified monoliths. In order to overcome imprecise definitions, the study tests a set of theories by Denis Cosgrove, Etienne Balibar, Erin Williams, Harvey Starr, and G. Dale Thomas about geographic knowledge, periphery, and proximity. The theories are challenged or confirmed through analyzing their relevance found in the writings of historians, philosophers, and explorers found in ancient history, eighteenth century, and twentieth century. The study establishes boundaries and bordering as possible units of analysis using theory sets for historians that reveal how societies project and shape their identities across space and time.