Borders in Globalization Project housed at CFGS

July 5, 2013

The BIG Research project explores borders in 21st century.

A new international research collaboration led by the University of Victoria will explore our understanding of borders—real, remote and virtual—in the 21st century.

The seven-year “Borders in Globalization” (BIG) project involves 23 universities and 34 non-academic partners from Canada, the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It is funded through a $2.3-million Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), as well as $1.4 million from project partners.

Since 9/11, the study of borders based only on territorial definitions is fast becoming outdated, and those definitions are not always clear. For example, earlier this month, US-bound passengers were stranded on a Toronto tarmac after a flight cancellation; due to preclearance, they had technically departed the country, but it was uncertain at first how to process them off a plane still on Canadian soil.

“Border gates may not be disappearing yet, but the state’s capacity to enforce or delineate borders is becoming far more complex and powerful,” says lead investigator Dr. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, an associate professor in UVic’s School of Public Administration, director of UVic’s European Studies minor, editor of the Journal of Borderlands Studies (Routledge) and Jean Monnet Chair in EU Border and Urban Region Policies.

Policy makers, activists and social scientists are reaching beyond narrow traditional definitions, such as maritime boundaries along the Pacific Ocean or internal borders within the EU, but no specific study has yet identified a coherent set of reasons for this shifting landscape. One measure of success for the new international partnership will be the global exchange of expertise and organization of debates to explore border policies and economic, security, governance, cultural and environmental perspectives.

BIG will host 18 round-tables, 10 summer schools and three international conferences. See backgrounder for a full list of collaborators and network activities.

This project is the first SSHRC Partnership Grant awarded to UVic.