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THEME 9: Borders and Boundaries
THEME 9 BORDERS and BOUNDARIES What motivated or motivates explorers to transcend assumed frontiers? Borders and boundaries are two distinct concepts. With the exception of borders formed by physiographic features such as a sea, mountain or desert, borders are socially constructed. Boundaries are physical with an exact geographical location. The making of a border is the product of social practices. Socially constructed borders are described in terms of symbols, signs, identifications and performance studies. Border researchers seek answers to question such as: Why does humankind create borders? Is bordering of space biologically intrinsic? What drives the motivation to demarcate property? What questions of ethics and justice arise in the creation of socio-spatial borders? EXPLORE MORE! HONORS IN ACTION Baldersheim, Harald & Lawrence E. Rose (2010). Territorial Choice: GIVE PEACE A CHANCE: The Politics of Boundaries and Borders. GAMING NIGHT ON CAMPUS Baldersheim and Rose present the experiences of 11 European nations and their territorial reforms. These case studies outline basic features of OVERVIEW the politics of territorial choice, particularly national policies, politics and Conflicts in Syria and Egypt caught our attention and started cleavages. Moreover, they review the strategies employed by nations and a dialogue among chapter members about the ways borders the outcomes of their territorial reforms. and boundaries are created. To what extent are they artificial? Why were they created the way they are in the 21st century? Buchanan, Allen & Margaret Moore (2003). States, Nations, and Are there solutions involving borders to the complex Borders: The Ethics of Making Boundaries. problems that have led to the world's civil wars? Can a Buchanan and Moore examine comparatively the views and principles of technology-based game help us better understand border seven prominent ethical traditions on one of the most pressing issues of disputes and lead to meaningful discussions about potential modern politics -- the making and unmaking of state and national solutions? boundaries. The traditions represented are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, natural law, Confucianism, liberalism and international law. PREPARATION SELECTION OF THEME Chapter members showed an early Diener, Alexander C. and Joshua Hagen (2012). Borders: A Very Short interest in conflicts in the Middle East and the ways borders Introduction. and boundaries might have contributed to them. As we Diener and Hagen provide a concise introduction to borders. After tracing studied the Honors Program Guide, we found the overarching the historical development of borders from antiquity through the emer- question for Theme 9, "What motivated or motivates gence of the modern nation-state system, the authors outline the contours explorers to transcend assumed frontiers?" inspired us to of contemporary border studies in terms of theoretical perspectives and learn more about the motivations behind political and social topical coverage. explorers and the borders they created or hope to transcend in the Middle East. Newman, David (2006). "The Lines that Continue to Separate Us: Borders in Our `Borderless' World." Progress in Human DEVELOP RESEARCH QUESTIONS Geography. 30.2: 143-161. _ How do socially constructed boundaries contribute to Newman's seminal border studies article provides a useful starting point conflict in the world, particularly in the Middle East? How for exploring current thought and theory in the field. He offers a general have some nations in the region transcended assumed summary of theoretical approaches to studying borders and captures the frontiers? contingent and contradictory aspects of bordering processes and _ What solutions have been tried to reduce border-related institutions in contemporary society. conflicts in the world? _ To what extent are borders flexible and changeable in the For more sources related to this theme, go to ptk.org/honors. "flat" global world of the 21st century?
ACADEMIC RESEARCH Team members began their research with _ A faculty member who trained team members in quantitative general sources on the development of nations in the Middle East, research. historical conflicts and the underpinnings of the complex problems that _ College administrators and facilities managers who helped secure have led to contemporary conflicts. The artificial construct of borders space and necessary technology. was one of the factors contributing to contemporary conflicts, and the _ Gaming community members who play PeaceMaker and helped team searched for various perspectives about solutions to the conflict. team members become familiar with the process and possibilities As members gathered and read sources, team leaders invited a faculty of this particular Game for Change. member with expertise in quantitative research to help us create a _ Fellow Phi Theta Kappa members by organizing a regional short survey about student perceptions of conflict in the Middle East gaming night to play PeaceMaker as a result of the success of the and the role socially constructed boundaries have played in expanding night on campus. or limiting frontiers in the region on our campus. ACTION The "Give Peace a Chance: Gaming Night on Campus" ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS Team leaders facilitated the analysis was scheduled for students and interested community members. of our research. Members found strong connections between histor- Gamers played for four hours and stayed for the facilitated discussion ical and contemporary conflicts in the Middle East. They also found afterward that tied PeaceMaker to the chapter's research on the ways students on campus knew little about the conflicts or the border borders and boundaries can be factors in conflicts around the world, issues related to the conflicts. Finding a way to engage students in including in the Middle East. In the aftermath of a successful on- constructive dialogues about conflicts and possible solutions became campus project, team members decided to organize a regional a goal for the action component of our project. gaming night as a way to share research and the campus experience with fellow Phi Theta Kappa members. DETERMINATION OF ACTION Chapter members wondered if gaming was a way to motivate students to learn more about the REFLECTION borders and boundaries of the Middle East. Using research as their EVALUATION After gathering and analyzing answers to the guide, team members looked at Games for Change resources online questions on our initial survey to determine whether students on and decided to organize and host "Give Peace a Chance: Gaming campus knew much about conflicts in the Middle East, we were Night on Campus." PeaceMaker, a game developed and published not surprised to see they did not. PeaceMaker helped them better in 2007, offered the opportunity for students to examine the understand the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as evidenced by our Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a way to gain a basic understanding of after-gaming facilitated discussion. We didn't have all the answers, the ways borders contribute to conflicts among nations. but we were asking deeper and more complex questions about the roles borders and boundaries play in establishing frontiers and LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Team members used the following encouraging or thwarting a spirit of exploration. We grew as leaders training to develop the skills necessary to successfully complete the who used a weekly review of our project plan to ensure forward Honors in Action project: movement on the project, even when we encountered obstacles _ inviting a computer science professor, an expert on gaming, to such as too few extension cords on campus to allow gamers to use teach team members general rules of gaming and strategies for their own laptops to play during game nights. The solution in that playing and teaching PeaceMaker; case was to gather 20 power strips from members and faculty to _ training in event management by the college's special events get the number we calculated we needed to create a safe and easy coordinator to understand all the elements that go into a atmosphere for the technology needs of 50 gamers who participated successful gaming night; and in our project. We grew as scholars who began the process _ asking a faculty member who has expertise in quantitative research wondering about the causes of the conflicts in Syria and Egypt and methods to conduct a hands-on seminar to develop a short survey ended up learning a great deal about the connections between for students on campus. borders, boundaries and historical conflicts in the Middle East. We also learned we enjoyed the kinesthetic and visual learning involved IMPLEMENTATION in gaming. As a result, we searched for more educational games to LEADERSHIP ROLES augment the subjects we were studying in class. Finally, we gained _ Coordinating the research team's work. soft skills such as event planning and quantitative research that we _ Organizing gaming night on campus, including working with can use as we move on to universities and jobs after completing campus administrators and facilities personnel to secure space, our degrees. Internet access and technology necessary for a successful event. _ Team members worked to develop and implement a project plan FUTURE IMPLICATIONS The success of the campus and regional that included recruiting volunteers and people who planned to gaming nights indicated there are ways to use innovative techniques play PeaceMaker. to interest students in historical and contemporary global conflicts. _ Facilitating the gaming and the after-gaming discussions about The Technology Club on campus showed interest in organizing lessons learned and possible solutions, particularly related to the regular gaming nights using Gaming for Change products. We shared exploration of borders and boundaries. a copy of the Honors Program Guide and offered to work with them to connect the Guide's themes with possible games that will help COLLABORATION students better understand Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration. _ Faculty and students involved with gaming and the gaming night on campus.