Recent geohistorical research on boundary-making. Challenging conventional naratives on borders and modern state-building Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2021


  • e12602

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1749-8198


  • The paper aims at providing an overview of recent scholarship from the last 3 decades on boundary-making, borders, and the territorial shaping of modern states between the eighteenth and the twentieth centuries. Scholarship in various languages (namely English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian) and from various fields of inquiry will be reviewed in order to highlight their shared themes and common concerns from a comparatist, transdisciplinary, and international perspective. We contend that the field has seen an improvement in knowledge about boundary-making, methodological changes, and a widening of primary sources
    and research materials. As a result, conventional narratives on state-building, as well as the accompanying understanding of boundary lines as the mere result of institutional imposition by central state agencies, have been nuanced and enriched. We claim that expanding on these remarkable outcomes of recent scholarship on boundary-making would help to further bridge the gap between traditional/geohistorical and postmodern/contemporary approaches to border studies.


  • Geography


  • borders; boundary commissions; boundary-making; cartography; sovereignty; state-making; territory