logo 21st Century Borders
logo 21st Century Borders

21st Century Borders

2021 until 2028
Project type

Debates continue about how to theorize the changing nature of borders in a globalizing world. Concepts such as ‘the vacillating border,’ ‘mobile’ borders or ‘borders in motion’ have been predominant; however, these discussions remain fundamentally state-centric and, importantly, while grappling with idea of ‘territorial trap’, they do not go beyond a statist-territory-based logic; they remain fundamentally landlocked. Cutting edge research, however, shows that borders and bordering processes are increasingly networked, mobile and functional. Borders and their reach are no longer strictly contiguous, tied to state territoriality, or bound to geography.

The objectives of this research program are to (a) foster and integrate policy/professional and academic research, training and publications on the rapidly evolving field of border studies and (b) generate theoretical, empirical and policy relevant expertise required for the momentous paradigm-shift to understand bordering processes from a state centric and territory-based logic to an emerging spatial and mobile logic in the field of border studies, and (c) train and network students/post-doctoral fellows.

21st Century Borders aims to create the largest research network of policy makers and academics in border studies world-wide. Our partnered knowledge mobilization will co-produce comparative and policy relevant research with international cross- border organizations in Africa and Australasia, Europe, North America, Latin America and South Asia, and connect this research with knowledge-users. The partnership brings together border policy actors and academics. It includes 15 intergovernmental and transnational organisations plus co-applicants from 14 universities in 12 countries. The partners have committed contributions totaling over $3.1 million to this proposed partnership. They will collectively and collaboratively develop new knowledge; co-define policy research priorities; and co-organise world- wide knowledge diffusion by training international policy professionals and students and through open-access policy briefs, data sets, and scholarly publications, plus podcasts, videos, and social media influence.


  • 21 Century Borders Conferences
  • Academic Conferences – ABS
  • Partner Hosted Conferences – WCO, PNWER, AEBR, MOT, El Tein, BPRI, CTC
  • University Partner Policy Workshops
  • Annual Summer Institutes
  • Academic Publications – Journal of Borderland Studies, MDPI, University of Ottawa Press
  • Open-Access Journal (BIG_Review) and Open-Access Book Series (BIG_Books)
  • Quarterly Newsletters
  • Podcast Series (BIG_Podcasts)
  • An Open Access MOOC
  • Public Webinar Series (4 per year)
  • Student Spotlight Series (12 per year)
  • Student Seminars (12 per year)



Acadia University Arizona State University Carleton University Catholic University of Louvain Charles Sturt University George Mason University Harvard University Hokkaido University Institut d'études politiques de Grenoble Kyushu University l École nationale d'administration publique Queen's University Radboud University Nijmegen Sir Sandford Fleming College of Applied Arts and Technology South Asian University The University of British Columbia Trent University Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Sul Université d'Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand I) Université de Strasbourg Université du Québec à Montréal Université Grenoble Alpes Université Laval Université Paris 8 University of Alberta University of Belfast University of Southern Denmark University of Toronto University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway University of Victoria Victoria University of Wellington Western Washington University

Contact information

Emmanuel M.D. Brunet-Jailly (ebrunetj@uvic.ca)