Universität Wien FIND

290046 PS Frontiers in Asia and the Americas: Past and Present (2020W)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 29 - Geographie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung

auf Englisch


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 20 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Montag 19.10. 17:15 - 20:15 Digital
Montag 16.11. 17:15 - 20:15 Digital
Montag 30.11. 17:15 - 20:15 Digital
Montag 14.12. 17:15 - 20:15 Digital
Montag 11.01. 17:15 - 20:15 Digital
Montag 25.01. 17:15 - 20:15 Digital


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

The proseminar will discuss the historical role as well as the contemporary function of peripheral areas - also known as “frontiers” - in the Americas and Asia. The focus will be on settler frontiers and frontier populations thereby taking an interdisciplinary perspective on frontiers (including historical studies, political ecology, political science, development studies, border studies, anthropology, etc). Despite its controversial history as a legitimizing narrative of European colonialism, a review of contemporary literature reveals that the frontier as a conceptual framework is experiencing a revival. The current academic concern with frontiers has been reinforced amongst others by a rush on natural resources and land in the early 2000s. Peripheral areas are still regarded by states as sources of cheap resources and ‘free’ land. This land is also sought after by migrants evading the population pressure in the central regions, often causing conflict between newcomers and (indigenous) populations. Also in recent years different ‘frontiers’ made global headlines, to name just two examples: In Brazil a populist right-wing government openly promotes the exploitation of the remaining Amazon forest resulting in an increased deforestation. On Myanmar’s western border (in Rakhine State) a genocide was carried out against so-called ‘Bengali’ (calling themselves Rohingya) considered to be ‘illegal’ migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. Reflecting its global diversity the proseminar will present multiple perspectives on frontiers with empirical case studies from Asia and the Americas, covering following topics (amongst others):
• A historical perspective on the frontier concept
• Settler frontiers and migration
• Settler frontiers and violence
• Frontiers and demographic policies
• Frontiers and indigenous resistance

The seminar will provide an opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with multiple (disciplinary) perspectives on frontiers in different regional contexts. They will practice to critically reflect and discuss contemporary theoretical concepts related to frontiers. Students will independently research a topic for their presentation in class, review and discuss relevant literature and practice scientific reading and writing.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

The following requirements must be fulfilled in order to pass the course:

• Regular participation and active involvement in discussion (either online or physically, depending on the COVID-19 situation)
• Reading of academic papers and related work assignments (reading notes)
• Own research of presentation topic
• Presentation in class/or online
• Final paper (10-15 pages)

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

The grading is based on following achievements:

• Active participation in class (reading and discussion of literature) (20%)
• Work assignments related to core reading material (20%)
• Independent research of topic and presentation in class (30 %)
• Proseminar paper (10-15 pages) (30%)

All assignments have to be passed individually in order to pass the course.

Grading scheme:
100 - 87,5 % - grade 1
87,5 - 75 % - grade 2
75 - 62,5 % - grade 3
62,5 - 50 % - grade 4
less than 50% - grade 5


The examination will encompass the work items as outlined in the course requirements.


• Ballvé, T. (2019). Narco-frontiers: A spatial framework for drug-fuelled accumulation. Journal of Agrarian Change, 19(2), 211–224.
• Barney, K. (2009). Laos and the Making of a “Relational” Resource Frontier. The Geographical Journal, 175(2), 146–159.
• De Koninck, R. (2000). The theory and practice of frontier development: Vietnam’s contribution. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 41(1), 7–21.
• De Koninck, R. (2006). On the Geopolitics of Land Colonization: Order and Disorder on the Frontiers of Vietnam and Indonesia. Moussons. Recherche En Sciences Humaines Sur l’Asie Du Sud-Est, 9–10, 33–59.
• Eilenberg, M. (2014). At the Edges of States: Dynamics of State Formation in the Indonesian Borderlands. University of Hawaii Press.
• Geiger, D. (2008). Frontier Encounters: Indigenous Communities and Settlers in Asia and Latin America. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs.
• Geiger, D. (2015). Colonization and Conflict: Contemporary Settlement Frontiers in South and Southeast Asia. LIT Verlag.
• Hall, T. D. (2002). World-Systems, Frontiers, and Ethnogenesis. In Borderlines in a Globalized World (pp. 35–66). Springer, Dordrecht.
• Hirsch, P. (2009). Revisiting Frontiers as Transitional Spaces in Thailand. The Geographical Journal, 175(2), 124–132.
• Kelly, A. B., & Peluso, N. L. (2015). Frontiers of Commodification: State Lands and Their Formalization. Society & Natural Resources, 28(5), 473–495.
• Korf, B., & Raeymaekers, T. (2013). Violence on the Margins: States, Conflict, and Borderlands. Palgrave Macmillan.
• Li, T. M. (2014). Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier. Duke University Press Books.
• Turner, F. J. (1932). The significance of sections in American history, (First Edition, First Printing edition). H. Holt and Company.

All texts for compulsory readings can be downloaded in the Moodle course.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

(MG-S4-PI.f) (MG-S6-PI.f) (MG-W5-PI) (L2-b3) (L2-b-zLV) (L2-d2) (BA UF GW 19) (MA UF GW 02-4)

Letzte Änderung: Do 23.03.2023 00:25