#28 & #29 BIG Podcast – Hadrian’s Wall, Frontiers of the Roman Empire and Border Studies (Part One)

featuring archeologist David J. Breeze, British archaeologist and scholar of Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine’s Wall, and the Roman army

The history of the Roman Empire is intertwined with the control of the entire Mediterranean Sea and reached at its peak 5 million km² for 60 million inhabitants. The empire was heterogeneous and expanded through conquests and was maintained through a network of frontiers and a system of friendly, allies or “client” states (reges amicique populi Romani). Due to rebellions from some tribes as the Brigantes, and after having visited the Danube and Rhine frontiers, the Roman Emperor Hadrian (reigned 117–138) came to Britannia in July 122 BC. By ordering the construction of the Wall (between 122 – and maybe before according to certain authors – and 127 AD), Hadrian put an end to the territorial expansion of the Roman Empire. In short, Hadrian adopted a policy of protecting frontiers without expansion.

What functions did the borders of the Roman Empire have? What functions did Hadrian’s Wall have? Can the frontiers of the Roman Empire be considered strict separations between the civilized (Roman) world and the world of the barbarians (“qui barbaros Romanosque Divideret”)? How is archeology an interesting and relevant discipline for Border Studies? We will discuss all this and get answers with archeologist David J. Breeze.

Listen to #28 (Part One): Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

Listen to #29 (Part Two): Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

David J. Breeze is an archaeologist, teacher, and scholar of Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall, and the Roman army. He has been Chair of the International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies and President of several archaeological societies in the UK. He was Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland from 1989 to 2005, and subsequently led the team which successfully nominated the Antonine Wall as a World Heritage Site in 2008. David has excavated on both Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall and written several books on these frontiers, on frontiers elsewhere in the Roman Empire and on the Roman army.

#28 & #29 BIG Podcast – Hadrian’s Wall, Frontiers of the Roman Empire and Border Studies (Part One)

BIG Talk – It’s more than just the zipcode: It’s about how one’s access to reproductive services is impacted by various levels of border walls

with Dr. Andréanne Bissonnette (Postdoctoral Fellow, Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University) | Victoria, BC & Zoom | September 26, 2023

In Person: CFGS C168 (Sedgewick building, University of Victoria) or Zoom. The meeting will take place from 12:00PM to 1:30PM PST. Register in advance for this meeting here. Registration is free but required.

Along the US-Mexico border, how one perceives their access to reproductive health services is often impacted by the various levels of border walls. Women’s position along the border will impact the level of controls implemented by states, and in turn the availability of services. However, identity markers such as immigration status and ethnicity intersect with geographical positioning to impact perceptions and experiences of access to reproductive care. This presentation offers an analysis of Latinas’ perceptions and experiences of access to reproductive health services in two border states (California and Texas). Based on extensive fieldwork (observation, survey and interviews), it demonstrates how immigration status and ethnicity influences how public health policies are lived along the border.

Dr. Andréanne Bissonnette is a postdoctoral fellow at the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University, where she is part of the binational research team focused on the equity of Canada – US border measures during the pandemic. Her research focuses on reproductive health access in the United States, with a focus on the intersections of ethnicity, immigration status, and geographical position. Born along the US-Canada border, her research has brought her to the US-Mexico border several times through the years, including for a research fellowship at the University of Texas at El Paso (2019). She has published her work on reproductive healthcare and health and borders in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Quebec in Montreal.

BIG Talk – It's more than just the zipcode: It’s about how one’s access to reproductive services is impacted by various levels of border walls

BIG Talk – What are we all about?

Victoria, BC & Zoom | September 19, 2023

In Person: CFGS C168 (Sedgewick building, University of Victoria) or Zoom. This event will take place from 12:30PM to 1:30PM PST.

Register in advance for this event here.

Join us to learn all about BIG activities and discover how to get involved with us.

BIG Talk – What are we all about?

Program Overview

The 21st Century Borders grant is a seven-year SSHRC Partnership Grant. The research program builds off the work of the previous Borders in Globalization SSHRC Partnership Grant (2013-2020) which sought to understand the changing nature of borders through six thematic areas in order to document how state-centred and territorially-fixated research limits our understanding of borders. 21st Century Borders builds off the work done in the first grant with the goal of exploring and advancing the required epistemological shift from a state- centric and territorial logic to nodal and mobile logics that focus on both the internal and external forces that challenge the territorial integrity of states. While the first grant revealed the limitations of state-centred and territorially bound understanding of borders, this grant seeks to understand how we, as academics and policymakers, can move beyond that model.

We do this by focusing on three interrelated themes:

  • Pillar 1: Looking inside of states at how Indigenous awareness and resurgences, along with increasingly prevalent politics of nationhood and nationalism, affect, fragment, and re-draft intergovernmental relations.
  • Pillar 2: Examining the relationship between bordering processes and states’ territoriality, with particular attention paid to examining trade flows and human mobility – both within a states’ international boundaries and across international and transnational legal and regulatory regimes.
  • Comparing how the politics in both the above-mentioned cases affect the geopolitics of borders across global regimes.

Program Structure

The grant itself is comprised of two parallel research pillars. Pillar one, led by Jeff Corntassel, and pillar two, led by Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly. While these two pillars work parallel to each other within the grant, the conceptual knowledge base and program understandings will flow between the two pillars and through into country specific case-studies. The two vertical pillars are cross-sectioned by two overarching themes: ecology and security. These themes will address issues of both ecology and security from within the contexts of the two primary pillars. Additionally, partners in the grant may choose to use their expertise to focus on country-specific case studies.

Pillar 1

Nationhood & Nationalism

Pillar one explores how claims of nationhood and nationalism exist in the Indigenous and regionalist experiences in borderlands. There is a growing body of literature that examines Indigenous nationhood claims and another, separate, body literature that looks at regionalist and nationalist claims in Europe. The goal of this pillar is to bridge the gap between these two literatures and explore how claims of nationhood and nationalist claims are similar, how they are different, and how they factor into claims of Indigenous self-determination. Through the work done here, this project examines ways that Indigenous nations, communities, and peoples challenge the territoriality of states and other patriarchal institutions in order to generate new understandings of how Indigenous relationships develop and persist beyond boundaries. By interrogating terms such as nationhood, international, self-determination, and borders, this project seeks to advance a deeper understanding of how these terms and relationships are viewed from diverse Indigenous perspectives. View the full vision statement.

Pillar 2

Territory & Connectivity

While pillar one deals with issues of territory, pillar two deals with issues of human mobility and trade flows by identifying and examining the instruments and infrastructures of connectivity. This includes structures, regulations, and functions of borders. Research occurring in this pillar may focus on issues such as pre-border clearance mechanisms, the externalization of borders, state-to-state security agreements, integrated border management regimes, strategies for preserving life in cross-border regions during crises. (List is not exhaustive and new projects will be reviewed by the academic and international advisory boards annually).

Partnership Composition

21st Century Borders is funded by a seven-year Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Grant. In addition to funding from SSHRC, our academic partners contribute matching funding and our non-academic partners provide cash and in-kind support for research and knowledge mobilization activities. This project is directed by Dr. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly at the University of Victoria (Victoria, Canada) and co-lead by Dr. Jeffrey Corntassel (University of Victoria). The academic partnership consists of eight Canadian university partners: Carleton University, École Nationale d’Administration Publique, Royal Military College of Canada, Trent University, Université du Québec à Montréal, Laval, Flemming College, and the University of Victoria; and six international university partners: Radboud University (The Netherlands), Université de Grenoble (France), University of Southern Denmark, South Asia University (India); Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), and Western Washington University.

Our policy partners include: the Canada Border Services Agency, the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (USA/Canada), the Association of European Border Regions (Europe), the World Customs Organization (Brussels), Transfrontier Euro-Institut Network – TIEN (Europe), Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière – M.O.T (France).

Research Affiliates

The 21st Century Borders research partnerships includes a number of scholars from around the world working with us on a variety of different projects. This list is updated regularly as we add new projects and expand the partnership.

Aileen Espiritu (UiT The Arctic University of Norway); Alan Bersin (Harvard University); Alex Buhk (Victoria University of Wellington); Amael Cattaruzza (Institut Français de Géopolitique); Budd Hall (University of Victoria); Can Mutlu (Acadia University); Daniel Meier (PACTE); Eve Tuck (University of Toronto); Evert Lindquist (University of Victoria); Fabienne Leloup (UCLouvain); Francisco Lara-Valencia (Arizona State University); Frédérique Berrod (Université de Strasbourg); Glen Coulthard (University of British Columbia); Guadalupe Correo Cabrera (George Mason University); Heidi Stark (University of Victoria); Irasema Coronado (Arizona State University); Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez (University of Alberta); Jamie Ferrill (Charles Stuart University); Katy Hayward (Queen’s University Belfast); Michelle Daigle (University of British Columbia); Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman (Institute of Chinese Studies – Delhi); Naomi Chi (Hakkaido University); Said Saddiki (Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah); Simon Dalby (Wilfrid Laurier University); Tamara Krawchenko (University of Victoria); Whitney Lackenbauer (University of Waterloo).

Funding Partners

#9 BIG Podcast – “Geopolitics of Borders and Border Walls”

featuring Elisabeth Vallet – Professeur de Géographie et d’Etudes Internationales, Montréal, Québec

Globalization is a complex and plural phenomenon. Some have been able to evoke a world without borders and the disappearance of States, but we rather observe the construction of many walls and barriers. Some flows can cross territorial boundaries without problem while some borders become places of violence for humans. What geopolitics of borders and border walls at a time of a plurality of globalizations?

La globalisation est un phénomène complexe et pluriel. Certains ont pu évoquer un monde sans frontière et la disparition des Etats, mais on observe plutôt la construction de nombreux murs et barrières autour des territoires. Certains flux peuvent franchir les limites territoriales sans problème alors que certaines frontières deviennent des lieux de violence pour les humains. Quelle géopolitique des frontières et des murs frontières à l’heure d’une pluralité de globalisations?

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and the Podcast App!

#9 BIG Podcast -

Academic Partner – University of Quebec at Montreal

Élisabeth Vallet


Élisabeth Vallet is associate professor at RMCC-Saint Jean, director of the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, affiliate professor at the Department of Geography at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). She has been the Quebec lead for the Borders in Globalization program and is currently a co-researcher for the Borders in the 21th Century Program (University of Victoria). She is the recipient of the 2017 Richard Morrill Outreach Award from the AAG’s Political Geography Specialty Group. She is a regular columnist for the Canadian National Network (Radio-Canada) and for the newspaper Le Devoir. Her current research focuses on borders and globalization, border walls and governance.

Élisabeth Vallet

BIG Highlights

BIG Leads Interviews

Élisabeth Vallet on the Québec region

ABS Conference 2019

Quebec: Fontière sous tension

The Canadian Geographer – Special Issue

Frontiérités québécoises 

Frontiérités québécoises : Représentations de la zone transfrontalière québéco-américaine au Congrès des États-Unis, 2001–2016 (Vincent Boucher, Christophe Cloutier-Roy, and Élisabeth Vallet).

“The So-Called 2015 Migration Crisis and Euroscepticism in Border Regions: Facing ReBordering Trends in the Danish-German Borderlands”

Martin Klatt | Geopolitics | 2018

This paper examines the role of Euroscepticism on regional cross-border cooperation between Germany and Denmark. It demonstrates that Euroscepticism, while absent from local mainstream politicians, had already caused civic unrest in the 1997 attempts to construct a return to history Euro-region Schleswig. It resulted in a re-scaling of the Euro-Region to Region and Schleswig to “Sønderjylland/Schleswig”, omitting any reference to Europe, European identity or a commitment to a closer European union in the relevant agreements. Border controls, on the agenda in 2011 and again since 2015, have demonstrated the institutional weakness of cross-border politics when faced with determined initiatives from the national center. Furthermore, the Eurosceptic Danish People’s Party had its best results in the border precincts both at the latest European and Danish national elections. Euroscepticism, even though difficult to measure on a regional level, seems to have been an ever present underneath current despite a political rhetoric of successful cooperation and cross-border reconciliation. The Danish-German case’s development might be more distinct, but nonetheless representative for European border (and cross-border) regions. While European metropolises develop into thriving cosmopolitan post-nation state societies, this is not necessary the case at Europe’s borders, where categorization and bordering remain common social practices by the large majority of national borderlanders with only a small portion of transnational borderlanders or ‘regionauts’ getting involved in border crossing social practices on a larger scale.

Klatt, Martin. “The So-Called 2015 Migration Crisis and Euroscepticism in Border Regions: Facing ReBordering Trends in the Danish-German Borderlands.” Geopolitics 23, (2018).

“The So-Called 2015 Migration Crisis and Euroscepticism in Border Regions: Facing ReBordering Trends in the Danish-German Borderlands”

Video by Chorong Kim