Most people today, if they think about borders at all, can be forgiven for believing that lines on a map are real things that serve useful purposes. By demarcating the edges of nation-states they are responsible for everything from shoring up sovereignty, nationalism, and colonialism, to drawing the lines between “us” and “them.” However, if you take a closer look at the long messy histories and even messier contemporary functions of those invisible lines you discover that what they are best at is lying to you. This talk will explore why we believe the lies borders tell us, and why we shouldn’t.
Dr. Sheila McManus is Professor of History and one-third of the Lethbridge Border Studies research group. Their research focuses primarily on the history of the borderlands of the North American West. McManus is the author of Both Sides Now: Making the Alberta-Montana Borderlands (University of Nebraska Press and University of Alberta Press, 2005); Choices and Chances: A History of Women in the U.S. West, (Wiley, 2010); and Both Sides Now: Writing the Edges of the North American West (Texas A&M Press, 2022). They co-edited One Step Over the Line: Toward a History of Women in the North American Wests (Athabasca University Press and the University of Alberta Press, 2008), and Intersections and New Directions in Critical Border Studies (under contract with Athabasca University Press).