Border Thinking on the Edges of the West: Crossing Over the Hellespont, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Border Thinking on the Edges of the West

Crossing Over the Hellespont, 1st Edition

By Andrew Davison


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Paperback: 9781138287860
pub: 2016-11-08
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Drawing on scholarly and life experience on, and over, the historically posited borders between "West" and "East," the work identifies, interrogates, and challenges a particular, enduring, violent inheritance – what it means to cross over a border – from the classical origins of Western political thought. The study has two parts. The first is an effort to work within the Western tradition to demonstrate its foundational and enduring, violent conception of crossing over borders. The second is a creative effort to explore and encourage a fundamentally different outlook towards borders and what it means to be on, at, or over them. The underlying social theoretical disposition of the work is a form of post-Orientalist hermeneutics; the textual subject matter of the two parts of the study is linked using Walter Benjamin's concept of the storyteller.

The underlying premise of the work is that the sense of violent possibility on the borders between "West" and "East" existed well before the more recent "age of imperialism" and even before there was a "West" or an "East" to speak of. That sense is constitutive of a political imagination about borders developed deep within the revered sources of Western culture. On the other hand, confronting the influence of such violent imaginaries requires truly novel modes of hermeneutical openness, hospitality and solidarity.

Seeking to offer a new understanding and opening in the study of borders, this work will provide a significant contribution to several areas including international relations theory, border studies and political theory.


‘Andrew Davison’s book is a fascinating read. It is a highly original work … the reader comes out greatly enlightened on what it means to talk about "borders." Not only does "border thinking" clearly occur, but the author also successfully manages to provide an alternative vision of how to think of a world beyond borders. … This book is contributing to the development of fulfilling and satisfying transformation of a political analysis of literature that no longer thinks through borders between different bodies of literature. This book does not teach how to "cross" meaningfully and ethically a border but rather how to erase the artificial’Juliette Tolay, Penn State Harrisburg, in ‘Political Theory’, Vol. 14/No. 2, June 2016, pp. 547-548

Table of Contents

Preface: Working In, On, and Beyond the Imagination of the West Today Introduction I. Synopsis II. Goals and Purposes of Part One: When Words Maintain their Meanings and The World Is An Abode of War III. Goals and Purposes of Part Two: On the Fatal Boundaries IV. A Link: Storytelling as Counsel V. Overall Aims and Conclusion: Perhaps Not Crossing At All Part One: When Words Maintain Their Meanings and The World Is An Abode of War I. Conceptual Stability in a Sea of Change II. A Hermeneutic, Participatory Approach III. "To cross thy stream, broad Hellespont!" IV. Crossing for Empire, Godliness, and Glory V. Crossing as War, Part I VI. A Note on Liberation and Glory VII. Crossing for War, Part II VIII. Alternatives, Part I: Crossing in Flight IX. Alternatives, Part II: In Praise of the Medizer X. Crossing the Hellespont XI. A Tradition of Meanings Part Two: On the Fatal Boundaries I. Introduction II. The Village of Değirmenoluk III. Vayvay IV. Sakızlı Conclusion: Perhaps Not Crossing At All

About the Author

Andrew Davison is Professor of Political Science at Vassar College, USA.

About the Series

Worlding Beyond the West

Historically, the International Relations (IR) discipline has established its boundaries, issues, and theories based upon Western experience and traditions of thought. This series explores the role of geocultural factors, institutions, and academic practices in creating the concepts, epistemologies, and methodologies through which IR knowledge is produced. This entails identifying alternatives for thinking about the "international" that are more in tune with local concerns and traditions outside the West. But it also implies provincializing Western IR and empirically studying the practice of producing IR knowledge at multiple sites within the so-called ‘West’.

We welcome book proposals in areas such as:

  • Critiques of Western-centric scholarship and policy-making.
  • The emergence of new theories and approaches from ‘the periphery’.
  • The challenges for the discipline at large in accommodating its post-Western phase, and the political and ethical dilemmas involved in this.
  • Concrete studies of the results of approaching issues and agendas in ‘the periphery’ with the tools offered by core thinking.
  • Work by scholars from the non-West about local, national, regional or global issues, reflecting on the importance of different perspectives and of geocultural epistemologies.
  • Studies of ‘travelling theory’ – how approaches, concepts and theories get modified, re-casted and translated in different contexts.
  • The meaning and evolution of major concepts in particular regions, such as security thinking, concepts of globalisation and power, understandings of ‘economy’ and ‘development’ or other key categories in particular regions.
  • The sociology of the discipline in different places – with a focus on a country, a region, on specific research communities/schools, subfields, or on specific institutions such as academic associations, journals, foundations or think tanks.
  • Empirical studies of epistemic practices and the conditions of knowledge production in different Western and non-Western locales and sites.
  • Studies of the interaction between different knowledge producers, such as processes of expertise or the dialogue between intellectuals, academics, bureaucrats and policy elites.

Series Editors: Arlene B. Tickner, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia, David Blaney, Macalester College, USA and Inanna Hamati-Ataya, University of Cambridge, UK

Founding Editor: Ole Wæver, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

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