finding meaning in borders, edges, frontiers, and boundaries

I happened across this NYT opinion piece today on borders. It’s by Frank Jacobs, the esteemed blogger from Strange Maps.  It’d be nearly impossible to keep track of historical European “national” boundaries without mapped representations.

Staying fixed in one location, but having that one location be considered different places over time, reminded me of the research into how and when children develop their sense of nested or hierarchical space.  That I am in Ithaca and New York and the United States, all at the same time. And that I can be a concurrent Ithacan and New Yorker and United Statesian (sometimes I resist American).  Piaget and Weil studied this for Swiss children.

Piaget, J., & Weil, A.-M. (1951). The development in children of the idea of the homeland and of relations with other countries. International Social Science Bulletin, 3, 571-578.

The NYT piece also reminded me of Edward Casey‘s musings about fixed borders and porous boundaries. I heard him speak once at Redlands and was captivated at a philosopher’s take on the topic.  I would have loved the time to sit down with him in front of a GIS and muse on its points, lines, and polygons.

Here’s a link to his Edges and the In-Between essay (pdf).

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