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Ruling the Savage Periphery: Frontier Governance and the Making of the Modern State

Date & Time

Nov. 23, 2020
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET


Zoom Webinar


Benjamin Hopkins’ new book, Ruling the Savage Periphery, makes a bold claim about the modern global order and the central role ‘frontier’ spaces have made in its construction. Arguing that the ‘frontier’ is a practice rather than a place, Hopkins theorizes that the particular way states govern such spaces – he terms it ‘frontier governmentality’ – presents a unique constellation of power defining states and their limits. Ranging from the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands to the Arizona desert to the Argentine pampas, Hopkins presents an ambitious and provocative global history with continuing purchase today.

Benjamin Hopkins is an associate professor of history and international affairs at the George Washington University. Having received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2006, his research interests focus on Afghanistan, British imperialism and the history of the South Asian subcontinent. He has authored three books – The making of modern Afghanistan (2008); Fragments of the Afghan frontier (2012: co-authored with Magnus Marsden); and Ruling the Savage Periphery (2020) – as well as co-edited Beyond Swat (with Magnus Marsden). He is particularly interested in issues of state formation and state violence and the lasting effects of the past on the present.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University and the National History Center) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partners (the George Washington University History Department and the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest) for their continued support.

Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

Indo-Pacific Program

The Indo-Pacific Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on US interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

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