There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about international borders. See, for example: Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014; the question of EU nations protecting their own borders from the overwhelming flow of migrants into Europe; the fluidity  and conflict of the Turkey-Syria border, and Donald Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border. This got us to thinking:  what goes into making a border?  Who decides where the line is, and how is it enforced?  Marissa and Katie look to answer this question by exploring the the creation of Afghanistan’s borders in the late nineteenth century.  It’s a dramatic Victorian conflict that’s still relevant today. Join us!

The Great Game: the afghan Emir Sher Ali Khan with his “friends” Russia (the bear) and Britain (the lion), by Sir John Tenniel (1878).  Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.


Show Notes and Further Reading

Special thanks this week goes out to Dr. John Brobst, Assistant Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies at Ohio University, whose work on Central Asia inspired and informed much of this week’s episode.


Brobst, John.  The Future of the Great Game: Sir Olaf Caroe, India’s Independence, and the Defense of Asia (2005)

Fromkin, David. “The Great Game in Asia,” Foreign Affairs, Spring 1980

Hopkirk, Peter.  The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia (1992) and Tresspassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet (1995)

Sergeev, Evgeny. The Great Game, 1856-1907: Russo-British Relations in Central and East Asia (2013)

Feature image:  A map of the countries between Constantinope and Calcutta:  including Turkey in Asia, Persia, Afghanistan, and Turkestan. London : Edward Stanford, 1912. Library of Congress.




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