What are borders and boundaries? Have they always existed? How do they come into being and how have conceptualizations of borders and boundaries changed throughout human history? What can people do when borders and boundaries impinge on their lives? How do people experience borders and border-crossings? These are some of the questions we will address in Borders and Boundaries, particularly through case studies anchored in the Middle East. We will consider ancient theories of borders and boundaries as material objects and in relation to human bodies and political institutions. We will also consider the role of borders and boundaries in the formation of culture, identity, and the state. By studying the cultural and political meaning of both ancient and modern borders and boundaries, we will examine the role these geographical structures play in producing differences between groups of people, particularly in situations of displacement and migration. Throughout the course our study of specific historical and political cases will be supplemented with analysis of imaginative works (literature, films, and art) that arise directly out of the creation and maintenance, as well as the crossing, of borders and boundaries. This interdisciplinary framework will encourage students to consider borders and boundaries at the level of theory and of the lived experiences of specific communities and individuals.