Public event

Border anxiety in a globalising world

The Golden Age of globalisation has reached an end in the popular and political imagination. In its place has arisen growing anxiety about state borders. What is the evidence of such a shift? What are the causes and consequences?

This talk presents evidence of growing border anxiety, on a global scale. Some border concerns are indeed justified. Others flow from a vague sense of fear about forces and threats beyond state control. When anxious border-related rhetoric takes center stage, it can have unexpected consequences for politics and policy.

The Hertie School welcomes Beth Simmons, Andrea Mitchell University Professor in Law, Political Science and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania to deliver a keynote lecture, addressing the trends in border hardening over the past two decades, and discussing its causes and consequences. Simmons will share insights from her research that help visualise the growing attention to border security and understand the consequences of secured borders. Professor of International Affairs and Security at the Hertie School Julian Wucherpfennig will moderate the discussion. Join us for the fourth event of the series Understanding the politics and policies of exclusion.


Keynote speaker

  • Beth Simmons is Andrea Mitchell Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Simmons is currently working on a project on international borders between states in an era of globalisation. Her current and recent research have been supported by the Carnegie Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. Two of her books won the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Award. Simmons directed the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, is a past president of the International Studies Association and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.


  • Julian Wucherpfennig is Professor of International Affairs and Security at the Hertie School part of the Centre for International Security Policy's research team. He has been an Assistant Professor and Programme Director for Security Studies at University College London, and a postdoctoral research fellow at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, from where he holds a PhD (2011) and an MA (2008) in political science. He has also been a Research Associate at the Gallup Organisation Europe. His PhD on ethnic conflict was awarded the ECPR Jean Blondel Prize.


About the event series

Understanding today also means learning from our past. The rise of right wing movements across the globe, increasing polarisation and an alarming increase in anti-Semitism across Europe require us to look at the past and understand the politics and policies of exclusion we continue to witness today – and what we can do as stewards of good governance to combat against them.

In November 2020, the Hertie Foundation commissioned the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte to conduct a comprehensive study on the history of its assets. The independent study will be conducted Dr. Johannes Bähr and PD Dr. Ingo Köhler with a focus on the period from 1933 and will be published as a book-length project by the end of 2022.

As the work of Dr. Bähr and Dr. Köhler progresses, we would like to invite members of our community to explore the politics and policies of exclusion both in a historical and contemporary context.

Find more information on the event series here.