[WHS] Benjamin Hopkins on Ruling the Savage Periphery: Frontier Governance and the Making of the Modern State

WHS logo

Please join us for a Washington History Seminar Panel with Benjamin Hopkins on Ruling the Savage Periphery: Frontier Governance and the Making of the Modern State

Monday, November 23 at 4:00 pm ET

Click here to register for the webinar

Space in the Zoom webinar is available on a first-come first-serve basis and fills up very quickly, if you are unable to join the session or receive an error message you can still watch on the NHC's Facebook Page or the Wilson Center website.


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, George Washington University
Elisabeth Leake, University of Leeds
Geraldine Davies Lenoble, Torcuato Di Tella University
Benjamin Johnson, Loyola University

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 thelasting effects of the past on the present.

Elisabeth Leake is Associate Professor of International History at the University of Leeds, UK. She trained as a historian at Yale and the University of Cambridge and held a fellowship at Royal Holloway, University of London, before joining Leeds. Her research explores global histories of decolonization and the Cold War, with specific reference to twentieth-century South Asia. Her first book, The Defiant Border: The Afghan-Pakistan Borderlands in the Era of Decolonization, 1936-65, came out with Cambridge University Press in 2017, and she has recently completed her second book, Afghan Crucible, a global history of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the accompanying civil war.

Geraldine Davies Lenoble is a historian of Latin American History, specializing in the history of independent indigenous societies and frontiers in the Americas during the 19th century. She has a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and the National University of Quilmes (UNQ), Argentina. She is also a visiting professor at the Torcuato Di Tella University (UTDT), Argentina. Geraldine has a Ph.D in History from Georgetown University (DC., USA). She is currently working on her book on the Mapuche Confederacies in the Pampas and Patagonia during the 19th century. She has authored articles in several journals, including “The emergence of the indios gauchos: federalist montoneras, raids and provincial expeditions at the southern border of Cuyo and Córdoba during the 1860s,” “The persistence of cattle ranching: the Pehuenches’ impact in the regional economy of Cuyo and the Andes Mountains, 1840-1870”, and “The impact of Cacical Polities on the Frontier: Kinship Networks and Social Structure in Carmen de Patagones, 1856-1879.”

Benjamin H. Johnson is Professor in the History Department and School of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago. He attended Carleton College (B.A., summa cum laude) and Yale University (PhD). Johnson is the author of Revolution in Texas: How a Forgotten Rebellion and Its Bloody Suppression Turned Mexicans into Americans (2003); Bordertown: The Odyssey of an American Place (Yale University Press, 2008), and one book and numerous articles about the history of environmental politics in the United States. In 2012, Johnson helped to found the “Refusing to Forget” Project, which commemorates the legacies of the border violence of the 1910s. This project received the 2020 Herbert Feis award from the American Historical Association for “distinguished contributions” to public history in the last decade. He is currently writing a history of Texas and researching a history of Latino politics.

Share this post:

Comments on "[WHS] Benjamin Hopkins on Ruling the Savage Periphery: Frontier Governance and the Making of the Modern State"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment