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Whether physical or imaginary, borders have always aroused the curiosity of researchers from different fields of knowledge. In the last decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century, we noticed an increase in interest in these relations, with a view based on the micro-relationships of local populations, mainly at the confluence between two or more nations. This fact makes the American continent, notably South America, a profitable place for analysis.

According to Verônica Secreto, “the Iberian empires carry with them a certain idea of ​​a dynamic and historical frontier”. [1] The American colonial borders were constituted in a space permeated by singularities, in comparison with those constituted in the Nation-State of Europe. In the design of borders, political and social managements operate, which, in turn, are the result of geopolitical arrangements established in each context. As a multiple space, they have countless possibilities for approaches and interpretations. The emergence of nations in America during the 19th century, as a result of Independences, caused the need to delimit borders. At first the idea of ​​the territorial limit was preferentially linked to geographical aspects such as rivers, mountain ranges, valleys, etc. At the end of the 19th century, the notion of frontier was reinterpreted by Frederick Jackson Turner, who sought to reinterpret the concept in order to insert it into the American expansion to the west. In this way, the border came to be seen as a portion of the territory to be explored, occupied, colonized, transformed.

Turner, in his work The Meaning of the Frontier in American History (1893) exposes a set of interventionist arguments that support the view that the frontier “is the point of contact between the wild world and civilization”, that is, where were the Indians and the free lands is where American man should colonize. [2]

Turner's “Frontier Theory” had many adherents inside and outside the United States of America. According to Maria Aparecida de S. Lopes, several generations of researchers tried to adapt Turner's view of border phenomena to the reality of other countries, such as, for example, the case of the formation of borders in Latin America. [3] Brazilian authors also followed this perspective, attributing the “Latin American failure” to the difficulty of exploring “free lands”, to miscegenation, to geographical imaginary and to “social actors” present in each context. We can also quote Carlos Reboratti who suggested that the frontier study should be carried out in four stages: the potential frontier; the opening of the border; border expansion and border consolidation. [4]

In Brazil, the influence of Turner's studies took place from the 1920s, when the crisis of the Oligarchic Republic led intellectuals to seek explanations for the specific case of Brazil. In the work Evolution of the Brazilian People, by Oliveira Vianna (1923), some relations with Turner's work can be seen, especially with regard to the relevant role given to the environment as an element of transformation of social types. Although not mentioning it directly, the reflection and exaltation of the historical experience “accumulated by four generations” by Olivera Vianna, if it is not influenced, at least it is close to the postulate by Turner. [5]

In 1942, Cassiano Ricardo published Marcha para Oeste, an essay that took on Turnerian features by encouraging the expansion of agricultural frontiers towards the West, highlighting the “Marcha para Oeste” program, launched by Getúlio Vargas in 1937. Despite being based on studies of Turner and to approach the hypothesis of Oliveira Vianna, Cassiano Ricardo took into account the Vargas political project, legitimizing it, from the miscegenation, being the “march” destined to fill the demographic voids. [6]

Another of the same generation that sought to interpret issues related to the border was Gilberto Freyre. The influence of Turner and the “Theory of the Frontier”, however, is shown mainly in the work Interpretação do Brasil, notably in chapter two, “Frontiers and plantations”. Freyre refers to Turner when mentioning the so-called “mobile border”, noting, however, that the “social types” born from the crossing between Portuguese and the Indians gave new mobility to the exploration of new areas, and in this way, to the expansion of borders. [7]

In the 1950s, Vianna Moog published her work with a very different view of the figure of the pioneers in the occupation of the territory and their descendants, but in their postulates there are still some signs of Turner's theories. In Bandeirantes and pioneers, Moog dates back to 1943, when he received an invitation to travel to the United States, sponsored by the Guggenheim Foundation. Moog formulated a work where he compared, from a panoramic view, the colonization carried out in the United States to that of Brazil, relating culture and geography, added to the analysis of the past. In this sense, the American "pioneers" prevailed over the Portuguese and their descendants, for having "turned their backs on Europe and the past", building a new way of life. It also emphasizes, in its text, the relationship between environment and culture (religion, education and work) as the main factors of this transformation. [8] Bandeirantes and pioneers achieved enormous success, becoming a classic work of colonial studies.

In contrast to Moog, we have Caminhos e borders, by Sérgio Buarque de Hollanda. In this work, built from extensive documentation, Hollanda sought to build the daily life of 17th century pioneering expeditions and 18th century population monsoons. Throughout the book, Sérgio Buarque de Hollanda, shows how the Portuguese went through a process of acculturation, and not the Indians (the “blacks of the land”), besides stating that the environment made the Portuguese renounce their customs and assimilate many of the indigenous habits, customs and knowledge to survive. Here is one of Turner's postulates: the environment and contact with the indigenous people on the border, added to the distance from contact with European habits and customs, made the “pioneer” become a new man. In this sense, the mobilization of this new man from Portuguese lands, the bandeirante, led to the expansion of the border line. For Sérgio Buarque, the frontier is understood as a fluid space, in continuous movement. [9]

In the 1970s, Turner's work received a reinterpretation very influenced by Marxism. In this sense, Otávio Guilherme Velho's authoritarian and peasantry Capitalism, released in 1974, ceases to be centered on the figure of the pioneer, and focuses on the peasantry as the engine of transformations. In this way, Otávio Velho does not carry out a sociological analysis of the frontier, but from the frontier. [10] His work influenced most studies on the border carried out between the 1980s and 1990s, which began to “demystify” Turner's “Border Theory”, framing the border from the perspective of violence and conflict. In this sense, we can quote the work of José de Souza Martins, Fronteira: the degradation of the Other in the confines of the Human (1997). For the sociologist, the frontier is not limited to the geographical frontier, on the contrary,

it is the frontier of many different things: frontier of civilization (demarcated by the barbarism that lurks in it), frontier of cultures and worldviews, frontier of ethnicities, frontier of cultures and the historicity of man. It is, above all, the frontier of the human. In this sense, the frontier has a sacrificial character, because in it the other is degraded in order to make possible the existence of those who dominate, subdue and exploit it (emphasis added). ” [11]

To reach this conclusion, Martins carried out field research in different places or “pioneer fronts” in Brazil, such as Mato Grosso, Acre, Rondônia, Pará, Goiás, Tocantins and Maranhão, between the 1970s and 1990s, whose central figure he was the “pioneer” but the “victim” of the complex border scenario. It has become almost mandatory reading for anyone dedicated to research related to the themes of expanding borders.

Currently, there is a resumption in studies related to the theme of the border, in different aspects, in books, and, mainly, in theses and dissertations defended in graduate programs spread throughout the territory, highlighting the relevance and relevance of the proposal. We can mention, for example, the works of Ligia Maria Osório da Silva (2001), Maria Verônica Secreto (2007), among others. [12]

The discussion around the concept of frontier involves a debate between different areas of knowledge. Geography, for example, stands out, for being the one that has been most dedicated to this debate, especially geopolitics. Foucher, one of its most important exponents, affirms that the borders are inserted in the territorial formation of the modern State and that its emergence happened from spatial structures, in a linear way, being constituted of two parts, an internal and an external one, aimed at maintaining national sovereignty. [13]

Ratzel's theory, analyzed from the perspective of geopolitics, is related to the concept of approximate frontier of the term “frontier zone”, as it represents the periphery of the State, having no autonomy of its own, and must submit to the rules in force in it. [14] These are the traditional concepts of boundaries, from the point of view of geography and geopolitics, and they are still very present in current studies, usually with new guises.

According to Martins, the concept of frontier seen from the point of view of Sociology, is difficult to define, since it points to different meanings: “many and different things: frontier of civilization (demarcated by the barbarism hidden in it), frontier space, frontier of cultures and worldviews, frontier of ethnicities, frontier of History and the historicity of man, and, above all, frontier of human [...] place of otherness and expression of the contemporary of historical times ”, so that the contemporary history of the border in Brazil is confused with the history of ethnic and social struggles ”. [15]

For International Relations, the discussion about borders has not taken up much space in academic research. In the main theories of International Relations, whether in so-called realism or liberalism, the concept of frontier is of secondary importance, being thought through the point of view of National States. In realism, borders are seen from the state-centric perspective, that is, they would only be relevant because they represent a delicate region for the State, reducing itself to questions of defense and sovereignty. When we analyze the theory of liberalism, the definition of frontier becomes more flexible, even if the notion of frontier region is also considered secondary, because in neoliberalism globalization creates networks that would not respect the national boundaries. These networks are both for licit activities (trade, finance) and illicit activities (drug trafficking, arms, people, illegal immigration). It would be up to the States, therefore, to control the borders in order to filter the flows, facilitating the entry of those considered interesting and curbing the illicit networks. According to this reasoning, we can deduce that for neoliberals, borders can play an important role for the development of the State. [16]

Analyzing the different perspectives on the concept of frontier, we are sure of the relevance of a multidisciplinary approach, since the peculiarities present at the frontiers must be taken into account in all studies. “Frontier lands are, above all, strategic areas that define the relationships between States, nationalities, ethnicities and identities”. [17] The Portuguese author Maria Marchueta, in the work “The Concept of Frontier in the Age of Globalization”, divides the frontier into two major groups: - Structural frontiers: those that, due to their characteristics, are more resistant or even immune to globalization pressures (civilizational frontier, cultural frontier); - Conjunctural boundaries: those that are established according to new interests and objectives, and economic and social phenomena (eg the frontier of knowledge, the frontier of time). [18] In this sense, its definition is perfect to the objective proposed by the HERMES Network - to encompass research on what would be beyond the traditional concept of frontier, and, thus, to broaden the look to themes still little explored and that provide new perspectives of approaches.

The origin of any state presupposes the creation and delimitation of its borders, which are necessary to ensure the sovereignty and defense of the country. In Brazil, taking as an example, one of the most important landmarks in the demarcation of borders was the Treaty of Madrid (1750). However, before him, according to Borba, the Utrecht Treaty, signed in 1713 with France, established the basic criteria for the Baron of Rio Branco to act in defense of the Amapá issue (1900), as well as those signed later. [19] The repeal of the Treaty of Madrid in 1761 produced the evolution of land borders from four phases: [20] expansion phase (Colonial Period), characterized by the displacement of the limits of the Treaty of Tordesillas towards the north, west and south ; phase of regularization or legalization (Imperial Period) of territorial occupations beyond the limits of the Treaty of Tordesillas; demarcation phase (Republican Period), when the work of the Limit Commissions was carried out; and the vivification or settlement phase, with the construction of forts, the installation of military colonies and the organization of border military units. [21]

Another point of interest and foundation of the HERMES Network will be the so-called “New Military History”. In a tradition of renewing themes, methods and theories, experienced in different domains of historiography, such as the New History or the New Political History, the New Military History was initially developed in the United States, after World War II.

From the 1990s, the influence of Social History, and of other disciplines of Human and Social Sciences, enabled a new crop of productions on this theme. In about twenty years, the "New Military History" has provided different fields of debate and research and new objects aimed at understanding the interactions between society and the military. In this sense, the book “New Brazilian Military History” is published by Fundação Getúlio Vargas in 2004, organized by professors Celso Castro, Hendrik Kraay and Vitor Izecksohn, with the aim of disseminating new perspectives on historical research on the subject. [22] Bringing together the results of recent research on the history of the military institution in Brazil, the book sought to remember that military institutions played a very broad role in Brazilian society. The result of wide-ranging debates among a new generation of historians, it presents a sample of what is called "new military history" in American academic circles. [23]

Through an interdisciplinary perspective, the New Military History expanded its problems, relating them to economics, politics, sociology and anthropology, among others, based on the proposition of original methodologies and approaches. [24] The expansion of this field marked the passage of a traditional history - marked by the wars, campaigns, battles and achievements of the great generals -, for the problematization of various aspects of military institutions and their relationship with society. [25]

As we can see, the current interest in studies related to Military History goes beyond the essence of existing Military Institutions, through various reflections developed by academics and those interested in the area. This expansion of themes is anchored in a double movement, which includes both access to sources and, above all, new approaches taken. As Henri Moniot [26] asserts, "(...) nothing is a source by its very nature and it is the problem posed by the historian who, identifying the trait that provides an answer, thus transforms the document and a historical source". In the work of renewing Military History, therefore, access, selection and investigation of new research records became relevant.

From this dimension, it is possible to highlight two major themes of bibliographic production that were built in this context and that are manifested in military studies of the 19th and 20th century: the Batalha History, formed from the search for a precise description and a detailed analysis military events themselves; and Military History, in the context of Political History, according to which all thought related to war, with regard to destruction, submission, disarmament of the enemy, the conquest of territories, and, also, the various battles, would be intrinsically linked to issues of power [27] .

From these perspectives, we understand the new Military History as an area of ​​research that is being renewed, and that has identified different problems, new approaches and multiple research objects, built from the New History model, of a critical nature and not only descriptive. The work carried out in this field contributed to the qualitative and quantitative growth of military historical production, as recorded by Paulo Parente.

Scientific conceptions of history took on several facets in their methodological structure, thus influencing military themes. Thus, military history is not an entity endowed with scientific autonomy in relation to the Theory and Methodology of History. Military history was built from the assumptions of historical science, among other scientific assumptions, in the same way as several themes of historical knowledge endowed with a defined field of investigation, among which we can point out: economic history, the history of law and institutions, administrative history, the history of science and technology and its various developments - the history of medicine, the history of diseases, the history of pharmacopoeia, the history of chemistry or alchemy, the history of the automobile, the history of of the plane and the history of the train. [28]

From the incorporation of these assumptions, the New Military History, developed in Brazil since the 1990s, represents the return of a field that for years was set apart by the country's historiographic currents - following the debates developed by the Escola dos Anais, which they discriminated against the traditional paradigm - in order to incorporate their criticisms, in the midst of the political situation of redemocratization and the opening of the Military Archives of the Army, Navy and Air Force to academic research.

[1] SECRET, Maria Verônica. "Preface". In: ACRUCHE, Hevelly F. Borders and people. Diplomacy, loyalties and sovereignties in the extreme south of Iberian America (1750-1830). Curitiba: Appris, 2019, p. 15.

[2] TURNER, Frederick Jackson. "The Meaning of the Frontier in American History". In. KNAUSS, Paulo (org.). American West: four history essays from the United States of America, by Frederick Jackson Turner Niterói: EdUFF, 2004, pp. 25 and 38.

[3] LOPES, Maria Aparecida de S “Frederick Turner and the place of the border in America”. In: GUTIÉRREZ, Horárcio, NAXARA, Márcia; LOPES Maria Aparecida de S. (orgs.) Frontiers: landscapes, characters, identities. France: UNESP; São Paulo: Olho d'Água, 2003, p. 15-17.

[4] REBORATTI, Carlos. “Agrarian frontiers in Latin America”. Revista Geográfica, 1990, nº 87, p. 1-9.

[5] Cf. CARVALHO, José Murilo de. “The Utopia of Oliveira Vianna”. Historical Studies Magazine. São Paulo, vol 4, 1991, p. 82-99.

[6] RICARDO, Cassiano. Marching West: the influence of the "flag" on the social and political formation of Brasiln. 3rd ed. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1959, p. 81-82 and 391.

[7] FREYRE, Gilberto. Interpretation of Brail. Aspects of Brazilian social formation as a process of amalgamation of races and cultures. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2001, p. 114.

[8] MOOG, Vianna. "Brief history of pioneers and pioneers". In: _________. Pioneers and pioneers. 12th ed. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1978, pp. 25, 114 and 139.

[9] HOLLANDA, Sérgio Buarque de. Border paths. 3rd ed. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2005, p. 19.

[10] Cf. KNAUSS, Paulo. (Org.). op. Cit., P. 20.

[11] MARTINS, José de Souza. Frontier: the degradation of the Other in the confines of the Human. São Paulo: Hucitec, 1997, p. 13.

[12] SILVA, Lígia Maria Osório. The border and other myths. Thesis, (Free Teaching). Campinas: UNICAMP, 2001; SECRET, Maria Verônica. Moving borders. West Paulista and Southeast Bonaerense of the second half of the 19th century Comparative History. Thesis (Doctorate in Economic History). Campinas: UNICAMP, 2007.

[13] FOUCHER, M. L'invention des frontières. Paris, Fondation pour les Études de Défense Nationale, 1986, 326 p. Available at: <>. Accessed May 19, 2020.

[14] CATAIA, M. “Frontiers: Territories in Conflict”. XIII Paranaense Meeting of Geography Students (EPEG), State University of Western Paraná (UNIOESTE), 2008.

[15] MARTINS, J. de S. Fronteira. The degradation of the other in the confines of the human. Editora Hucitec, São Paulo, 1997, p.13 and 25.

[16] SHERMA, M, A. “The Frontiers in International Relations”. Monções, UFGD International Relations Magazine, 2012, p. 11-12.

[17] FAULHABER, P. “The Frontier in Social Anthropology: the different faces of a problem”. BIB, São Paulo, no 51, 1st semester of 2001, p 105.

[18] Marchueta, MR, 2002. The Concept of Frontier in the Age of Globalization. Lisbon: Cosmos, p. 18-45.

[19] BORBA, V. “Borders and Boundary Strip: expansionism, limits and defense.” Historiae. 2013. Rio Grande, v. 4, n. 2, p. 63

[20] MACHADO, LO “Limits and Borders: from High Diplomacy to Circles of Illegality”. In: Território, year V, nº 8 (Jan./Jun.2000), LAGET / UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, p. 12-13.

[21] BORBA, V. “Borders and Boundary Strip: expansionism, limits and defense.” Historiae. 2013. Rio Grande, v. 4, n. 2, p. 63

[22] IZECSOHN, Vitor; CASTRO, Celso; KRAAY, Hendrick. New Brazilian Military History. Rio de Janeiro: FGV: Bom Texto, 2004, p. 9.

[23] IZECSOHN, Vitor; CASTRO, Celso; KRAAY, Hendrick. New Brazilian Military History. Rio de Janeiro: FGV: Bom Texto, 2004, p. 9.

[24] SOARES, Luiz Carlos. "Military History: the" old "and the" new "." In: CARDOSO, Ciro Flamarion Santana; VAINFAS, Ronaldo. New domains of history. Rio de Janeiro: Elsevier, 2012, p. 113-114.

[25] PEDROSA, F. Velôzo G. "The Traditional Military History and the" New Military History "". Proceedings of the XXVI National Symposium on History. São Paulo: Anpuh Nacional, 2011, p. 3. Available at:

< >.

[26] MONIOT, Henri. "L'usage du document in the face of ses rationalizations savantes, in histoire". In: AUDIGIER, F. (Org.). Documents: des moyens for those purposes? Actes du Colloque. Paris: INRP, 1993, p. 26.

[27] PASSOS, Rodrigo Duarte Fernandes dos. Clausewitz and politics - a reading of the War. 2005. (Doctoral Thesis in Political Science). University of São Paulo, São Paulo, 2005, p. 9.

[28] PARENTE, Paulo André Leira. "The construction of a New Military History". Brazilian Journal of Military History. Special Release Edition. Rio de Janeiro, Year I, December 2009, p. 2.

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