Fences and Walls In International Relations
Call For Papers
Conference October 29th 2009 – Fences and Walls in International Relations
Charles-Philippe David, Raoul Dandurand Chair and Full Professor of Political Science, UQAM
Élisabeth Vallet, Research Director at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair and Lecturer in Geopolitics, UQAM
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, do good fences still make good neighbours? Since the Great Wall of China, construction of which began under the Qin dynasty, the Antonine Wall, built in Scotland to support Hadrian's Wall, the Roman "Limes" or the genko borui built by the Japanese on Kyushu Island, the "wall" has been a constant in the protection of defined entities claiming sovereignty, East and West.
In the 1990s, when the talk was of globalization and peace dividends, borders as such seemed to be becoming illusory. Analysts observed the declining importance of the border (Morley and Robins 1995) or its growing irrelevance (Mlinar 1992, Kuels 1996); indeed, some foresaw its disappearance and the advent of a borderless world (Allen, Hamnett 1995, Badie 1995). The literature posited a growing challenge to the state-centred world order (Cooke 1993, Van der Veen and Boot 1995) which would wipe away the perimeters of the state.
Nevertheless, some 26,000 kilometres of new political borders have been established since 1991 (Foucher 2009), and states have declared their intention to dig in behind fences, barriers and built structures. Moreover, the post-Cold War and post-9/11 periods have seen the rise of border walls, symbols of separation which seemed to be on the way out in the wake of decolonisation (with the dismantling of the Morice, Challe and Pedron lines in the Maghreb, the McNamara line between the two Vietnams, and the cordon sanitaire [Corsan] along Rhodesia's border) and were believed to be entirely finished and done with after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The aim is to conduct a broad analysis of the "wall in international relations" as there has been little analysis in the literature of the rebuilding of the "wall" in the post-Cold War period: there are some polemical case studies of walls (Encel 2008), and interesting comparative chapters or special issues (Córdova y Vázquez et De la Parra ; Jackson 2004; Paquot 2006; Ban 2007; Hennebellesand and Tsikounas, Géopolitique 2009) but no comprehensive theorization of the phenomenon. Indeed, in addition to existing border walls, such as the one along the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas or those Morocco has built in the Western Sahara, plans for more than 20 structures have been announced since the end of the Cold War. If all are built, they could total more than 18,000 kilometres in length (Foucher 2009).
This conference will focus on inter-state or inter-national walls. Clearly, infra-national walls are also becoming more common, but they cannot be classified in the same category, for they differ in purpose, applicable law, and political function.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall, this conference proposes to raise the issue and to analyze the factors that have led to the resurgence of the wall, if not in fact at least in discourse. At the same time, the aim is also to see how the return of the wall as a political tool may be symptomatic of a new era in international relations. Hence, w e will favour a multidisciplinary approach to problems that could include the recurrence and/or decline of the wall in IR, wall discourses, legal approaches to the wall, the « wall industry », bypath strategies and No man's lands, the sociology of the border walls and borderlands as well as their symbolism, their role, objectives and efficiency. In parallel, the conference wishes to examine case studies that shed light on both the systemic factors explaining the building of walls and the necessity to consider specific factors pertaining to each walls. Graduate students are invited to submit paper proposal.
Theme 1. Walls in International Relations, return or decline
Walls, fences and Épistémologie de la limologie et murs
Globalizing discurse and the return of borders
Global hypothesis on the return of the wall in International Relations
Case studies on the return of the wall in International Relations
Theme 2. Walls and identities
Construction of national and local identities
Theoretical limology , walls and epistemology
Anthropological approaches to border walls
Sociology of the walls and their borderlands
Theme 3. Legal aspects of the walls
Separation and legitimation
Border walls: failure or success?
International, national and local legal aspects
Human rights and the Wall
Norms and the Wall
Theme 4. Impacts of the walls
The role of the security-industrial complex
Economical impacts of the wall
Social and environmental impacts
Proposal: please include
• 300 words maximum
• Name of authors/contributors
• Institutional affiliations, titles
• Contact: telephone, fax, email, mailing address
• Title of the paper, Subject, empirical frame, analytical approach, theme
Languages: Proposals can be submitted in French and English.
Send your proposals via email in Word format to Raoul-Dandurand Chair: firstname.lastname@example.org
• 19 june 2009 : deadline for proposals
• 3 july 2009 : proposals selection and notification to presenters
• 29 september 2009 : submission of papers to discussants
• 29 october 2009 : Conference to be held in Montreal.