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Borders, Walls and Security

When: October 17-18, 2013


International conference organized by the Raoul Dandurand Chair at the University of Quebec at Montreal in association with the Association for Borderlands Studies
University of Quebec at Montreal, Quebec, Canada
October 17 and 18, 2013
Fields: Political Science, Geography, Anthropology, Sociology, Law, Economics, Design, Biology, Art, Environmental studies, Feminist Studies.
Grad Students are welcome to submit a proposal.In the post-9/11 world, fences and towers reinforce and enclose national territories, while security discourses link terrorism with immigration, and immigration with illegality, criminal violence and radical Islam. The European Union (EU) claims to tear down walls, while building external walls ever higher. At the same time, the US considers how best to deploy towers and walls along its border zones while implementing an integrated border management regime. This development is not limited to these two world regions, however. Elsewhere in the global world walls dissecting borderlands are becoming higher. In Asia, India is finishing up its fence around Bangladesh. On all four continents, changes in border policy go along with a heightened discourse on internal control and a shift from borderlines to an ubiquity of control. Such walls are ‘walling in’ as well as ‘walling out’. By this we mean that the traditional geopolitics of bordering are supplemented, rather than fully replaced, by a national biopolitics, involving new definitions of who belongs and who does not belong, who is potentially represented as a threat and a risk internally, and who should be removed from the body of the state.

The experience of migrations, asylum-seekers, targeted ethnicities, and non-citizen residents has also been profoundly touched by securitization assessments rooted in geopolitics emanating from assessments of conditions outside of the state. Law-enforcement agencies at national and even international level, problematize ethnicity and identity in context of terrorism and criminality, or associated geopolitical orientations based upon nationalist and ethnicity. Systems and facilities for monitoring and gathering data on migrants and asylum seekers, are a product of the opportunity offered by border control, and are now an important component of a counter-terrorist agenda. They too, demand walls in which to embed their technologies.
Participants are encouraged to critically examine the role of wall in security discourses, particularly with respect to immigration and citizenship, and to consider some of the following questions:
Theme 1. Border fences, walls and identities
Construction of national and local identities
Theoretical limology, walls and epistemology
Anthropological approaches to border walls and fences
Sociology of the walls/fences and their borderlands

Theme 2. Impacts of border walls

Social and environmental impacts
Economical impacts
Bypass strategies
Security industry and border fences & walls
Art, Borders and Walls

Theme 3. Legal aspects of border 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. Biopolitics of border walls

Security discourses, geopolitical and biopolitical assessments, and walls
9/11 security discourse, marginality and border fences
Spatialization of insecurity and border fences

Deadline for abstract submission: April 20, 2013
Please include the following information (300 words):
Name of authors/contributors
Institutional affiliations, titles
Contact: telephone, fax, email, mailing address
Title of the paper
Abstract: Subject, empirical frame, analytical approach, theme
Send your proposals via email in Word format to Elisabeth Vallet at
Proposals can be submitted in French, Spanish and English. However the conference will be held in English and French.
April 20, 2013 : deadline for submitting abstracts and proposals
June, 2013 : proposals selection and notification sent to presenters
August 24, 2013 : submission of papers to discussants
October, 17 and 18, 2013 : Conference to be held in Montreal


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