Volume 6, 2018:

Beyond borders? Interrogating boundaries in our twenty-first century world.
Editors: Nancy Powers (Kenyon) and Kate Roy (FUS)

We live in a time in which communications technologies, transnational institutions and markets, and easy mobility allow human beings to transcend the borders of their own communities, states, literatures, cultures, and institutions, enabling us to see beyond borders to other ways of living or thinking, to cross borders to visit, learn, or live, and to challenge the limitations imposed by borders that were constructed by wars, colonialism, law, custom, academic discipline, or accepted definitions and categories. Yet, at the same time, it is difficult to deny that both nation states (even in a ‘post-national’ world) and communities living within the same state rely on strategies of representing the ‘in between spaces’ of cultural encounter and interaction, be they geographical or perceptual, to articulate senses of identity and difference, of ‘us’ and ‘them’ – a process in which modes of simultaneous remembering and re-membering of borderlands are only gaining in traction. To what extent do twenty-first century realities call for a rejection of borders created in centuries past? Are borders inherently exclusionary, biasing, and restrictive? Do borders limit human freedom, creativity, or equality?  Conversely, what is lost by challenging long-standing borders and their cultural and/or institutional representation? Are some borders necessary and useful for meaning, belonging, objectivity, or well-functioning institutions? Does the recent rise of regional and nationalist politics and the rejection of multi- or trans-national institutions (as seen in the voting on Brexit, Catalonian independence, and Donald Trump) constitute a rejection of globalism and a desire for well-defined membership communities? To what extent do political controversies over border control and immigration reflect the contradictions and unresolved conflicts over whether, where, and how to draw and enforce borders? What are the political, institutional, and economic challenges posed by shifting borders (whether due to shifting rivers and melting glaciers or due to policy shifts leading to tough enforcement of once porous borders)? Finally, are some borders (created by language, culture, or positionality) ones that are best acknowledged, explored, and bridged, but not erased? In other words, do human identity and meaning depend in some way upon recognition and respect for the limitations of translation and the uniqueness of identities? Can we both problematize and celebrate these limitations of ours?

This volume seeks to further develop an interdisciplinary theory of the border – drawn from, but not limited to, geography, anthropology, politics, literature, and cultural studies – that can help us reflect on the significance of borders in shaping our understanding of the changing structures of our twenty-first century world, in identifying which borders are hindrances to human progress, which are useful and even necessary, and which are shifting and require new responses.

The editors of intervalla Volume 6 welcome proposals of 300 words, to be sent by January 26, 2018 to Nancy Powers (Kenyon) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Kate Roy (FUS) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Contributors will be notified of proposal acceptance by 10 February 2018, with articles of ca. 6000 words to be submitted by July 20, 2018 for peer review.


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