Call for Papers – Borders, Walls and Violence (June 2016)

En passant

Call for Papers  

Borders, Walls and Violence
Costs and Alternatives to Border Fencing 

International conference organized by the Raoul Dandurand Chair at the University of Quebec at Montreal

June 1-3, 2016
Montreal, Quebec, Canada



More border walls and border fences are being built every year all across the world. Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, and Tunisia are among the latest to announce yet another border fence. Twenty-five years ago it was believed that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reconfiguration of international relations would open an age of globalization in which States would become obsolete, ushering in a world without borders. In the wake of 9/11, however, borders came back in light, new borders were created and new border walls erected. In the wake of the Arab Spring, came even more border barriers and walls, symbols that were thought to have disappeared with the collapse of the bipolar international system. Today, they reinforce borderlines the world over, transforming both soft and semi-permeable borders alike into sealed, exclusionary hard borders. Walls are symbols of identity reaffirmation, markers of State sovereignty, instruments of dissociation, locus of a growing violence.


Fields: Political Science, Geography, Anthropology, Sociology, Law, Economics, Art, Design, Biology, Environmental studies, Area Studies, Gender studies, Zoology, Medical studies (this list is intended to be suggestive rather than inclusive).

Organizers/Scientific Committee: Élisabeth Vallet (Raoul-Dandurand Chair UQAM – Canada), Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary (Geography, Université Joseph Fourier – France), Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly (Borders in Globalization, University of Victoria – Canada), Reece Jones (Geography, University of Hawaii – USA), Kenneth D. Madsen (Geography, The Ohio State University – USA), Said Saddiki (Law, Al-Ain University of Science and Technology – UAE)

Students are especially encouraged to submit a proposal.

Conference Theme:
This conference seeks to understand border walls as a global trend in International Relations. As a growing number of walls are being built along international borders and as migrants and inhabitants of those borderlands are experimenting more and more violence, we seek to understand the local perspectives and views on border fences and replace it in a multiscalar perspectives in order to see if there are viable alternatives to fences and security approaches. How much do they cost (both monetary and socially) ? How well do they work ? How do they affect borderlands? How are security discourses shaping the landscape to build border walls ?

In a globalized world in which interdependence is viewed as a necessity and the norm, border walls appear to be things of the past, obsolete manifestations of the institution of State. Nevertheless, walls have been spreading steadily since the end of the Cold War. And the boom in wall-building after the attack on the World Trade Center actually has its roots, at least attitudinally, in the pre-9/11 period, for the walls derive not from a specific fear of terrorism but rather from the global insecurity bred by globalization. Paradoxically, in a security-conscious world, globalization has led not to the elimination of borders but rather to the recomposition of territory and the erection of new “ramparts”. The wall has become a solution to the quest for security of the State, the boundaries of which never truly disappeared, a solution sublimated through an increasingly security-centric discourse in the wake of 9/11, and further fueled by post-Arab Spring events.


Participants are encouraged to critically examine the role of border walls in security discourses and in the framing of the local political and sociological landscape to consider some of the following themes:

Theme 1. Impacts of border walls

Theme 2. Legal aspects of border walls
Theme 3. Costs and economies of border walls
Theme 4. Violence of border walls
Theme 5. Alternatives to border walls
Deadline for abstract submission: October 5, 2015
(for both panel sessions and poster sessions)

Please note that papers may be considered for both panel sessions AND poster sessions.
Proposal: 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 (approx. 300 words)
Languages: Proposals can be submitted in French, English and Spanish. However the conference will be held in English and French.

Conference Dates and Deadlines:

      • Oct.5, 2015 : deadline for submitting abstracts and proposals
      • Dec.2015 : proposals selection and notification sent to presenters
      • March 31, 2015 : submission of papers to discussants
      • May 2016 (25-26 to be confirmed) : Conference to be held in Montreal.

Send your proposals via email in Word format to Élisabeth Vallet at UQAM: