Konturen: Vol 4 (2013)


Up Against the Wall

This issue co-edited by Jeffrey S. Librett and David M. Luebke

Walls around countries provide an oddly anachronistic kind of protection in the age of digital technologies and global flows of information, goods, and populations. Yet such literal nation-state walls are experiencing a kind of world-wide resurgence, a delayed repetition. Twenty odd years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have the continuing work on the US-Mexico border barrier, the Israeli-Palestinian security fence, and similar types of walls between South Africa and Zimbabwe, between Saudi Arabia its neighbors, between India and Pakistan, between China and North Korea, and on and on. The understandable impulse to defend oneself against, and to control, mixing and displacements of nation-state identities and goods in the age of globalization leads, however, to mixed and contradictory results. On the one hand, this impulse creates sites of control over cross-border flows. On the other hand, it simply displaces these flows, along with their techniques and technologies: transgression, influence, and effluence reassert themselves on new sites in new ways. In this Special Issue, we examine the phenomenon of nation-state walling along the borders of Germany-France, US-Mexico, Israel-Palestine, and West Germany-East Germany from various disciplinary perspectives.

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