Call for Submissions

Deadline: Sep. 15, 2022

Walls, Bridges, Borders in the Americas

The electronic journal fiar, the forum for inter-american research invite scholars to submit articles (in English, Spanish or Portuguese) for a special issue: “Walls, Bridges, Borders in the Americas,” edited by José Carlos Lozano. 

Borders between modern nation/states in the Americas have always been porous and flexible, with nationals moving from one country to another—with or without documents—to flee poverty, violence, political instability, failing economic systems or just to seek better jobs. Recently, these border crossings have significantly increased, while, at the same time political forces such as nationalist and conservative movements in the receiving countries have emerged or expanded, adopting ever more confrontational (and even more violent) tactics, a situation similar to what has been happening in other regions of the world. 

Borders in the Americas separate but also allow for contact and multiple exchanges between nation states. They are set to contain people and goods from leaving one country and entering another. Yet they also make international trade, tourism, and commerce possible. Likewise, trans-border contact promotes cultural and linguistic exchanges.

Mass migration has been exacerbated in different parts of the Americas—particularly Central America and South America—due to extreme violence, the violation of human rights, and economic crises. Thousands of people have fled their countries, some trying to reach the United States requesting entrance as refugees, while others have moved to other Latin American countries (for example, Venezuelans migrating to Colombia, Brazil, Peru, or Ecuador, or Haitians relocating to Chile, Brazil, Mexico or the US). Humanitarian crises are on the rise due to increasingly harsh conditions along the migration routes. Meanwhile, the governments of receiving countries have demonstrated a general lack of interest in protecting migrants from discrimination and criminalization. As such, migrants often struggle to obtain the rights to asylum and due process—or even to be treated with basic dignity.

Migrants able to settle in other countries typically maintain some of their most enduring traditions, values, language, and customs, creating symbolic and spatial territories while typically assimilating or adopting varying cultural elements of their new homes. 

Nevertheless, borders are not only defined by documented or undocumented migration patterns. Millions of people living permanently on the fringes of their nation-states, interact on a daily basis with citizens of the neighboring countries. As well, people who many times are closer to them on ethnic, linguistic, and cultural grounds than fellow countrymen find comfort in these new circumstances even though they are living far away from the original political boundary. The fluid and intense social, economic, and cultural interaction between people living in the borderlands results in liminal spaces where multiple cultures and sub-cultures co-exist either producing hybrid cultural manifestations (as argued by Garcia Canclini) or maintaining the core of their customs and beliefs while interacting in complex multicultural arenas (as pointed out by Giménez). Everything from language, religion, literature, music, and media is impacted by this daily interplay of contrasting cultural forces subject to political and economic systems that frequently pull in different directions.

In this special issue, we invite contributions discussing questions about 

  • What kind of advantages can Inter-American approaches bring to the understanding of migration patterns, cultural and economic exchanges, geographic and demographic issues as well as political divisions and conjunctions about borders between countries in the Americas?
  • How can new research contribute to the understanding of the role of borders and cross-border flows in the regional context of the Americas? 
  • What kind of policies should be adopted by governments and NGO’s to promote peace and human rights, to respect cultural differences, to facilitate cultural and economic exchanges, and to confront extreme violence and human trafficking?
  • What are the distinctive processes of border-making in the Americas—past and present?
  • How can we (re)define political, geographical, territorial, cultural, and symbolic borders in the Americas?
  • What can we learn by looking into their historical development and the cultural and social entanglements that have characterized them?
  • What are the distinctive cultural traits of the people living on the fringes of their nation states? 
  • What are the linguistic, social, and cultural differences of border regions in the Americas in contrast with their respective national cultures?
  • How have artistic cultural expressions represented walls, bridges, and borders in their cultural production such as literature, films, paintings, drawings, music, theater, and so forth?

Guidelines: Authors who wish to contribute to the special issue are invited to send an abstract (maximum 500 words) including the title, authors and institutional affiliation to carlos.lozano@tamiu.edu by the deadline: September 15th, 2022. By September 30, you will receive information on the acceptance of your abstract. The complete article must be submitted by the end of January 2023 in a maximum of 7.500-10.000 words (MLA style). Submissions can be made in Spanish, English and Portuguese. This special issue of the FIAR is expected to be published in October 2023. 

The forum for inter-american research (fiar) is the official electronic journal of the International Association of Inter-American Studies. It was established by the American Studies Program at Bielefeld University in 2008. It fosters a dialogic and interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Americas. fiar is a peer-reviewed online journal. Articles in this journal undergo a double-blind review process and are published in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. We do not charge readers or institutions for full text access. The editorial board consists of a broad range of international scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. fiar is ASA, EBSCO and MLA registered. 

Visit fiar at www.interamerica.de