In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, it seems apropos to speak of walls. Yes, walls. In the current political climate, walls divide and separate. They draw the line between ‘us’ and ‘them’. In everyday life, they delineate and create the spaces we inhabit. Yet, these divisions are not always necessarily physical. In mainland China, for example, the Great Firewall restricts access to the internet. Abroad we might find it difficult to communicate because of the language barrier. In effect, it seems that walls stand between us and others, between us and the outside world.
In art and literature, however, walls sometimes come to stand for something else. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” they come to criticize and denounce the rest cure and the patriarchy. In Virginia Woolf’s “The Mark on the Wall” they are the springboard for philosophical meditations. Whereas, in Finnegans Wake, Humpty Dumpty’s fall is in many ways the catalyst for James Joyce’s archetypal, kaleidoscopic, polyphonic, multilingual, and cyclical rewriting of history. In visual art, walls become the medium. With the application of paint or of plaster, walls are turned into murals and frescoes. In Mexico, for example, the politically charged murals of Los Tres Grandes unified people in the aftermath of the revolution. Despite appearing mundane and uninspiring, walls have symbolic value in political, religious, cultural, and artistic spheres.
In this issue of FORUM we seek and encourage contributions which engage with the concept of walls in its largest expression. We invite you to think about physical walls, psychological hurdles, and invisible barriers, whether they separate and divide or bring people together.
Papers must be between 3000 to 5000 words in length, formatted according to MLA guidelines.
FORUM is also considering academic book reviews (1,250 words) and multimedia or alternative presentations for publication.
Please e-mail your article, a short abstract, and your academic CV in separate, clearly labelled .doc(x) files to [email protected] or submit through our website by 15 February, 2019. All eligible articles will be peer reviewed prior to publication. Only one submission per author per issue is permitted.