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Territories: A Trans-Cultural Journal of Regional Studies

Number 2 | Issue 2

“New Borders for Old Nations: The Global Paradox”

As we move deeper into Europe’s 21st Century, the prevailing socio-political model centering on the “nation-state” appears to be one of the guiding terms for complicating—rather than clarifying— discourses of community and sovereignty. No longer contained to long-standing pro-independence  regions (such as Scotland or Catalunya), but also entering into trouble when locating counterdependence movements (such as Brexit) the region—however one comes to define it outside the dominant political order—comes to the fore as the central affective, economic, social, historical, and/or intellectual term that guides public and academic discourses. The Covid-19 disruption has accelerated the unveiling of the limits of the federal government in the US—with clear reverberations toward the transcendental philosophers of the late 18th century—relying on disaggregated approaches by governors and coalitions of sub-national organization to enact the policies and management of resources, amid the national feelings. In other words, the ways we constitute units of self-determination and communities of like-mindedness present themselves against the backdrop of the old nation-state as radically unstable, more imaginary than imagined (to borrow with apologies to Benedict Anderson) in the most potent of ways.

The visibility of “minor” and “small” regions and territories is a mixture of present-becoming and diffusion, producing conflicting and sometimes even contradictory effects. The efforts of Catalunya (as merely a recent, energetic example) toward the instantiation as its own republic has been defined by the hypersensitive (even hysterical) reaction of Spain, the nominal and aged nation-state regime. As a kingdom that became an empire, which then suffered sudden decay in 1898, Spain cannot— and will not—let a republic that represents such opposite and antagonistic values as Catalunya to flourish, as this would entail the reimagination of its (Spain’s) identity in every conceivable way. Likewise, and in entirely banal administrative terms that flourish under so-called rational arguments, Catalonian independence would require the bureaucratic redefinition of the nation-state in the recreation of its borders between the Mediterranean region and the Castilian inland. Yet, taking seriously both situations simultaneously could be the perfect nodal point to flip the debate around what a border is, how is it constituted, and how it operates not only in political but also social, economic, and cultural terms. Moreover, in more global terms, the disruption of Covid-19 has brought into being a series of crises that were previously unthinkable on their own—much less all taken together—that have transformed basic political and social routines. The exploitation of these changes for political gains promises to mark the future. Does the nation-state cling to its own diminishing ruling legitimacy while the virus illustrates the utter impossibility and total permeability of its borders, and so threaten extra-national regions with ruin while autonomous regions may well weather the storm by banding together and forming communities of care and mutual aid?

These issues are global and local, macro and micro. This issue in particular aims to polemicize the encounter between the older nation-states, mainly those of Europe, and new or emerging concepts of borders and boundaries. Thus, it seeks to shine a light on an especially challenging moment for a European Union that always struggled with the crystallization of its political dimension, while the ascendant economic development has followed (at least in the near term of the past) mainly neoliberal policies (i.e. the failed Grexit process). In addition, the issue would like to explore the utopic/dystopic scenarios that the current situation draws at global and local. In this expansive vision, we welcome essays that deal with, but are not limited to any of the following broad topics:

Political Philosophy

Regional Studies

Urban Studies

Economical Philosophy

Ecocritical Studies

Comparative Literature

European Studies

Rhetoric and Composition

Political Science

Continental Philosophy

Subaltern Studies

Border Literature

Transitional Justice

History and Historiography

Critical Studies

Utopian Studies

The submission of the papers should be done via the Territorieswebsite. Standard essays should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words(inclusive of notes and bibliographic information). In addition to article-length pieces, Territories is interested in accepting a selection of shorter, incisive, and/or suggestive pieces between 1,500 and 3,000 wordsfor a section that seeks to open up new questions in this discussion. Formatting and submission guidelines are found on the Territories website. Questions may be sent to the editor directly

Deadline 15th September 2020