Empires and Walls

Globalization, Migration, and Colonial Domination


Why do empires build walls and fences? Are they for defensive purposes only, to keep the ‘barbarians’ at the gate; or do they also function as complex offensive military structures to subjugate and control the colonized? Are the colonized subjects also capable of erecting barriers to shield themselves from colonial onslaughts?

In Empires and Walls Mohammad A. Chaichian meticulously examines the rise and fall of the walls that are no longer around; as well as impending fate of ‘neo-liberal’ barriers that imperial and colonial powers have erected in the new Millennium. Based on four years of extensive historical and field-based research Chaichian provides compelling evidence that regardless of their rationale and functions, walls always signal the fading power of an empire.

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Mohammad A. Chaichian (Ph.D., 1986) is an architect, urban planner, and Professor of Sociology at Mount Mercy University. He is the author of White Racism on the Western Urban Frontier (Africa World Press, 2006), and Town and Country in the Middle East (Lexington, 2009).
List of Photos, Figures and Tables

Foreword by David Fasenfest


1. Walls, Borders and Imperial Formations
Borders, Walls and Globalization


2. Hadrian’s Wall: an Ill-Fated Strategy for Tribal Management in Roman Britain
Geopolitics of Hadrian’s Wall
Why Did Hadrian Build the Wall?
Hadrian’s Wall: Beginning of the End?

3. Red Snake: The Great Wall of Gorgan, Iran
Was the Red Snake a defensive Wall?
The Wall’s Architecture
The Wall’s associated hydraulic structures and functions
The Red Snake as a Yet Unsolved Enigma

4. Clash of Empires: Prelude to the Berlin Wall
The Rise and Fall of the German Empire
Preparing Germans for Occupation, 1945-1947
Emergence of the Two Germanys under Occupation, 1947-1949
Post-War Dependent Development of a Divided and Occupied Germany

5. Build the Wall: The Two German Economies are Now United!
The Wall’s Architecture
Was the Wall a Sign of East Germany’s Weakness?
Concluding Remarks


6. Dismantling the Defensive Wall of the Colonized: The Islamic Hijab in France
The French Colonial Presence in North Africa
French Republicanism and the Problematic “Collective Identity”
Muslim Immigrants in France
Social Spheres and the ‘Maghrebi’ Muslim Identity
Hijab as the Last Defensive Tool of the Colonized


7. An Empire in the Making: American Colonial Interests South of the Border
Migration of Mexicans to the United States
Maquiladoras, NAFTA, and the Evolution of Twin Cities along the U.S.-Mexico Border
The Border is No Longer: Long Live the Border!

8. The Great Offensive Wall of Mexico: Border Blues
Erecting the Offensive Barrier, or ‘The Great Wall of Mexico”
The Fence/Wall Architecture
Is the Border Fence/Wall Effective? Notes from the Field

9. Israel and Palestine: a Settler Colony is Born
Israel: The Birth of a Nation
Advancement of Zionist Settler Colonies in Palestine under British Occupation
Zionist Colonization and the Land Question in Palestine

10. Bantustans, Maquiladoras, and the Separation Barrier Israeli Style
Israel’s First Expansion Phase, 1947-1949
Israel’s Second Expansion Phase, 1949-1967
Israel’s Third Expansion Phase, 1967-1991
The Second Intifada: Prelude to the Wall/Fence
Israel’s Final Expansionist Offensive: The Separation Barrier
The Separation Barrier’s Architecture
The Two Economies Are Now Fully Integrated: Erect the Separation Barrier!
A “Villa in the Jungle”? From Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall’’ to the Separation Barrier

11. Epilogue: Conceptualizing Walls and borders—“Globalization from Within”
Post-Wall Berlin


All interested in the political economy of empires and imperial domination, colonialism, immigration and border control issues; academic and public libraries; architects and planners; academics; and undergraduate and graduate students in social sciences, political economy, and architecture.
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