In many ways we live in an increasingly connected world. But there is no denying that, politically, border walls are undergoing a renaissance. Donald Trump will stop at nothing to build his wall between the US and Mexico, while the English Channel in Brexit Britain figuratively divides the UK and the rest of Europe.

This event explores the reasons behind this new wall-building ‘age of Medievalism’ and whether the uncertain political climate has triggered an ancestral impulse that suggests “walls equal safety”. Paul Rogers and Juan Felipe Herrera discuss the history and current obsession with physical and conceptual border walls, asking why we focus on the ways they keep people out, while not acknowledging that they also keep people in.

About The Host

Saeed Khan

Saeed Khan is Senior Lecturer in Near East & Asian Studies and Global Studies at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. He is also the co-founder of the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding, and a panelist on Turning Point for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

About The Speakers

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015 – 2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage, Senegal Taxi, Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems. He was a recipient of the PEN, Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Paul Rogers

Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University, International Security Advisor to the Oxford Research Group and weekly contributor to Open Democracy since September 2001.