Daniel Meier 2The upcoming issue of Egypte/Monde Arabe is devoted to the topic of borders following the international Conference entitled “Borders and territorial reconfigurations in the Middle East and the Sahel” organized in Aswan by CEDEJ last January 2017. Our aim is to question the spatial consequences of the “Arab Springs as well as the role of borderlands in a post-2011 context. The Arab protests, which started at the end of 2010, have affected the borders and, in some cases, led to challenge the nation states inherited from the mandates and colonial era.

Conflicts, civil wars, foreign military involvements, refugees’ exodus, proclamation of a caliphate, and insecurity at the borderlands are less contributing to a redefinition of the MENA’s map but rather undermining borders as a spatial limitation on where state sovereignty operates. We are talking about an enlarged and reshaped region because the Sahelo-Saharan border areas, particularly those in Mali, Nigeria or Cameroun are also moving because of a new cycle triggered by the collapse of Kadhafi’s regime in 2011 and the rise of jihadist movements like AQIM, Ansar ed dine, or Boko Haram. Foreign military involvements and the use of mercenaries are widespread; many peripheral and border zones, which are economically marginalized and deserted by the states’ development policies, have become the haven of smugglers.

This issue aims to explore this turn in the Middle East and the Sahel: 5 years after the birth of the South Soudan state and the beginning of the Arab uprisings, what changes have occurred with respect to borders and territories? What kind of current territorial changes are in process and how to conceptualize them? Can we observe a renegotiation of relations between states, societies and territories at the borderlands? How are these reshaped spaces and borderlands managed, on both micro and macro scales? Which actors are competing and operating within them, and which polarized political and administrative visions and logics are deployed? What different territorial imaginaries are evoked?

This issue of Egypte/Monde Arabe will focus on a specific geographical area including the Sahel. It will give special attention to de/re-territorialization process and the administration of spaces more than the transgression of borders. One of the objectives is to identify processes that are remodeling spaces on the short and long term.

Our goal is to link work on the MENA region and the Sahelo-Saharan region in order to overcome the usual divide between sub-Saharan Africa on one side and North Africa-Middle East on the other. History and current events remind us that this division is artificial, especially considering Egypt.

Contributors, experts of the Arab world and Sub-Saharan Africa from various disciplines are invited to provide keys to understand the current territorial changes. This special issue welcomes young and established researchers, theoretical and empirical work, contemporary and historical perspectives.

Contributions can be sent in English or French, papers should count between 20,000 and 40,000 characters. For editorial norms, please refer to authors’ instructions on this page.

Articles should be sent, along with proposed title, a 150 word abstract and a biographical note (affiliation, contact details, etc.) to karine.bennafla@cedej-eg.org and daniel.meier@graduateinstitute.ch

Deadline for submission of complete articles: June 1st, 2017

Peer-review and revisions: mid-July 2017

Publication: December 2017

Download the call for papers