Walls that Bridge; or, What We Can Learn from the Roman Walls



Abstract

Giorgio Mariani
University of Rome “La Sapienza”
Italy

Walls that Bridge;
or, What We Can Learn from the Roman Walls

Abstract: When, during the latest US electoral campaign, Pope Francis criticized Trump’s idea of building a wall between Mexico and the US, reiterating his favorite  point that “we do not need to build walls, but bridges,” the Trump camp retorted that the Pope lives in a city state surrounded by walls, in a city itself surrounded by other walls dating back to ancient Roman times. Why wasn't he concerned with those walls? As one can see, even though Roman walls have completely lost their original function and survive mainly as tourist sites, they also remain powerful political and cultural symbols. The scope of this essay is to offer, from the perspective of an Americanist who was born and raised in Rome, some comparative reflections on  what we can learn today from the history of Roman walls, as well as from their symbolic afterlives.

Keywords: Roman walls, walls as rhetoric, US literature, walls as bridges, walls as dividers


Keywords

Roman walls; walls as rhetoric; US literature; walls as bridges; walls as dividers

“Aurelian Wall Taxi Question.” Tripadvisor. www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187791-

i22-k5043877-Aurelian_Wall_Taxi_Question-Rome_Lazio.html

Bever, Lindsey. “Pope Francis — Not Naming Names — Makes Appeal ‘Not to Create Walls, But to Build Bridges,’” The Washington Post. www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/02/08/after-trumps-immigration-ban-pope-francis-prays-for-migrants-and-refugees/?utm_term=.040a75e20855.

Borges, Jorge Luis. Nueve ensayos dantescos. Espasa-Calpe, 1982.

Del Monaco, Anna Irene. Città e Limes: Roma – Beijing – New York. Kindle ed., Nuova Cultura, 2012.

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976.

Esposito, Roberto. Communitas: the Origin and Destiny of Community. Stanford University Press, 2010.

Esposito, Roberto, Timothy Campbell, and Anna Paparcone. “Interview.” Diacritics, vol. 36, no. 2, 2006, pp. 49-56.

Esposito, Roberto and Zygmunt Bauman. “La comunità ai tempi della modernità liquida.” Micromega, 3, 2017, Kindle ed.

“EU ‘turning blind eye’ to migrant abuses in Libya: UN.”

www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/09/09/eu-turning-blind-eye-migrant-abuses-libya-un.

Faulkner, Neil. “The Official Truth: Propaganda in the Roman Empire.”

www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/romanpropaganda_article_01.shtml

Frost, Robert. The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged. Edited by Edward C. Lathem, Holt, 1969.

Fusaro, Diego. “Migranti, abbattere i muri e creare i ponti è sempre un bene? Il caso francese.” Il fatto quotidiano, Jun. 20, 2015. www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2015/06/20/migranti-abbattere-i-muri-e-creare-i-ponti-e-sempre-bene-il-caso-francese/1798557/

Gottlieb, Susannah Young-ah. “The Fallen Empire.” Auden at Work, edited by Bonnie Costello and Rachel Galvin, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 156-178.

James, William. The Principles of Psychology. Harvard University Press, 1981.

La Pira, Giorgio. www.giorgiolapira.org/en/content/breaking-down-walls-building-bridges.

Meiattini, Giulio. “Ci servono porte. A proposito di accoglienza.” Settimo Cielo. Mar. 27, 2017.

magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2017/03/27/ne-muri-ne-ponti-per-i-migranti-ma-porte-per-aprire-e-per-chiudere-con-discernimento/

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. Edited by John Bryant and Haskell Springer, Longman, 2017.

“Milliarium Aureum.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milliarium_Aureum

Plutarch. “The Life of Romulus,” in Parallel Lives. penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/e/roman/texts/plutarch/lives/romulus*.html.

Poirier, Richard. Robert Frost. The Work of Knowing. Stanford University Press, 1977.

Portelli, Alessandro. “The sky’s the limit. Dove comincia e dove finisce l’America.” Ácoma. Rivista internazionale di studi nord-americani. 1, 1994, pp. 8-18.

Pratt, Mary L. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. Routledge, 1992.

Rosada, Guido. La Città nell'Italia settentrionale in étà romana. Morfologia, strutture e funzionamento dei centri urbani delle Regiones X e XI. Atti del convegno di Trieste (13-15 marzo 1987). École Française de Rome, 1990, pp. 365-409. www.persee.fr/doc/efr_0000-0000_1990_act_130_1_3845

“Sack of Rome.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Rome.

White, Richard. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Žižek, Slavoj. Against the Double Blackmail: Refugees, Terror and Other Troubles with the Neighbours. Penguin, 2017.


Published : 2018-06-30


MarianiG. (2018). Walls that Bridge; or, What We Can Learn from the Roman Walls. Review of International American Studies, 11(1). Retrieved from https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RIAS/article/view/6384

Giorgio Mariani  giorgio.mariani@uniroma1.it
University of Rome “La Sapienza” Italy  Italy

Giorgio Mariani teaches American literature at the Sapienza University of Rome, where he directs the doctoral program in Sciences of the Text. The immediate past president of IASA, his research interests have focused on nineteenth century American literature, on contemporary American Indian literature, on the literary representation of war and peace. He is a co-editor of the Italian journal of American studies, Ácoma, and was recently appointed editor-in-chief of RIAS, The Review of International American Studies. He is the author, editor, and co-editor of several volumes. His most recent book is Waging War on War. Peacefighting in American Literature (U of Illinois Press, 2015).





The Copyright Holder of the submitted text is the Author. The Reader is granted the rights to use the material available in the RIAS websites and pdf documents under the provisions of the Creative CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0). Any commercial use requires separate written agreement with the Author and a proper credit line indicating the source of the original publication in RIAS.