Date of Submission
Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)
Professor Rosalia Romero
Professor Paul Hurley
2023 Alexis E. Gero
After centuries of British intervention and a bloody late-twentieth century conflict, Northern Ireland remains one of the most contested territories in the world. Throughout the twentieth century, Northern Irish muralism constituted the fundamental mode of expression for community sentiment both within and across internal borders. The unique materiality and ephemerality of murals make them ideal for this artistic expression which plays an integral role in the development of a liberal society. This thesis seeks to understand how murals in Northern Ireland have formed internal borders, as well serve a communicative function in the consolidation of the Northern Irish Republican political body. An evolution in Northern Irish muralism is identified in examining two case studies of Republican murals in Belfast: 1980s murals on Beechmount Avenue and 2010s murals on the International Wall. These case studies demonstrate a political and artistic shift, as the murals went from hyper-local community speech to a tourist attraction addressing global sociopolitical issues. However, the border dynamics of Northern Ireland have remained largely the same, as murals continue to reinforce rather than transcend internal borders. The border identities of Northern Ireland differ from that of the dominant border studies archetype, so this case study provides an opportunity to expand the discipline. Finally, in connecting literature on Northern Irish muralism, border studies, and philosophy, this thesis serves as a model of interdisciplinary exploration which grounds abstract concepts in art historical developments.
Gero, Alexis, "When Walls Could Talk: Republican Murals as Internal Borders in Northern Ireland" (2023). CMC Senior Theses. 3253.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.