Global migrations in the borderlands: navigating policy, jurisdiction, and zones of sovereignty

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Global migrations in the borderlands: navigating policy, jurisdiction, and zones of sovereignty

By Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy

When and where

Date and time

Thu, Mar 21, 2019 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM EDT


Boardroom, Observatory Site 315 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON Canada


This talk presents research on global migration through contested border-crossings where people navigate policy, jurisdiction, and sovereignty. Mapping geographies of asylum-seeking and border enforcement reveals the creative interplay between geography, law, and public policy. While states of the Global North contain and manage human mobility by intercepting people and ships en route to their shores, people migrating from locations in the Global South must work creatively to gain access to asylum. The borderlands render legible contemporary trends and forces of global migration: the intended and unintended effects of public policy, intensified precarity, innovative technologies of interception and detention, struggles over access, debates about humanitarianism and policy design, and shifting geographies of enforcement. Islands emerge as carceral spaces within the borderlands that reflect, refract and portend the future of global migration. Islands thus serve as locus where people and enforcement circulate between Global North and South, demanding that migration scholars pay more attention to the histories and haunting afterlives of enforcement archipelagoes.

Alison Mountz
is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Migration at the Balsillie School of International Affairs at Laurier University. Her work explores how people cross borders and access migration and asylum policies. She researches the tension between the decisions, desires, and displacements that drive migration and the policies and practices designed to manage migration. She analyzes geographies of political asylum and detention, including recent research on islands and US war resister migration to Canada, asking how people seek, find, and forge safe haven. Her monograph, Seeking Asylum: Human Smuggling and Bureaucracy at the Border (Minnesota), was awarded the Meridian Book Prize from the Association of American Geographers. She recently published Boats, Borders, and Bases: Race, the Cold War, and the Rise of Migration Detention in the United States (California, with Jenna Loyd). Mountz directs Laurier's International Migration Research Centre and edits the journal Politics & Space. She was the 2015-2016 Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at Harvard University and is a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

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