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The political aesthetics of boundaries and crossings

This interdisciplinary volume explores the role of images and representation in different borderscapes. It provides fresh insight into the ways in which borders, borderscapes and migration are imagined and narrated by offering new ways to approach the political aesthetics of the border. The case studies in the volume contribute to the methodological renewal of border studies and present ways of discussing cultural representations of borders and related processes. The case studies address the role of borders in narrative and images in literary texts, political and popular imagery, surveillance data, video art and survivor testimonies in a highly comparative range of geographical contexts ranging from northern Europe, via Mediterranean and Mexican–US borderlands to Chinese borderlands. The disciplinary approaches include critical theory, literary studies, social anthropology, media studies and political geography. The volume argues that borderlands and border-crossings (such as those by migrants) are present in public discourse and more private, everyday experience. This volume addresses their mediation through various stories, photographs, films and other forms. It suggests that narratives and images are part of the borderscapes in which border-crossings and bordering processes take place, contributing to the negotiation of borders in the public sphere. As the case studies show, narratives and images enable identifying various top-down and bottom-up discourses to be heard and make visible different minority groups and constituencies.

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The topos of/for a post-politics of images?
Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary

Introduction In 2014, the artist Adrien Missika flew a small drone across the border connecting the United States to – and separating it from – Mexico. By editing together the footage he had collected, the artist produced a video entitled As the Coyote Flies (Missika, 2014b , see Figure 7.1 ), the central element of an installation entitled Amexica presented at the Swiss Cultural Centre in Paris in 2014 (Missika, 2014a ). ‘Coyote’ is both the desert fox in Spanish and the name that is given to the smugglers on the

in Border images, border narratives
Open Access (free)
Postcolonial governance and the policing of family
Author: Joe Turner

Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.

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Legal cartographies of migration and mobility: Ayelet Shachar in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers
Author: Ayelet Shachar

The border is one of the most urgent issues of our times. We tend to think of a border as a static line, but recent bordering techniques have broken away from the map, as governments have developed legal tools to limit the rights of migrants before and after they enter a country’s territory. The consequent detachment of state power from any fixed geographical marker has created a new paradigm: the shifting border, an adjustable legal construct untethered in space. This transformation upsets our assumptions about waning sovereignty, while also revealing the limits of the populist push toward border-fortification. At the same time, it presents a tremendous opportunity to rethink states’ responsibilities to migrants. This book proposes a new, functional approach to human mobility and access to membership in a world where borders, like people, have the capacity to move.

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Law, race and empire
Author: Nadine El-Enany

(B)ordering Britain argues that Britain is the spoils of empire, its immigration law is colonial violence and irregular immigration is anti-colonial resistance. In announcing itself as post-colonial through immigration and nationality laws passed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Britain cut itself off symbolically and physically from its colonies and the Commonwealth, taking with it what it had plundered. This imperial vanishing act cast Britain’s colonial history into the shadows. The British Empire, about which Britons know little, can be remembered fondly as a moment of past glory, as a gift once given to the world. Meanwhile immigration laws are justified on the basis that they keep the undeserving hordes out. In fact, immigration laws are acts of colonial seizure and violence. They obstruct the vast majority of racialised people from accessing wealth amassed in the course of colonial conquest. Regardless of what the law, media and political discourse dictate, people with personal, ancestral or geographical links to colonialism, or those existing under the weight of its legacy of race and racism, have every right to come to Britain and take back what is theirs.

New theoretical directions

Materiality has long been tied to the political projects of nationalism and capitalism. But how are we to rethink borders in this context? Is the border the limit where the capitalist nation-state, contested and re-created at its centre, becomes fixed? Or is it something else? Is the border something, or does it instead do things? This volume brings questions of materiality to bear specifically on the study of borders. These questions address specifically the shift from ontology to process in thinking about borders. The political materialities of borders does not presume the material aspect of borders but rather explores the ways in which any such materiality comes into being. Through ethnographic and philosophical explorations of the ontology of borders and its limitations from the perspective of materiality, this volume seeks to throw light on the interaction between the materiality of state borders and the non-material aspects of state-making. This enables a new understanding of borders as productive of the politics of materiality, on which both the state project rests, including its multifarious forms in the post-nation-state era.

Civic reading practice in contemporary American and Canadian writing
Author: Zalfa Feghali

Can reading make us better citizens? This book sheds light on how the act of reading can be mobilised as a powerful civic tool in service of contemporary civil and political struggles for minority recognition, rights, and representation in North America. Crossing borders and queering citizenship reimagines the contours of contemporary citizenship by connecting queer and citizenship theories to the idea of an engaged reading subject. This book offers a new approach to studying the act of reading, theorises reading as an integral element of the basic unit of the state: the citizen. By theorising the act of reading across borders as a civic act that queers citizenship, the book advances an alternative model of belonging through civic readerly engagement. Exploring work by seven US, Mexican, Canadian, and Indigenous authors, including Gloria Anzaldúa, Dorothy Allison, Gregory Scofield, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Erín Moure, Junot Díaz, and Yann Martel, the book offers sensitive interpretations of how reading can create citizenship practices that foreground and value recognition, rights, and representation for all members of a political system.

Ethnic minorities and localities in China’s border encounters with Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam
Victor Konrad and Zhiding Hu

, a massive rush of thousands of Vietnamese crossed daily in an assortment of vehicles and on foot. Today, the crossing ritual still begins precisely at 8 am but film records confirm it is more subdued and managed than previously. Queues for people with and without goods form in Lao Cai before the bridge barrier is lifted. The quickest Vietnamese across the border are assured of more rapid access to begin the day of domestic work, vending or other sanctioned activity in Hekou. After immigration and customs clearance, waiting taxis and motorbikes take the Vietnamese

in Border images, border narratives
Seen and unseen migrants
Stephen F. Wolfe

History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors And issues T.S. Eliot ( 2005 [1920 ]: 402) Introduction In this chapter, I will detail how a group of selected migrant writers from 1950 to 2013 have focused on the experience of border-crossing into the city of London, their collective experience of migrancy within that city and their

in Border images, border narratives
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Legal cartographies of migration and mobility
Ayelet Shachar

From the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall, fortified manifestations of the border have long served as a powerful symbol of sovereignty, real and imagined. 1 In 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall led many to predict that barbed wire and sealed entry gates would become relics of a bygone era. Over a quarter of a century later, we find a very different reality. Today, new walls are erected at an unprecedented pace the world over. 2 Around Spanish enclaves in Morocco, between South Africa and Zimbabwe, India and Bangladesh, Hungary and Turkey, and along the

in The shifting border