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Law, race and empire

(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

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.

British consuls and colonial connections on China’s western frontiers, 1880–1943

This book tells the story of British imperial agents and their legal powers on the British-Chinese frontiers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It offers new perspectives on the British presence in Yunnan and Xinjiang in western China and the legal connections to the British colonies of India and Burma. It examines how the mobility of people across borders forced consuls to adapt and shape law to accommodate them. Salt and opium smugglers, Indian and Afghan traders, and itinerant local populations exposed the jurisdictional gaps between consular and colonial authority. Local and transfrontier mobility defined and shaped British jurisdiction across the frontier in complex ways. It argues that frontier consular agents played key roles in creating forms of transfrontier legal authority in order to govern these migratory communities. Consular legal practices coexisted alongside, and often took advantage of, other local customs and legal structures. The incorporation of indigenous elites, customary law and Chinese authority was a distinctive feature of frontier administration, with mediation an important element of establishing British authority in a contested legal environment. The book is essential reading for historians of China, the British Empire, and socio-legal historians interested in the role of law in shaping semicolonial and colonial societies.

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7 Borders as ghosts Eleni Myrivili Two chapters in this volume precede and inform, or, I should rather say, ‘haunt’ this piece of writing. One is Sarah Green’s discussion of the ‘border-ness’ of borders, that is, their distinctive quality. Green argues that what is distinct about borders is their quality of creating, embodying, and demonstrating ‘difference’, on both the level of space and that of time (Green, Chapter 5 above). She reads this notion of difference first through the Derridean ‘trace’ and then through Massey’s discussion of difference as intrinsic

in The political materialities of borders

1 EU cross-border Passagenwerk Olivier Thomas Kramsch For us, the solution was in the direction of the horizon. We were those who scrutinised the horizon. We looked forward, not back. To the question, ‘What is thinking?’ we didn’t respond, ‘Being’ [like Heidegger] but with ‘the possible’. (Henri Lefebvre, cited in Hess 1988: 54) Thoughts from a deckchair in Wyler, Germany Walking through the village of Wyler, the last German settlement before the border crossing into the Netherlands, one drifts past cavernous, odoriferous farmhouses, fleeting images of green

in Migrating borders and moving times
The difference of Deleuze and Derrida

4 Ontologies of borders: the difference of Deleuze and Derrida Tuija Pulkkinen This chapter is about the concept of border. I will not approach border as if I was going to conceptualize something that we already empirically know about, and nor will I concentrate solely on geographical and political borders. Instead, I will take a step back and consider border in an abstract sense: as a separation of one into two dissimilar entities. This means that I will take the study of border into the area of philosophy and, in particular, into problems of ontology and

in The political materialities of borders
The 2008 Italy–Libya Friendship Treaty and thereassembling of Fortress Europe

3 Memory as border work: the 2008 Italy–Libya Friendship Treaty and the reassembling of Fortress Europe Chiara De Cesari A border is made real through imagination. (Van Houtum 2012: 412) In this chapter, I examine one peculiar border zone, namely the Mediterranean Sea – and more precisely that stretch of sea extending between Italy and Libya – in order to explore how memory-making contributes to its re-bordering. The cemetery of an astonishing and growing number of migrants and asylum seekers, this stretch of sea has become a symbol of Fortress Europe and of

in The political materialities of borders
Temporality and the crossing of borders in Europe

Migrating borders and moving times explores how crossing borders entails shifting time as well as changing geographical location. Space has long dominated the field of border studies, a prominence which the recent ‘spatial turn’ in social science has reinforced. This book challenges the classic analytical pre-eminence of ‘space’ by focusing on how ‘border time’ is shaped by, shapes and constitutes the borders themselves.

Using original field data from Israel, northern Europe and Europe's south-eastern borders (Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Sarajevo, Lesbos), our contributors explore ‘everyday forms of border temporality’ – the ways in which people through their temporal practices manage, shape, represent and constitute the borders across which they move or at which they are made to halt. In these accounts, which are based on fine-tuned ethnographic research sensitive to historical depth and wider political-economic context and transformation, ‘moving’ is understood not only as mobility but as affect, where borders become not just something to be ‘crossed’ but something that is emotionally experienced and ‘felt’.

6 Materializing the border-as-line in Sarajevo Stef Jansen A border, Sarah Green has written (2009: 6), ‘is not simply a line drawn by the state’. This recurrent point in border studies is echoed in the first chapter of this book (Demetriou and Dimova). Yet we can read this statement in different ways. If, as seems to be the case most frequently, the emphasis is placed on the negative – ‘a border is not a line drawn by the state’ – it urges us to deconstruct notions (a) that borders are drawn by humans over objects (b), that they are best conceived of as lines

in The political materialities of borders