Call for Papers - Workshop on Migration and Contemporary Border Regimes: Sovereignty, Surveillance, Survival


Call for papers is now open for this workshop organised by Uppsala Forum and the Swedish Institute for North American Studies (SINAS), which will take place on 23-24 January, 2020. Last date for submitting an abstract is 1 January 2020.

In Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (2010) Wendy Brown argues that recent worldwide trends to build fences and walls around national territory (e.g. in Israel, India, Hungary, and the US) is driven by the widespread sense of a loss of national sovereignty. As Brown explains, people feel threatened by the actual waning of sovereignty of nations due to different effects of globalization which produces the feeling of losing control. Apart from discursive functions of borders (sovereignty) and the function of state maneuvered forms of control (surveillance), actual border spaces are shaped by social hierarchies, by privileges that some enjoy and others are denied, and by different forms of violence (direct and structural). For those who attempt to cross the border undocumented, the act of crossing can easily turn into a matter of physical suffering and survival. Reece Jones (2016) explains that “… most deaths at borders occur because new enforcement technologies, from walls to drones and high-technology sensors, make the crossing much more difficult and dangerous”. In this sense, “the existence of the border itself produces the violence that surrounds it”. Such suffering, survival and dying – at land borders as well as oceans – tend to be invisible for the broader public and tend to be less represented in mainstream media. Only rarely images of migrants’ and refugees’ dead bodies on the shore of the Mediterranean or the Rio Grande river shock media audiences worldwide.

The interdisciplinary workshop aims to bring scholars from different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences together in order to explore and compare national borderlines and migrant mobility across such borders. The focus will particularly be on those borders that have been re-assessed and re-shaped in more recent times because of new international conflicts (e.g. Russia, Ukraine, India, Pakistan), refugee mobility (e.g. Hungary, Greece, the EU) and intensified nationalisms (e.g. USA, Turkey, EU, Israel), undocumented immigration and crime. How have global migrant mobility, economic globalization, nationalist populism and international crime affected border policies? How have new surveillance technologies transformed border protection and border crossing? How are contemporary (post-9/11 and post 2015) border regimes represented in literature, film, mass media and the arts? As a workshop funded by Uppsala Forum för Demokrati, Fred och Rättvisa that aims at strengthening research networks in migration studies and border studies, we particularly encourage Uppsala University scholars, researchers and PhD-students to participate and to contribute their research on these issues.

Those interested in giving a presentation, please send a title and abstract to by January 1, 2020.

Last modified: 2021-03-16