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Borders, Colonialism and Migration Study Group

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Modes of human mobility and the systems that regulate it have been profoundly shaped by histories of colonialism. Yet, both mainstream policy-oriented studies of migration and critical migration and border studies are haunted by a persistent ‘colonial amnesia’. This study groups aims to address this predicament by rethinking migration and borders under the lens of colonialism and its enduring legacies. It brings insights from different disciplines to explore the racialised violence and colonial hierarchies that are embedded within contemporary border and migration regimes. By doing so, it seeks to consolidate a collective research agenda for those engaged in related work.

The study group will delve into the historical and conceptual layering processes that both ingrained racial categories into the government of human mobility and continuously rework them into putatively race-free migration and refugee systems. It will critically unpack the colonial assumptions underpinning the idea of equal nation-states and citizenship rights that are central to the global organisation of mobility and labour. Finally, it will grapple with the coloniality of our own methods and practices when researching migration and borders and engage with post/decolonial approaches to mobility justice and knowledge production.

During each session, the group will discuss a specific aspect of this overarching theme. The discussion will take inspiration from one/two pre-agreed readings (chosen among the references below) and/or an informal presentation by an invited speaker. The final plan will be concluded in the first meeting according to the group’s backgrounds and research interests.

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