Critical Border Studies Research School 2022: Displacement and Expulsion

A radical historicization shows that there is a link between borders in the Global North and the unsettling of communities in the Global South. It also shows that the current border regime is part of a larger and older project of colonial accumulation by displacement and expulsion; stealing wealth, labour force and time. 

This Research School will focus on the historical and ongoing practices of displacement and expulsion, which not only take place across state borders but also include local practices targeting indigenous people, racialized citizens and the poor. In doing so, we engage with the following questions.

  • What continuities can we identify between past and present forms of expulsion and political and social abandonment?
  • What does the incorporation of the past and present colonial order have to offer to our analysis of different intersecting bordering practices? 
  • What mechanisms are behind the spatial and temporal stretching of expulsion that expels people from the sphere of rights?
  • How do bordering practices shape specific ways of knowing about displacement and expulsion?
  • How can we study borders and bordering practices without becoming complicit with the world that has produced them? 
  • What alternative ways are there to imagine the world beyond the territorial trap of the nation state? 

The five-day program of the RS will offer collective interventions into the debate on these and more related questions.  

Structure and pedagogical approach

Inspired by ideals of transformative pedagogy, this summer school aims to fundamentally rethink the question of participation and learning within and through academia. We do so by de-centering knowledge as a practice of the professional scholar, centering instead on excitement as the prerequisite of effective and lasting learning. Creating such a learning environment entails genuinely valuing everyone’s presence and participation, and insisting on the emancipatory potential of theory while working through story-telling and dialogue.  

Instead of conventional teaching elements such as lectures, seminars and workshops, the research school will be organised in four collective discussion sittings. Each sitting will be organised around a specific theme: materialities, hi/stories, geographies, and ruination. You can read more about each theme below. Each day will be dedicated to a theme. The overall aim of each sitting is to explore the connective links of these thematic constellations. In undoing the academic manners of exploration and teaching, our collective sittings open for the expression of vulnerable tones, stubborn refusals, looming frustrations, hesitant utterances and all other manners of thinking, analysing and discussing that would otherwise not fly in conventional academic teaching and learning settings.  

The participants choose which theme they would like to work with prior to the school. They will form a group with two of the organizers to plan together the format and content of the day dedicated to the theme. The collective sittings will be from 3 pm to 8 pm including dinner. The rest of the day can be used for preparation of the sittings, food or free outdoor activities such as swimming, biking, running or walking. Our aim is to run a school that is inclusive of those who want to be accompanied by their partners and children. We will be living together for six days and prepare some of the meals together.  

Venue

The summer school will take place in Stockholm. 

Participation, registration, and deadline

Participants are expected to participate in the entire program for the duration of six days. Applicants are asked to submit the following information no later than February 28, 2022 by sending an email to rs[at]criticalborderstudies.com

  • A one-page cover letter including name, affiliation, contact information and stating their reasons for applying to the summer school, an expression of interest for which theme they want to work directly on and their expectations.
  • A brief description of their research project (500 words)
  • CV (max. 2 pages)

Doctoral students who wish to obtain credits for attending the school can submit a reflection paper (4000 words) after the summer school, building on discussions and references from the collective sittings. The research school offers 5 ECTS for this event.

Fees

The tuition fee is €150. This includes accommodation, subsistence costs (i.e. lunches and evening meals, etc). Travel expenses are not included. There is a possibility to apply for funding that would cover the travel costs (transportation, visa, etc.) for a few applicants based in the Global South. 

Organizers 

The research school is organized by: 

Fataneh Farahani, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Stockholm University 

Mahmoud Keshavarz, HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design, Gothenburg University 

Shahram Khosravi, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Annika Lindberg, School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University 

Amin Parsa, Sociology of Law Department, Lund University 

Theme descriptions

Each sitting explores a specific theme. These are meant to serve as knowledge bases through which we can conduct our conversations, rather than enforced shared points of departure. Participants will, together with the organizers, partake in the planning of the structure and content of each themed sitting.

Materialities

The recent expansion of technologies and materials used to fortify the world, and to sort and index humans and their right to move and reside freely into various categories, have caught the attention of many scholars, activists and those who want to understand and change such mechanisms. On this day, we will focus on materials and materialities as methods for tracing these processes, which have always been part of the violent histories of expulsion and displacement. Materials and materialities shape our imagination about the world and its possibilities for residence, access and movement. By looking into how these materialities operate, and the connections and disconnections they make in different parts of the world, we may move beyond the hegemonic and state-centric approaches to technology which locate politicians, tech companies and academic researchers as the experts on the matter. This may help us to think of the fragile material improvisations by the oppressed in the everyday violence of expulsion as survival strategies. It also points to possible imaginations of how the world could be made and experienced otherwise.

Hi/stories

Bordering processes devise and structure knowledge production, delineating what can be known, whose perspectives matter, and whose stories are made into matters of history. Therefore, borders also silence, erase and refute other ways of knowing and being in the world. On this day, we engage critically with the mainstream hi/stories told and circulated in public discourse, media, art and academia, which tend to produce state-centric, hegemonic representations of borders and displacement. Instead, we approach borders ‘from below’. We read fiction, poetry, ghost stories, and tales of everyday experiences, struggles and desires forged in a bordered world, and discuss how these different forms of storytelling can challenge hegemonic understandings of borders.

RuiNation

Borders are ruins of the nation-state system. It does not mean that they are abandoned or have lost their function (as the definition of ruins tells us). To approach borders as ruins is a tactical move to construct alternative imaginaries of nation-states. Rather than material constructions, borders-as-ruins is about the politics of imagination and imaginative politics. The vision of borders as sites of ruin challenges the timeless and planned nation-state model of organizing humanity. Borders-as-ruins unsettles us and generates alternative ideas. As a method, ruination offers not only a way to see borders from a different point of view than that of states, but it also offers a counter narrative to the otherwise taken-for-granted narrative of the nation-state system as a progress in history. This day will focus on the violence of ruination.  RuiNation is both spatial and temporal practice: it is spatial in terms of its destruction of habitations that result in displacement, and temporal in terms of its denial of coevalness resulting in expulsion. As such, l ruination offers us multiple engagements with expulsion and displacement. 

Geographies

Past and present colonial and patriarchal relations permeate unequal geographies of (im)mobility and infuse certain forms of knowing, describing, understanding, and imagining the world. The gendered and racialized bodies and sexual politics have continuously been written and represented as tied to certain places and geographies. On this day, we pay attention to how individuals and/or various social groups experience places as inclusive or exclusive. We will open up for varieties of scholarly, literary and artistic narratives that engage with different aspects of limited and limiting spatial and temporal (i)mobility. By exploring constructions of place, borders and socio-spatiality through an intersectional lens, we will explore how shifting and entangled power relations cause (im)mobility as well as porosity of borders. This enables us to examine how and in what ways particular time-spaces are codified as unsafe for certain bodies to pass through, and how different individuals embody distress/agony or disorder in specific times and places. Our aim is to cultivate a plural border epistemology beyond the politics of expertise, ignorance and epistemological oversights in the Eurocentric field of border and migration studies.

You can download a pdf of the call here.