As we restart the blog from its summer hiatus, we at Border Criminologies would like to review the previous academic year and look forward to the next. Given the hardening of public debate and politics of border control, academic research and intervention in this field is ever more urgently needed. At the same time, however, the possibilities for progressive reforms or reimaginings seem further away than ever. While academics can, and should, to some degree, stand apart from the political context, we must operate within it as well. Even as Border Criminologies remains first and foremost an academic network and website, all of our members engage with policy makers and those subject to border control in various ways. Under current circumstances, and despite this work becoming more and more difficult, the network and website have grown rapidly and continue to evolve as new researchers join in and content is added.

Calais Eurostar (Photo: M. Bosworth)

On the Blog

On the website we ran seven monthly themed weeks last year, organised by a specialist, tackling diverse topics ranging from research methods and the policing of migration to race and border control and the current humanitarian crisis in Greece. The idea behind the themed weeks was to discuss in-depth particular topics and other research and professional issues as well as promote a dialogue between academics, students, and practitioners in the field. This coming academic year we will continue with our monthly themed weeks dealing with the topical issues of human smuggling, staff perspectives, and the industry of illegality. Together with COMPAS, we also ran a series of Friday posts on gender and migration in order to examine the relationship between them and reflect on the role gender plays in the causes and consequences of migration and to explore how migration policy and scholarship is itself gendered and constitutive of gender.

Seminars and Conferences

In the last academic year Border Criminologies hosted a series of speakers from around the world, including Jennifer Chacón (Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine), multidisciplinary artist Tings Chak (Toronto, Canada), Alison Mountz (Professor of Geography, Wilfred Laurier University), Lucia Zedner (Professor of Criminal Justice, University of Oxford), Catherine Dauvernge (Professor of Law, University of British Columbia), Benjamin Goold (Professor of Law, University of British Columbia), and Jane McAdam (Professor of Law, University of New South Wales).

The Leverhulme International Network on External Border Control brought together research groups at the University ofOxford, University of Oslo, and Monash University working on border control to better understand and respond to the challenges posed by mass mobility. The schedule of events of the network included two workshops in Oslo and Oxford in June. Both events were specifically designed to mentor and support emerging interdisciplinary scholars and engage with practitioners. During those events we also celebrated the launch of Oxford Law DPhil alumna Emma Kaufman’s book, Punish and Expel: Border Control, Nationalism, and the New Purpose of the Prison (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Publications

With funding from the Leverhulme International Network on External Border Control, Border Criminologies established the first open access journal on the intersections between criminal justice and migration control. The SSRN Criminal Justice, Borders & Citizenship Research Paper Series currently includes more than one hundred and fifteen papers, freely available to download. The SSRN allows for a wide distribution of papers, thereby increasing the exposure of our research. Each submitted paper is included in up to 12 of SSRN’s 1,000+ subject matter journals across multiple networks, and has publication priority over other non-research paper series submissions. We encourage you to subscribe to the Series and contact us if you’re interested in contributing.

Looking Forward

In the coming weeks we will be moving to a new website, along with the rest of the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Law. The new website will have an updated design and URL, although our existing address will continue to work. The blog will continue to play an important role.

The Border Criminologies group in Oxford is growing. Dominic Aitken is commencing his DPhil on suicide in custody, in which he will compare prison and detention policies. We have also recently been joined by Dr Khadija Carroll who’s working with Mary on the Detention Archive project. This year we are pleased to welcome some of our members to Oxford as academic visitorsVanessa Barker (Stockholm University) is spending her sabbatical year at the Centre for Criminology. Ana Aliverti (University of Warwick) will be here for Hilary term while Ana Ballesteros (University of Barcelona) is visiting in Michaelmas term.

In 2016 we look forward to the publication of a special issue of the journal Criminology & Criminal Justice, edited by Ines, Mary, and Sarah, entitled ‘Punishment, Citizenship and Identity: The Incarceration of Foreign Nationals.’ This issue aims to fill the gap in knowledge about the imprisonment of noncitizens across a number of different geographical areas. It will feature articles by Hindpal Singh Bhui, Carolina Sanchez Boe, Raquel Matos, Agnieszka Martynowicz, Jason Warr, Natália Corazza Padovani and Rimple Mehta. We’re also excited about the publication of Ines’ book, Enduring Uncertainty: Deportation, Punishment and Everyday Life (Berghan Books, 2016). The book presents an innovative ethnography of deportation and deportability experienced by foreign-nationals in England and Wales, contributing to a broader understanding of border control policy and human rights. Finally, in February 2016, the third linked Leverhulme seminar will be held at Monash University, Melbourne. Papers from that event and the two in Oxford and Oslo will, in due course, appear in an edited volume on research methods.

In 2015-16 we welcome Dr Alpa Parmar as a new Associate Director at Border Criminologies. Alpa, who has conducted extensive research into issues of race, ethnicity, and policing in the UK, is working with Mary on a new project on policing migration in the Thames Valley. Together with Mary, she has secured research access to study these matters, and will commence a pilot project in the autumn.

Alpa and Mary are also putting together, with Yolanda Vázquez (University of Cincinnati College of Law), an international symposium on race and border control, details of which we will announce soon, while Khadija is organizing an event on the detention archive. In March 2016, Mary will host Ana Aliverti’s British Academy funded symposium on ‘Criminal justice adjudication in the age of Migration.’ Scheduled for 17 and 18 March 2016, the workshop will bring together leading international scholars and early career researchers from various countries, doctoral students, and British policy-makers and practitioners to shed light on the relevance of citizenship and immigration status in criminal justice decision-making. The workshop will involve presentations of original papers by both established academics and early career researchers working on this area from a broad range of disciplines. It will offer a unique opportunity to share and exchange experiences, ideas, and challenges of conducting research in this area in different jurisdictions within a small, select, and specialised audience. Papers will appear in a special issue of the New Criminal Law Review.

Sarah’s research project, ‘Home and Away: Gender, Nation, Deportation,’ is in its final year. As such, Sarah will be busy with the analysis and writing up. Similarly, Ines will be devoting most of the next year to the analysis of data and writing up the finding of her research project ‘The Postcolonial Prison: Citizenship, Punishment and Mobility.’ Mary has a few new projects starting up. She has just started a small study in Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres on staff culture, in which she will be assisted by Dominic. Mary is also working with Marion Vannier on a comparative piece on France and the UK, with a forthcoming article in a 2016 special issue on Human Rights and Immigration Detention in theEuropean Journal of Migration and Law. Last of all, but really most importantly in terms of news, Andriani will be taking maternity leave in October.

Conclusion

As ever we welcome participation from our Network members. Please send us your ideas for blog posts and more themed weeks. We also invite you to take the opportunity and make your research widely available through the open access platform of our SSRN page. Let us know if you’re passing by Oxford or if we’re attending similar conferences. As the horizon darkens for border control, intellectual cooperation becomes ever more precious. We look forward to continuing to work together.

Best wishes,

Mary, Andriani, Ines, and Sarah