As usual, Border Criminologies will shut down for the next few weeks, as we all take some time to rest and recuperate. It is my pleasure to summarize some of our work over the last term and to look ahead to the new academic year.
To state the obvious, 2017 has been a tough year. Studying border control at a time when xenophobic views have reached new levels of institutionalization across the globe is dispiriting at best, and often downright terrifying. Yet, politics also reminds us of the urgency not just of our individual projects, but also of academic work in general. In a world where politicians and the public increasingly demand simple answers, the need for complexity, uncertainty, and debate is ever more apparent.
To that end, members of the wider network have been busy in publishing and dissemination. Marie-Laure Basilien has published a number of articles and book chapters in a wide range of outlets (e.g. see here, here and here). Francesca Esposito has been awarded a grant by Division 35 of the American Psychological Association (the Society for the Psychology of Women) to further her feminist research with women detained inside immigration detention centers in Italy. You can read her blog post on the experiences of professionals working in immigration detention in Italy here.
In September 2017, Mary Bosworth took up the Directorship of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford. She continues to work on immigration detention, however, and, in November 2017 was awarded an ESRC-IAA grant to work with Andriani Fili and Hindpal Bhui on monitoring human rights in detention in Greece and Turkey. Andriani Fili has started her PhD (part-time) at Lancaster University. Her research explores the history and function of Greek immigration detention centres, and through a focus on mapping resistance on the inside and out, will consider their possible futures. Her co-edited book collection Criminal Justice Research in an Era of Mass mobility will be published in the next year in the Routledge Studies in Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship (co-edited with Rebecca Powell and Synnove Jahnsen). This book has its roots in an International Leverhulme Network Grant on External Border Control (IN-2013-041) that pulled together three research groups from Oxford, Oslo and Monash Universities. It offers honest accounts of struggles and difficulties as well as ethical dilemmas encountered when doing border criminology.
Ines Hasselberg began her new postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Research in Anthropology - Universidade do Minho in Portugal, where she is working on border control and inequality in Portugal. With colleagues, she has organised the workshop Bordering: a view from Portugal (Lisbon, December 2017) which attracted a good number of fascinating contributions. Other outputs from 2017 include a chapter in Shahram Khosravi´s After Deportation (Palgrave, 2018), the two-day meeting of the EASA Anthropology of Confinement Network (Copenhagen, November 2017) and a beautiful baby boy (Lisbon, March 2017).
Rimple Mehta joined the Tata Institute of Social Sciences as an Assistant Professor in October 2017. She also recently submitted the manuscript of her first book Women, Mobility and Incarceration: Negotiating Social and Political Borders to be published by Routledge in 2018. She has been involved with a Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University research project titled ‘The 1947 Partition of India: Demographic and Humanitarian Consequences’ and is currently working on a National Research Study on Human Trafficking in India being carried out by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences under the aegis of the National Human Rights Commission.
Finally, Gabriella Sanchez now a research fellow at the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Centre where she is in charge of the research agenda on irregularized migration facilitation, looking at the dynamics of smuggling, trafficking and their governance at the global level. Working with colleagues at Derechos Humanos Integrales en Acción in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, she was awarded two seed grants by the University of Texas to study the roles young people and children play in the facilitation of migration along the US Mexico border. They presented this work during the meetings on trafficking and smuggling for the UN Global Compact on migration in Vienna. We held the second Smuggling Workshop at the University of Texas at El Paso, as well as at the IOM meeting on missing migrants leading to the publication of their second report. They have also started a collaboration with the Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking Unit at the UNODC to incorporate critical approaches to gender, race and class to policy and law enforcement practices on smuggling and trafficking. They held a two-day event with them, ‘when smuggling goes wrong: responses and impacts’ at the EUI this fall.
As part of our commitment to outreach and critical scholarship, in addition to our web-based activities and online dissemination, Border Criminologies has been developing new ties with groups outside the academy. We have benefited greatly from engagement with colleagues at Garden Court Chambers and Goldsmith Chambers, who have attended events and delivered presentations on their work in Oxford. Plans are currently underway with Garden Court to support our research on immigration detention in Greece and that of one our partner NGOs, Aitima. Just last week, we held an event with a range of stakeholders from Greece, Turkey, Hungary and Italy on monitoring detention.
In September, we partnered with the Border Crossing Observatory at Monash University, in a three-day Master class for postgraduate students at Monash University Prato at which a small group of students from around the world met and worked together on their writing projects. That month too, we awarded the first Border Criminologies Masters’ Dissertation/Thesis Prize to Zoe Roberts for her thesis on ‘Information Exchange Between Smugglers and Migrants’, and the runner-up award to Martha Eade for her analysis of Scottish media representations of the Calais camp.
In 2018, a series of events are planned. Vanessa Barker will be speaking about her new book as part of the Centre for Criminology All Souls Seminar series on 18 January, 2018. All are welcome. Then, in April (19/20) we will be celebrating our 5th birthday at a seminar called ‘Beyond Critique’ in which we will examine positive practices in the law, policing, detention and the community. Further details will be available soon. On January 25, Mary is speaking at the Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities, on the detention art project, and on February 20 in London at the Refugee Law Initiative about staff in immigration detention. Both events are open. Many Border Criminologies members will be attending the conference ‘Challenging Migrant Detention’, in Montreal from June 19 – 21, presenting on their research and building new ties. Two weeks before there will be a strong contingent at the Law and Society Association conference in Toronto.
As ever if you have ideas for workshops, blog posts or research projects, please get in touch. Working together is vital in the current climate, and resources go further when pooled.
We wish all our readers a happy and peaceful holiday period, and all the best for the New Year. See you in January!