Prof. Nicholas De Genova (University of Houston)
Seminar series "Migration, Technology & Postcolonial genealogies" organised by Dr. Martina Tazzioli with the support of Centre for Postcolonial Studies
“Europe” has become a problem, above all for Europeans. The contentious disputes over what “Europe” is (or should be), over the borders of “Europe” (and who or what may be included therein), over who may be counted as “European” — all of these agonistic debates have achieved an unprecedented intensity in the face of migration and the convulsions of the space of Europe instigated by the autonomy of migration. Uncritical research in migration studies often recapitulates this beleaguered sensibility of a Europe besieged and wracked by a putative “migrant crisis,”. This dialectic of autonomous human mobilities and the forces arrayed to alternately govern, discipline, punish, and repel them render Europe a convulsive space, a space of convulsions. Between an asylum system predicated upon suspicion and a border regime ever increasingly dedicated to the intensifying the purview of detention and deportation, on the one hand, and the increasing virulence of anti-immigrant racist populist movements, on the other, Europe has become a space of rejection for most migrants and refugees. Nevertheless, these efforts to erect or reinstate European borders are constantly chasing after the heterogeneity of migrants’ and refugees’ insistent, disobedient, and incorrigible practices of appropriating mobility and making claims to space. Consequently, Europe’s spatial convulsions are persistently transposed into racial concussions as border struggles are re-scaled into the spaces of everyday life.
BIO: Nicholas De Genova is Professor and Chair of the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Houston.
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