Borders Examined in All Day Symposium

People climbing over barrier in Palestine
Borders and walls in the Middle East are one subject of talks.

Scholars from around the world will be at UC Davis for the Comparative Border Studies Initiative symposium “Borders: What’s Up With That? Displacements, Belongings, Rights.” The event takes place April 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Putah Creek Lodge at the UC Davis Arboretum.

“Our spring Mellon Border Studies symposium brings together major scholars working on border themes in diverse regions across the U.S., Europe and the Middle East,” said Robert Irwin, co-primary investigator for the initiative and a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. “We hope to reach the campus community, as well as a broader public across the Davis and Sacramento region, including alumni and local community.”

Keynote talks will be “A Sight/Site We Cannot Bear: The Eviction from Public Space of Women Wearing the Niqab” by Sherene Razack, distinguished professor in critical race, gender and citizenship studies in education, University of Toronto, and “Theorizing the ‘Crisis’ of Borders and Migration” by Nicholas De Genova, chair of the spatial politics research group, King’s College, London.

“The issues the symposium will address are some of the most contentious of our times, as borders are being shut down, Muslim and migrant bodies are violently policed, and notions of human and citizen rights are being redefined as colonized groups’ attempt to defy the militarized and often ambiguous borders that destroy lives,” said Sunaina Maira, co-principal investigator and professor of Asian American studies. “New forms of transnational racialization, dynamics of belonging and exclusion, and troubling relationships between sexuality and imperialism demand new critical approaches. This symposium aims to address these crises of bordering through interdisciplinary, comparative dialogue among scholars doing cutting-edge research in a range of fields.”

Other presentations:

“In Time’s Margins: Borderlands Identities and Rights in Historical Imagination” by Shahzad Bashir, Lysbeth Warren Anderson Professor in Islamic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University.

“Black in English: Global Translations of Citizenship in Contemporary Italy” by Lorgia García Peña, assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures and of history and literature, Harvard University.

“Between Violence and Solidarity: The Politics of Citizenship and Rights to Movement” by Kim Rygiel, associate professor of political science, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

“Zionism and Israel Beyond Borders: Citizenship, Belonging, and Exclusion” by Magid Shihade, assistant professor, Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies, Birzeit University, Palestine.

“From Queer Militancy to Homonationalism: Reflections on the Post-Cold War Reification of (Trans)national Cultural Borders Through the Neoliberal Quest for Sexual Rights” by Randall Williams, independent researcher, International Transport Workers’ Federation, London. 

The symposium is free and open to the public. See campus map for location.

The Comparative Border Studies Initiative at UC Davis is a three-year Mellon Research Initiative in its first year.

— Jeffrey Day, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science