Border Studies Launches Series

border studies

The UC Davis Mellon Initiative in Comparative Border Studies starts its second year with a series of events during “Border Studies Week,” Oct. 28 – Nov. 3, on the topic of “Mobility, Militarization, Containment.”

Events will explore the tensions between mobility and confinement as borders become more militarized.

The fall events focus on strategies of migrants and border dwellers to deal with everyday violence, whether exercised by criminal networks (such as human smugglers) or by the state (such as migrant detention and deportation), according to co-principal investigators Sunaina Maira, professor of Asian American Studies, and Robert Irwin, chair of the Graduate Group in Cultural Studies and professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

“The Armed Border: Gender, Sexuality, Biopolitics, Violence” 

Oct. 28, Noon – 2 p.m., Student Community Center, Multipurpose Room

  • Mona Bhan, associate professor of anthropology, DePauw University, conducts ethnographic fieldwork in the occupied territory of Kashmir.
  • Sayak Valencia, professor in the Department of Cultural Studies at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Mexico, is author of Capitalismo Gore.

This seminar focuses on everyday violence on the contemporary militarized border, with a focus on India-occupied Kashmir, and Tijuana, Mexico. The panel will also consider the responses of communities, activist groups and individuals, employing perspectives of decolonial, feminist and queer theory.

“Borders, (Im)mobility, Youth: Photo-Testimonies of Youth from Knight's Landing”

Nov. 2, 3–5 p.m., Hart Hall, Room 3114

Presentation by Las Ramonas y Pueblo Unido, youth groups whose mission is to empower themselves and their community through gaining awareness and knowledge of how to make Knights Landing in northeast Yolo County a safe space. In conjunction with the presentations, there will be an exhibition of “photo-testimonies” produced by the youth of Knights Landing on the second floor of Hart Hall.

“On Containment and Coyotaje: Critical Approaches to Human Smuggling”
Nov. 3, 10 a.m. – Noon, Voorhies Hall, Room 126

Gabriella Sánchez, associate director for research at the National Security Studies Institute at the University of Texas in El Paso, is author of Human Smuggling and Border Crossings.

Luigi Achilli is research associate at the Migration Policy Centre at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, in Florence, Italy. This event will focus on the complexities of the human smuggling of migrants, bringing to the table views held by border enforcement agencies, migrants and smugglers themselves. It will present a comparative perspective that will take into account everyday acts of human smuggling in several regions, including the Mexico-U.S. border and Middle East-Europe.

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