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Where, When and Who is the Border? or the Problems with Thinking Like a Nation-State

Nov 28, 2012, 2pm-3:30pm

Nandita Sharma of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa will deliver the talk, "Where, When and Who is the Border? or the Problems with Thinking Like a Nation-State".

"I will discuss three instances where border controls on human mobility are created and/or defended, even by those with putatively progressive politics: anti-trafficking campaigns; the creation of various temporary foreign migrant workers programs and; the increasingly popular idea that all 'immigrants' are 'settler colonists'," says Sharma. "I will argue that each of these discursive practices relies upon – and are instances of - the expanding reach of 'border thinking' or 'thinking like a nation-state'. I will bring the discourse of 'anti-trafficking' in dialogue with those of neoliberal immigration policies in the United States and Canada and argue that it is not a coincidence that in today’s politics of immigration, certain migrating ‘womenandchildren’ are portrayed as 'modern slaves' within national states that organize conditions of vulnerability, super-exploitation and, often, unfreedom for large numbers of 'temporary foreign workers' whose conditions of entry, stay and work are ignored and even rendered unpolitical."

She will also examine the deep antagonism toward migration and migrants evident in some (but certainly not all) indigenous studies scholarship where an acceptance – and valorization  of ideologies of nationalism and national sovereignties has served to conflate processes of migration with those of colonization. While each will be discussed separately, the connective threads that tie these seemingly disparate state policies/practices together will be evident through an examination of the cultural terrain in which the figure (and state category) of “the migrant” is vilified and the process of human mobility is rendered both extraordinary and a social problem.


Location:764 York Research Tower
Sponsor:YCISS
Posted by:Chris Hendershot
Web Sitehttp://yciss.info.yorku.ca/calendar/
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