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CRS/Socio-Legal Studies Seminar: Bio/necropolitics of capture and evasion at Africa-Europe migrant journeys

September 21, 2023

2:30 - 4:00pm (EDT)

This is a hybrid event.

In person: S701 Ross Building, York University, Keele Campus


Meeting ID: 991 1917 0535

Passcode: 261398

Guest speaker: Özgün E. Topak

This presentation draws on fieldwork interviews with migrants who fled their home countries (Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan) and irregularly travelled through Sudan, Sahara, Libya, Mediterranean Sea, and reached Europe. It demonstrates how, throughout their journeys, migrants were targeted by various state and non-state actors for capture (for purposes including recruitment, extortion, ransom, immobilization, torture, sexual violence and slavery), and how they evaded capture. Building on and contributing to literatures on bio/necropolitics, migration/borders, and surveillance, the paper advances the categories of bio/necropolitical capture and evasion. The paper emphasizes the key role of non-state actors in acts of capture, race as a central category of capture, the bio/necropolitical effects of capture, and acts of evasion (which includes not only acts of running away or hiding, but various forms of communicational, spiritual and psychological tactics) as agency. Focusing on migrants’ long journeys to Europe, the paper provides a more holistic view of migration experience and highlights persisting patterns of capture and evasion despite changing actors and locations. 

Özgün E. Topak is an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Science at York University, Canada. He is an Associate Editor of Surveillance & Society, and a Resident Scholar at York's Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS). Dr. Topak is an interdisciplinary social scientist interested in topics of forced migration, surveillance, authoritarianism, social theory and human rights.

Co-sponsored with the department of Socio-Legal Studies, York University


Sep 21 2023


2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
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