As we were drafting this toolkit, the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a pandemic, and recommended that nation-states close their borders, which virtually all did.
It is not incidental that logics of quarantine – from which contemporary immigration detention practices derive (Mitropoulos, 2020) – inflect one of the most naturalised socio-political phenomena today: the international system of bordered nation-states.
Indeed, the pandemic has given cover to the consolidation of biopolitical and necropolitical state practices. Now, more than ever, calls for open borders or no borders are seen as tantamount (from a hegemonic perspective) to chaos, infection, pollution, terrorism.
Border(ing) is reasserted under pandemic conditions as a safeguard of the national body against threatening foreign bodies. Getting beneath, behind, and beyond the commonsensicality of border(ing) is the aim of this tool, which we see as directly emergent from a decolonial feminist analysis of the postcolonial world.
We urge a view of borders which does not see them solely as static lines on a map, but as a complex of processes demarcating what is proper to a nation-state and what must be expunged from it (or assimilated and even eliminated within it).
The expression of colonial power through lines drawn on maps–such as the partition of Africa amongst the colonial powers of Europe in 1884-1885, or the partition of India in 1947 into two independent nation-states, India and Pakistan, by an act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, or the treaty of Lausanne, in which imperial powers drew and divided the Anatolian, Balkan, and eastern Mediterranean nation-states at the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (1824)–is accompanied by occupation, settlement, genocide, population exchange, extractivism, war.
In short, border(ing) is a quintessential exercise of the coloniality of power.
State thought is “completely inscribed within the line of demarcation that divides ‘nationals’ from ‘non-nationals.”
Activities included in the pack
- Fortress Europe (45 min)
- Everyday bordering (3h)
- The list (5h including personal research)
- Manifesto for a “no border” politics (20h including personal and group work)
- Lived experiences of detention (15h including personal research)