The Politics of Sorting at Border Walls
Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College, works at the intersections of the anthropology of medicine and science, law, and transnational and postcolonial feminist theory. Her research has focused in the broadest sense on what it means to make political claims in the name of a universal humanity. She is the author of Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Immigration and Humanitarianism in France (2011), co-editor of In the Name of Humanity: the Government of Threat and Care (with Ilana Feldman, 2010), and a founding co-editor of the journal Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development.
While at GIDEST, Miriam will be working on a new book project on practices of containment at the border, from border walls to spaces of quarantine, and how these are shaped by encounters between humans and non-humans, from wildlife to viruses. The premise of the book is that we cannot understand the politics of border walls without also taking into account how they intersect with and are shaped by the politics of health, environment and conservation.
In her GIDEST seminar, Miriam will explore the ways in which border walls and zones come not simply to defend but also to define, that is, to shape or alter categories of natural and human kinds. She will suggest that borders walls, and all the surrounding and auxiliary technologies they harness, work by shifting how we understand different kinds of beings, ultimately rendering certain kinds killable.