Launch of the research group “border studies”
Migration and mobility in the Mediterranean are often researched from a Eurocentric perspective, reducing countries like Tunisia to a threatening ‘origin country’ of migrants or turning it into a ‘border line’ to be secured and consolidated. By launching a new research group on “border studies”, based at the Centre for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Sousse, MECAM Fellow Wael Garnaoui aims to decenter this perspective, providing more nuanced insight into the reconfigurations of borders that determine (im)mobilities in contemporary North Africa. The Rencontre Ibn Khaldoun that was organised by the IFG II “inequality and mobility” on November 18th 2021 at the University of Sousse brought together early career researchers from diverse disciplines adopting critical approaches to studying ‘borders’ in order to launch this new research group. Presentations by researchers working on borders in contexts as diverse as Tunisia, Mexico and Syria set the multi-layered research agenda: from the externalisation of borders to racialized border regimes and material cross-border circulations, frontiers are studied as sites of violence, but also as vital sites for exchange and the articulation of difference.