Liberal Violence and the Racial Borders of the European Union - Dr Arshad Isakjee (Geography, University of Liverpool)


The Open University via Microsoft Teams link (available after registration on Eventbrite)

We're delighted to have Dr Arshad Isakjee give our latest seminar in the Open Space seminar series taking place on 23rd June 14:00-16:00 (British Summer Time).

This presentation will examine how race underpins the European Union’s violent border regime. Drawing on two case studies, in Northern France and the Balkans, it will explore how border violence manifests in divergent ways: from the direct physical violence which is routine in Croatia, to more subtle forms of violence evident in the governance of migrants and refugees living informally in Calais, closer to Europe’s geopolitical centre. The use of violence against people on the move sits uncomfortably with the liberal, post-racial self-image of the European Union. Drawing upon the work of postcolonial scholars and theories of violence, it will argue that the various violent technologies used by EU states against migrants embodies the inherent logics of liberal governance, whilst also reproducing liberalism’s tendency to overlook its racial limitations. By interrogating how and why border violence manifests we can draw critical attention to the racialised ideologies within which it is predicated. We can understand the EU border regime as a form of ‘liberal violence’ that seeks to elide both its violent nature and its racial underpinnings.