The border as archive: Reframing the crisis mode of governance at the Canada-US border

Authors: Julie Young*, University of Lethbridge
Topics: Political Geography
Keywords: Borders, asylum, crisis, governance, archive, Canada-US border, Canada, US
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Washington 1, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

On 8 September 2017, Canadian Member of Parliament Pablo Rodriguez was sent to Los Angeles to dissuade additional arrivals of US-based asylum seekers at the Canadian border. This delegation was part of a wider information campaign organized by the Canadian government responding to what has been presented as a “crisis” at the Canada-US border, where – since January 2017 – there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people crossing irregularly from the US to make a claim for refugee status in Canada. I examine the longer histories and wider geopolitics of these contested crossings of the Canada-US border that have been characterized as a moment of crisis in official and media responses. Crisis is the necessary corollary of the “politics of anticipatory governance” (Stockdale 2016) that scaffolds contemporary nation-statist border control policies and practices. Examining the border as an archive opens space to consider the work that is done by such temporal and spatial manipulations and to animate the various histories and geographies that comprise the Canada-US border. Through an engagement with a series of intersecting moments and spaces of the recent history of this border (1987-present), I seek to both “inhabit” the crisis and understand what might remain once the crisis is declared over (Carastathis, Spathopoulou & Tsilimpounidi 2018; Nayak 2018). What do these border crossings tell us about the border itself and the politics that define, sustain, and transgress it?

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