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Vulnerable Geopolitics: Feminist Geographies of Refugee Resettlement

Authors: Jenna Loyd*, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Patricia Ehrkamp, University of Kentucky
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: refugee resettlement, feminist geography, feminist geopolitics
Session Type: Paper
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Feminist geopolitics has done much to expose the multiple, often everyday and mundane spaces and processes imbricated in geopolitical shifts and connections. In this paper, we build on the insights of this body of work to consider how the sexed, gendered, and racialized vulnerabilities embedded in the refugee resettlement process point us to broader insights for feminist political geographic theories and knowledge. We draw on research on the role of trauma in the admission and resettlement of refugees to the US to show how administrative violence is sexual, gendered, and racialized. Refugee resettlement does not create simply binary inside-out spaces. Rather than one singular spatiality, we will use three moments drawn from our research to illustrate how multiple temporalities and geographies are created in the process of refugee resettlement. The first pays attention to the temporalities that emerge as refugee administration reworks and stretches intimate relations across transnational space, what we call an intimacy topography. The second vignette examines topologies of vulnerability that are created in the name of care. The third moment uses the double helix to conceptualize how the policing of refugees reproduces binary geographies of domestic-foreign even as the grounds of the domestic are eroded in ways that create vulnerabilities to deportation and death. Our attention to administrative violence across these three geographies allows us to rethink the vulnerability that emerges in the name of the state's production of care, and how people who have been resettled navigate these geographies.

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