Border Hysterectomies, Failed States, and Migration Scholarship in the Dawn of Renewed Fascism: A Roundtable and Discussion

Type: Virtual Panel
Theme: Ethnonationalism and Exclusion Around the World
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Jared Keyel, Christian Matheis, Eli Jamison, Diya Abdo
Chairs: Jared Keyel


The violence of the militarized American border and immigration regimes has sharply escalated in the years since the 2016 shift to a GOP-controlled White House and Senate. Long-standing policies of exclusion and expulsion—carried out under governments rhetorically sympathetic and hostile to newcomers—have reached a zenith wherein we are witnessing another period of ethnic cleansing tactics of forced sterilization, intentional cruel and inhumane imprisonment in camps overrun with deadly diseases, hunt-and-capture domestic military agencies operating unchecked, and mass deportations that characterize much of American history. The white nationalist agenda, advanced through public institutions and financed with tax revenues, seeks deep roots in permanent policy change and Constitutional law that has as its near-range goal the establishment of a caste system of citizenship against which there is no judicial appeal. The move to race-based and nationality-based citizenship is a proxy for a resurgence in the belief of superior and inferior races, and an institutional investment in eugenics as border policy.

White supremacist militias and paramilitaries infiltrate the police and military and operate with the sometimes tacit, sometimes explicit approval of the state. In the U.S., mass surveillance—begun under Bush and vastly expanded under Obama—continues to pervade every facet of American life. The right wing has again taken up the anti-semitic dog whistles that “critical race theory” and “cultural Marxism” are a scourge threatening to destroy American society while (neo)fascists stalk the streets of American cities. Even though the GOP lost control of the Executive in the November 2020 election, these forces will not immediately dissipate nor will the cruel policies of ethnic cleansing abate without significant activism and pressure on the new government. President-elect Joe Biden campaigned on the promise that nothing will fundamentally change if he is elected. The essential promise is a return to the less explicit, but no less ever present, state violence that has created and sustains the American imperial project, both internally and globally. Finally, many societies around the world have witnessed the dynamics of surging fascist state-supported mobilization—and the subsequent resistance—in recent years.

What then must we do? What can activist-scholars do to resist and reverse the gains of the far right? And crucially, how can we push toward liberation? What tactics and strategies are and will be necessary? What and where are the examples of action undertaking this work?

We seek panel participants interested in engaging such questions in their scholarship and activism for a discussion on the need for a united front against reaction.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Jared Keyel Virginia Tech 15
Panelist Christian Matheis Guilford College 15
Panelist Eli Jamison Virginia Tech 15
Panelist Diya Abdo University of North Carolina - Greensboro 15
Introduction Jared Keyel Virginia Tech 15

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