Crisis and care in transnational migration: feminist geopolitical investigations of mobilities and barriers in U.S. and Mexican bordering projects

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 22
Organizers: Alicia Danze
Chairs: Rebecca Torres


Geographers have investigated the ways that crisis and care are deployed as part of bordering projects world-wide. Maritime rescues of migrants en route to Europe (Sciurba and Furri 2018; Tazzioli and De Genova 2020), family migration (Williams 2015) and family separation (Agnew 2019), as well as the arrival of unaccompanied minors at the U.S. southern border (Torres 2018) provide just a few examples of the ways that discourses of panic and humanitarian concern are leveraged to extend the reach of authorities, providing aid or security to those “in need” while simultaneously tightening control of border zones and monitoring movements of foreign bodies. Crisis and care often operate in tandem: when crisis mounts, care is demanded. However, when care is withheld or is unable to sufficiently "sanitize" unruly subjects, the individuals in need become carriers of crisis.

In this proposed session, participants further complicate notions of care and crisis as issues of public health, infrastructural breakdown and violence intersect with transborder migration in new ways. Drawing on feminist geopolitical approaches to migration and critical analyses of care (Bartos 2019; Crane and Lawson 2020; Dowler et al 2019; Raghuram et al. 2009), these presentations bring attention to practices and narratives deployed at national, local and bodily scales, active at multiple points of migrants’ journeys ranging from sending communities (Guerrero, Mexico), to border zones (Mexico-Guatemala and U.S.-Mexico), to U.S. courtrooms. Presenters’ research demonstrates that care and crisis are leveraged by a variety of actors, each with distinct entanglements with state efforts to control the spread of contaminated, foreign or criminal bodies.

Questions addressed might include: Who or what is the object of care? How is care in tension with autonomy, dignity and mobility of migrants? How do objects of care become subjects of crisis? How, and at what scale, does the state posture and perform “crisis” versus “care”? To what extent does care provide paths to meaningful inclusion? To what extent does care become an instrument of exclusion wielded by a panicked public, justifying the continued build up of bordering projects?

Some presentations and discussion will be in Spanish.


Agnew, J. (2019). The Asymmetrical Border: The United States’ Place in the World and the Refugee Panic of 2018. The Geographical Review, 109(4), 507-526.

Raghuram, P., Madge, C. & Noxolo, P. (2009). Rethinking Responsibility and care for a postcolonial world. Geoforum, 40(1), 5-13.

Sciurba, A. & Furri, F. (2018). Human Rights Beyond Humanitarianism: The Radical Challenge to the Right to Asylum in the Mediterranean Zone. Antipode, 50(3), 763-782.

Tazzioli, D. & De Genova, N. (2020). Kidnapping migrants as a tactic of border enforcement. Environment and Planning. D, Society & Space, 38(5), 867–886.

Torres, R. (2018). A crisis of rights and responsibility: Feminist geopolitical perspectives on latin american refugees and migrants. Gender, Place & Culture, 25(1), 13-36.

Williams, J. (2015). From humanitarian exceptionalism to contingent care: Care and enforcement at the humanitarian border. Political Geography, 47, 11-20.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Olimpia Valdivia Ramirez*, , Forced Displacement, Human Dignity and Autonomy During the COVID-19 Pandemic 15 8:00 AM
Presenter Edith Herrera Martinez*, , Valentina Glockner Fagetti, Colegio De Sonora, Desplazados y refugiados: la concatenación de la violencia en Guerrero 15 8:15 AM
Presenter Jorge Choy-Gómez*, The University of Texas At Austin, "Quédate en Casa": Immigration Policy and COVID-19 in Mexico's Southern Border 15 8:30 AM
Presenter Julia Bordelon*, The University of Texas At Austin, Communications as Bordering Practice: Securing the U.S. Mexico Border 15 8:45 AM
Presenter Alicia Danze*, , COVID-19 in Immigration Court: breakdowns, closures and chaos as tactical barriers to asylum 15 9:00 AM

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