Seminar: Humanitarian Borders: Unequal Mobility and Saving Lives - Prof. Polly Pallister-Wilkins

Photo of Polly Pallister Wilkins

Event details

Thursday 30 November 2023


Title: Humanitarian Borders: Unequal Mobility and Saving Lives

Speaker: Prof. Polly Pallister-Wilkins, University of Amsterdam

Abstract: What does it mean when humanitarianism is the response to death, injury and suffering at the border? This book interrogates the politics of humanitarian responses to border violence and unequal mobility, arguing that such responses mask underlying injustices, depoliticise violent borders and bolster liberal and paternalist approaches to suffering. Focusing on the diversity of actors involved in humanitarian assistance alongside the times and spaces of action, the book draws a direct line between privileges of movement and global inequalities of race, class, gender and disability rooted in colonial histories and white supremacy and humanitarian efforts that save lives while entrenching such inequalities. Based on eight years of research with border police, European Union officials, professional humanitarians, and grassroots activists in Europe’s borderlands, including Italy and Greece, the book argues that this kind of saving lives builds, expands and deepens already restrictive borders and exclusive and exceptional identities through what the book calls humanitarian borderwork.

Bio: Polly Pallister-Wilkins is a political geographer and associate professor in the Department of Politics at the University of Amsterdam. Her research has focused on the intersections of mobility injustice, border violence and humanitarian interventions and more recently on race and racism in, and the potentials for decolonising humanitarianism. She is the author, alongside numerous journal articles, of the award winning book Humanitarian Borders: Unequal Mobility and Saving Lives (Verso) and an associate editor of the journal Geopolitics.

Events at the University

Browse upcoming public lectures, exhibitions, family events, concerts, shows and festivals across the University.