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Research project

Intimate borders: race, gender and family on the move

This project has been funded via the EUI-IHEID joint call 2023.

"Intimate borders: race, gender and family on the move” will bring together early career social historians to put migration and border studies more squarely into conversation with the history of sexuality, intimacy and the family. By recalling a racialized and gendered history of the family, this project offers a unique exploration of the multiplicity of “the shifting border” - the “movement of borders to regulate the mobility of people” (Shachar, 2020). It will look at different kinds of bordermaking and explore the historical roles that sexuality and gender played in motivating and facilitating certain migration patterns over others: to what extent does the racialised and gendered grammar of colonial societies continue to pervade the politics of migration and movement today? And how do the politics of migration seep into the intimate everyday lives of migrating people and their family members?

The understanding of borders, that lies in this project, is a historically produced and continuously reproduced social conventions operating on multiple levels and registers. By focusing on borderwork and bordermaking, this project asks how different kinds of borders - racial, sexual, gendered, international, classed, ethnolinguistic etc. - become activated within specific constellations, which kinds of movement they facilitate and which they block, how actors adapt to them and invest in them, and consequently, how they affect and are affected by specific patterns of movement.

The immediate objective will be to take a concrete step in the direction of such a synthetic research trajectory by organizing a body of original historical work and creating an intensive hothouse environment where intensive exchange and cross-pollination between early career scholars will result in a special journal issue showcasing how such a historicizing synthesis of borderwork might be realized.

External Partners

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