Symposium: Borders and Migration: Politics in the Twenty-First Century at University of Victoria


A Symposium in Honour of Marilouise Kroker
Sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought (CSPT)

Friday, October 26th, 2018

Twentieth century politics was premised on the nation-state. In recent years, many politicians have suggested that long-established nations are now threatened by immigrants who do not fit the old moulds. The appeal, heard in one country after another, is for stronger borders to inhibit the flow of migrants from dangerous, poor, war-torn, environmentally damaged, or otherwise unfortunate countries to places where life seems better. This appeal resonates with the nativist and racist themes that often characterize right-wing politics. The late Marilouise Kroker was always an exponent of the openness that welcomes rather than fears the new. In this symposium in her honour, faculty and students at the University of Victoria explore the possibilities and promises of a 21st century politics that embraces human diversity, accepts migration as natural, and celebrates the possibilities of a world in which borders – between nations, states, ethnicities, religions, ideologies, genders, and whatever else are not the obstacles to human flourishing that they are now. Is the current period of revanchist nationalism just a passing phase? Can the positive aspects of globalization be nurtured? How can present fears be overcome? In this symposium, a variety of perspectives will be presented, some from invited panellists, but more from other participants. Come prepared to make your own contribution.

Session 1: Global Perspectives (COR B107, 1.30 – 2.50 pm)

It begins with a round table in which scholars working on these issues shed light on what has been happening in different parts of the world, including ones that have not received much attention in the Western media. Is there a general pattern that we can discern, or are things so different in various regions that we should avoid generalization? What, if anything, should give us cause for hope?

Marlea Clarke (Political Science)
Oliver Schmidtke (Political Science and History)
Scott Watson (Political Science)

Session 2: Theoretical Interpretations (COR B107, 3.00 – 4.20 pm)

In the second round table, we consider some of the issues for political theory that arise from efforts to accommodate migration or secure borders. Are we bound to the nation-state as the condition for peaceable politics, or other possibilities now emergent? In any case, how can we make sense of our political possibilities under present conditions?

Rita Dhamoon (Political Science and CSPT)
Arthur Kroker (Political Science and CSPT)
Rob Walker (Political Science and CSPT)

Session 3: Reflections from the US- Mexican Border (HSD A240, 7.00 – 9.00 pm)

The symposium ends with a lecture/performance by Ricardo Dominguez of the University of California (San Diego). Professor Dominguez is renowned for his bold and innovative interventions in American efforts to restrict migration from Mexico and Central America.