Please join Border Criminologies and the Refugee Studies Centre for a special seminar with Efrat Arbel and Benjamin Goold, Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, Canada, entitled:
‘Not so Exceptional? Understanding the Canada-US Border as a Place of Law.’
When: Monday, 11 May 2015, 13:00-14:30
Where: Senior Common Room, Faculty of Law, St Cross Building, University of Oxford
About the seminar
With the steady, global movement towards the securitization of borders in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, scholars across various disciplinary fields have analyzed state borders as ‘states of exception,’ sites in which, as Giorgio Agamben provocatively describes, ‘a temporary suspension of the rule of law on the basis of a factual state of danger, is … given a permanent spatial arrangement, which as such nevertheless remains outside the normal order.’ This paper argues against this approach. It suggests that the ‘state of exception,’ as described by Giorgio Agamben and Carl Schmidt, does not properly account for the legal and material realities of contemporary state borders. The paper advances this argument by analyzing how legal power is organized, asserted, and exercised along the Canada-US border. In addition, it seeks to develop a set of criteria by which claims of exceptionalism at the border might be tested, and compares the border with other sites―such as prisons―which also have the potential to become states of exception. In doing so, it strives to develop a site-specific understanding that better illuminates the legal implications of the policies and practices that currently govern the Canada-US border, and to ensure that current debates properly recognize the role of law in constructing the border.
About the speakers
Efrat Arbel is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia. Dr Arbel researches and publishes in constitutional law, refugee law, Aboriginal law, and prison law. Combining her academic work with legal practice, Dr Arbel is also engaged in advocacy and litigation involving refugee and prisoner rights.
Benjamin Goold is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, at the University of British Columbia. At present, Professor Goold is working on two major research projects, the first a major field study of undercover policing and covert surveillance practices in the UK (with Bethan Loftus and Shane Mac Giollabhui), and the second a study of how security products are bought, sold, and consumed (with Ian Loader and Angelica Thumala).