Department of Anthropology

Seminar Series with Sarah Green, University of Helsinki

Relocations: transnational animals, borders and quarantine in the Mediterranean

Mon, October 30, 2017 | SAC 5.118

12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Not everything that crosses or transgresses borders is a person. In fact, in terms of sheer numbers, the vast majority of stuff that crosses borders is non-human, even if people usually have something to do with it, or something to say about it, or both. That combination ought to make it interesting to anthropologists who study borders; but generally speaking, most anthropologists stick to studying people who move, or people who try to stop people from moving, across borders. Migration, nationalism and transgressive identities or subjectivities have been the main topics for border studies, plus a few things on conflicts, security, transnationalism and a little bit about smuggling, but not much. The paper argues that while hugely important, this specialisation risks missing a lot about other kinds of locating work that border regimes are doing. Taking the Mediterranean region as a focus, this presentation will explore a little bit about the other kinds of things that cross borders, looking especially at non-human animals, and at animal diseases. Political, economic and logistical organisations work almost as hard at trying to control and monitor their movement as they do at trying to control the movement of people; but the reasons for doing so, and the way that it is done, is quite different from the management of the movement of people. The paper will roughly sketch out an outline of this parallel border regime that co-exists with controls over human movement, as a means to outline some of the locating work being done here.

Sarah Green is a Professor of social and cultural anthropology at the University of Helsinki.  A recent project is Crosslocations, funded by a European Research Council Advanced Grant.

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