Militarized Global Apartheid and Security Imperialism

Project on Refugee Worlds, Refugee Lives: In and Out of Africa

Catherine Besteman, Colby College, presents a paper based based on her research with Somali refugees and also those in South Africa.

Monday, January 25, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

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Militarized global apartheid is a loosely integrated effort by countries in the global north to protect themselves against the mobility of people from the global south.  The new apartheid apparatus takes the form of militarized border technologies and personnel, interdictions at sea, biometric tracking of the mobile, carcerality and the criminalization of mobility. Militarized security empires are emerging from and shoring up global militarized apartheid; empires based in the identification and containment of “risky” bodies throughout the globe in concert with the expansion of securitized spaces produced through material, affective, and ontological expressions of militarism by the global North. These emergent imperial formations are spatial and technological rather than territorial, and they are taking shape through imperial projects that racialize and incarcerate people while securing cosmopolitan class privilege and capitalist extraction across borders, and tethering the concept of security to militarization. 

Catherine L. Besteman is the Francis F. Bartlett and Ruth K. Bartlett Professor of Anthropology at Colby College.  Professor Besteman’s teaching and research interests focus on analyzing power dynamics that produce and maintain inequality, racism and violence, as well as activist and community efforts for social change.  Her current research analyzes the emergence of security as a guiding concern and its effects on border regime militarization, algorithmic technologies to assess risk, and carcerality.  She has studied these issues ethnographically in southern Somalia, South Africa, and the U.S., although her current project is global in scope. Professor Besteman’s work has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the School of Advanced Research, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The presentation will be via Zoom.  

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This event is part of the African Studies Center project on Refugee Worlds, Refugee Lives: In and Out of Africa.


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UCLA African Studies Center323.335.9965

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center