"Only Horizons": A Genealogy of Border Criminality in Algeria, 1848 to present

When and Where

Thursday, January 19, 2023 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George Street, 1st floor


Sarah Ghabrial


This talk broadly sketches a trans-Mediterranean genealogy of ‘border criminality’ – defined here as the de-legalization, bureaucratization, racialization, and policing of particular modes of mobility – from the French colonial occupation of Algeria through to the present neocolonial relationship between Europe and the Maghreb. It traces the continuities of a set of penal, judicial, and bureaucratic instruments – land sequestration, identity papers, passports, travel permits, house arrests, vagrancy laws, administrative detention, and deportation, among others. This work takes its methodological cues from the figure of the harraga (‘clandestine migrant’ in Maghrebi colloquial Arabic), whose sojourns reveal state law to be arbitrary – that is, an inorganic and violently imposed externality.



Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies


170 St. George Street, 1st floor