Featured Stories

Comparative Border Studies Winter Preview

The Mellon Research Initiative in Comparative Border Studies, begun in 2015 and co-directed by UC Davis Professors Sunaina Maira and Robert McKee Irwin will conclude this year. It focuses on promoting interdisciplinary/comparative research on the making, unmaking, crossing, and fortification of national, colonial, regional, and continental borders.

For the 2017-2018 academic year, Comparative Border Studies has been concerned with exploring protest cultures and transnational solidarities. Which is to say, they have examined grassroots movements that seek to stymie state projects dedicated to creating new borders and destroying old ones.

Comparative Border Studies’ last event will be held on February 14th from 3-5:30pm at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. It will feature a roundtable of activists and scholars from around the world who will explore how borders produce struggles against race and gender-based violence, militarization, occupation, displacement, partition, and colonization.

The roundtable will feature the following speakers:

Nayrouz Abu Hatoum: A visiting fellow from the Department of History and Art History in Utrecht University, located in the Netherlands. Her dissertation is titled “Framing Absence: Visuals of the Wall and the Vanishing Landscapes in Palestine.” Her research also appears in the Visual Anthropology Review Journal and Min Fami: Arab Feminist Reflections on Identity, Space and Resistance.

Christine Ahn: The International Coordinator of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War, reunite families, and ensure women’s leadership in peace building. Ahn is co-founder of the Korea Peace Network, Korea Policy Institute, and Global Campaign to Save Jeju Island.

Azza Falfoul: A university student and activist from Tunis. She is involved with Alarm Phone and Watch the Med and organizes in solidarity with migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa. She also works with Tun’up, a social justice organization that promotes education for disadvantaged students in Tunisia.

Ingrid Vaca: An immigrant rights activist from Bolivia and cofounder of DREAMers Moms USA International. Vaca has organized in support of DACA, United We Dream, A World Without Borders, and Sea for Bolivia. She is a representative of the Alliance of Home Care Workers and has participated in the World Conference on Popular Movements.

Ather Zia: An Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at the University of Northern Colorado-Greeley and co-editor of They Gave Us Blood: Narratives of Normalcy, Sacrifice, and Terror in Kashmir. Zia is the founder-editor of the journal Kashmir Lit and of Critical Kashmir Studies, an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on Kashmir.

Comparative Border Studies is also sponsoring a new exhibit at the Manetti Shrem museum entitled Welcome? that will run from February 1st to June 24th. This exhibit will explore the concept of unconditional hospitality. This can mean anything from inviting random people into one’s home to opening national borders to everyone, both of which challenge the host’s identity and create a high-risk situation.

Curated by Susette Min, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at Davis, this exhibition explores the double-edged nature of hospitality – i.e. the desires and fears of enacting and receiving the act of hospitality. Featured artists include Andrea Bowers, Daniel Martinez, Dan Perjovschi, Kameelah Jana Rasheed, and Jin-me Yoon.

These two events conclude the Mellon Research Initiative in Comparative Border Studies. In 2015 it set out to accomplish two major goals: First, to respond to the urgent need for comparative conversations about borders and interrogate the production, deployment, and evasion of regional and geographic categories. Second, to bridge the scholarship in area studies and ethnic studies, fields that should be in closer conversation with one another given the realities of transnationalism.

Though the Mellon Research Initiative in Comparative Border Studies is ending, be on the lookout for events sponsored by the two Mellon Research Initiatives launched earlier this year: Feminist Arts & Science Shop and Racial Capitalism.


– Nicholas Garcia, DHI Graduate Student Researcher and doctoral student in the Department of History


This page was last updated: July 26, 2018



 All content © 2012 UC Regents. All rights reserved.


227 Voorhies Hall
One Shields Ave
Davis CA 95616
P: (530) 752-1254

Subscribe to our mailing list