CfP: Clandestine Migration Routes and Human Insecurity (Brown University, May 17-18, 2014)

Call for Papers

Clandestine Migration Routes and Human Insecurity


We invite abstracts on the theme of Clandestine Migration Routes and Human Insecurity for a cross-regional comparative workshop to be held on May 17-18, 2014 at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Please send 200-word abstracts to by February 28, 2014.


Much of the scholarship on migration has focused on the border as a site of control and resistance, as well as on migrant experiences in countries of destination. In contrast, we turn our attention to how migrants arrive at the border, to the vehicles, networks, multiple boundary crossings and hardships that constitute the journey to borders.  The journey itself is broadly conceived and includes journeys from countries of origin to countries of transit or destination, as well as deportation journeys.


Some of the research questions that have animated this call for papers include the following:

1)     How do these clandestine journeys re-order the socio-economic and political landscape through which migrants pass, and what consequences does this have for the human security of migrants and citizens?

2)     How do migrants and citizens resist migration controls along the entirety of routes? Might this resistance and the relationships that underpin it differ from those in border zones?

3)     Can the human security of migrants be reconciled with the national security concerns of destination states?

4)     In the context of a humanitarian crisis unfolding along clandestine routes, how does a liberal international society justify draconian migration controls?


Every effort will be made to select papers that facilitate discussion across regions, and we will seek geographical breadth. Preference will be given to papers that make comparisons across regions and to papers drawing on fieldwork. Organizing themes for panels may change depending on the paper submissions, but examples include: (1) Race, Ethnicity and Nationality; (2) Gender and Sex; (3) Technology, Criminal Networks and the Political Economy of Transit; (4) Religion, Social Movements and Solidarity; and (5) Detention, Deportation and Migration Policing.



Based on the workshop’s proceedings, the organizers will seek to publish a volume (e.g., special issue in a first tier journal) on human security dilemmas in transit corridors. The workshop organizers will encourage scholars to co-author papers in order to generate theoretical insights across different case studies, a methodological limitation in the extant literature on migrant journeys. Our comparative approach to migrant journeys thus addresses two key challenges in migration studies: it moves beyond the emphasis on destination countries and their borders; and it encourages scholars from different regions to work collaboratively in order to generate theoretical contributions that may be more far reaching than those based on single case studies.


If you are interested, please submit a 200-word paper proposal to by February 28, 2014. Final papers are due on May 5, 2014. All materials must be submitted in English. We have some (limited) funding to contribute towards transportation and accommodation costs of workshop participants.


We also invite scholars to join our inter-institutional working group listserv, which will bring together those interested in future publications. To join the working group, please send your contact, affiliation information and a brief explanation of your research expertise to


Lead Researchers


  • Noelle Brigden, Postdoctoral Fellow, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, and Assistant Professor, Political Science, Marquette University
  • Jasmin Habib, Associate Professor, Political Science, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo
  •  Cetta Mainwaring, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Legal Studies, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo
  •  Aysen Üstübici, Former Fellow, Settling Into Motion Program, Bucerius Foundation, and PhD Candidate, Amsterdam University and Koç University


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