Bordering Practices and Lives in the Borderlands

What is a national border? An imagined, shifting line a militarized zone, a site of national definition, an invitation to pass, or a demand to stay put? Across the Mexico-US border, asylum seekers wait in informal refugee camps that fall outside the jurisdiction of either states or the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The border between the Western Balkan states and the EU has been a place of confinement as well as enforced movement as asylum seekers are pushed across borders, from one country to the other. Mexico and Serbia, once considered the “transit countries” through which refugees and migrants pass, are now sites of confinement and enforced movement as the result of actions by the US and EU (i.e. “Remain in Mexico.”) Their border policies lead to humanitarian disasters and have a broader global impact as they have contributed to the rise of far-right extremism and bigoted nationalisms. There is much to learn from a comparative study that acknowledges both the exceptional character of the US and EU’s influence and the similarities in their border policies.   

As a team of researchers from the Western Balkans, Mexico, and the US, we have unique perspectives on the human toll at the border. 

Our project is an interdisciplinary, accessible, and comprehensive study of the EU-Serbia and US-Mexico Border. We consider the spaces inhabited by migrants in Mexico and the Western Balkans, the manifestations of various forms of violence (structural and physical), and the models of care, particularly access to health care, implemented at these sites. We examine the landscape, economies, protests, and the forms of creativity that emerge in the border regime.

As part of this project, we will be publishing an edited volume on border regimes titled US and EU Border Externalization Regimes: The Lines They Draw. 

This volume is expected to be published in early 2024.

Click here to learn more about our accompanying piece, the Sawyer Seminar Series.

News and Publications: 

  • Forthcoming book: Edited by Carrie J. Preston, Muhammad H. Zaman, and Marina Lazetic. US and EU Border Externalization Regimes: The Lines They Draw. Anthem Press. To appear in Fall 2023.
  • Ope-Ed: Lazetic Marina. “Migration, Extremism, & Dangerous Blame Games: Developments & Dynamics in Serbia.” RESOLVE Network, United States Institute of Peace , November 1, 2021.
  • Ope-Ed: Lazetic, Marina. Belgrade, Serbia: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns. International Feinstein Center, Case Report. April 2018.