Department of Geography

Past events

Beyond the Border: Securing the Line between Canada and the US

Wednesday 7 November 12:00 until 14:00
Global Studies Resource Centre, Arts C, University of Sussex
Speaker: Dr Emily Gilbert (Geography,Toronto)
Part of the series: Geography Research Seminars: Beyond the Fringe

Chair: Divya P. Tolia-Kelly

ALL WELCOME (coffee/ tea and cake is provided).


The Canada-US border has been invoked in the Brexit debates as a potential model for keeping the land border between the UK and Ireland open. But as critics have pointed out, in recent years the Canada-US border has hardened. In this paper I discuss the ongoing securitization of the border: from the use of biometrics, to surveillance towers, to repurposed military drones. Yet, what is especially remarkable is the extensity of security cooperation that is unfolding between the two countries. New forms of cross-border law enforcement and customs preclearance programs, for example, are tranforming traditional concepts of jurisdiction, sovereignty, territoriality and accountability. Bilateral agreements designed to limit the claims of asylum seekers are forcing already vulnerable populations to seek our circuitous and dangerous routes across unofficial border crossings. Human rights, privacy and legal process are all being undermined. This is no model border but a harbinger of disturbing new forms of border management.

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By: Martin Wingfield
Last updated: Friday, 2 November 2018