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Space, Race, Bodies II: Sovereignty and Migration in a Carceral Age

University of Otago

May 6-8th, 2016

Featuring: Fadak Alfayadh (RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees), Tracey Barnett (Independent Journalist), Associate Professor Stephanie Fryberg (University of Washington), Mengzhu Fu (Shakti Youth), Tame Iti, Moana Jackson, Crystal McKinnon and Emma Russell (Flat Out), Suzanne Menzies-Culling and Marie Laufiso (Tauiwi Solutions), Professor Margaret Mutu (University of Auckland), Emilie Rākete (No Pride in Prisons), Annette Sykes, andTeanau Tuiono

Space, Race, Bodies II: Sovereignty and Migration in a Carceral Age is an academic and activist conference featuring workshops that address the intersections of criminal justice movements around the incarceration of migrants and communities of colour and Indigenous sovereign movements. SRB II builds on the momentum and opportunities enabled by the first Space, Race, Bodies conference in publicising and disseminating scholarship and activism on the intersections between geography, racism and racialisation.

Criminal justice movements organised around challenging the dentention of asylum seekers and migrants and Indigenous sovereign protests constitute radical interventions into the operation of state power. Such movements demonstrate how racisms and racial discrimination fundamentally sustain state power and spatial practices of detention and exclusion of minority communities from public and civil life. Race is typically separated from the law and formal criminal procedures because the abolition of explicitly racist policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of race. Critical scholarship on the prison industrial complex, settler colonialism and criminal justice advocates have all argued for the necessity of viewing race and racisms as a central component of state power and its spatial regulation of minority communities (see Wilson Gilmore, 2007; Davis, 2003; Nash, 2011).

A significant, but small, body of scholarship exists on the historical continuities between the use of prisons and punishment on Indigenous peoples in the early phases of settler colonialism, expressed “in the form of political, social and economic neglect” (Wadiwel, 2007, p. 166), and contemporary practices of detainment with respect to peoples of colour, migrants and asylum seekers. Other activist and scholarly work has pointed to the over-representation of First Nations peoples and communities of colour in prison systems as tied to the maintenance of white and racialised systems of privilege alongside the sustenance of privatised security and surveillance economies (see Sudbury, 2002; Golash-Boza, 2009; Behrendt, Cunneen & Libesman, 2009). Sovereign Indigenous movements and activism reveal important insights into dominant forms of geo-political state power and capitalism alongside the revelation of alternative community and political arrangements of welcome and social wellbeing for citizens and non-citizens. By bringing questions of Indigenous sovereignty to bear on critiques and activism around the prison industrial complex, the conference and workshops, aim to contribute Indigenous and decolonising approaches to anti-racist understandings and contestations of state power as manifested through carceral practices of spatial management and exclusion of minority communities and peoples of colour.

Presentations and panels are invited to address, but are not limited to, the following:

  • surveillance and imprisonment in settler colonial and imperial histories
  • detention and surveillance of migrants and refugees
  • racial profiling and state violence towards ethnic and marginalised communities
  • geographies of torture in the ‘war on terror’
  • the geopolitics of homonormativity and pinkwashing
  • hate crimes and the role of imprisonment as a key modality through which rights protections are secured
  • intersectionality and social and political forms of exclusion
  • community and activist challenges to state violence and detention
  • corporeality, race and biometrics
  • capitalism, race and incarceration
  • the prison industrial complex
  • digital forms of enclosure and surveillance
  • race, racialisation and geography
  • climate change, migration and asylum
  • protest camps and state surveillance

Please note that general submissions on the theme of space, race, and embodiment are welcome. We also invite workshops, creative performance and other community forms of participation.

Abstracts of 200w with an accompanying 50w bio can be sent to:

We will accept abstracts on a rolling basis until April 10, 2016.

Conference organisers:

Dr. Holly Randell-Moon

Mahdis Azarmandi

(University of Otago)

Conference committee:

Jade Aikman

Tonga Karena

Bell Murphy

Anne Russell

Matiu Workman

(University of Otago)


Behrendt, L., Cunneen, C., & Libesman, T. (2009). Indigenous Legal Relations in Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Davis, A. Y. (2003). Are Prisons Obsolete? New York: Seven Stories Press.

Golash-Boza, T. (2009, March). The Immigration Industrial Complex: Why We Enforce Immigration Policies Destined to Fail. Sociology Compass, 3(2), 295-309.

McIntyre, M., & Nast, H. J. (Ed.). (2011, November). Bio(necro)polis: Marx, Surplus Populations, and the Spatial Dialectics of Reproduction and ‘Race’. Antipode, 43(5).

Sudbury, J. (2002). Celling Black Bodies: Black Women in the Global Prison Industrial Complex.Feminist Review, 70, 57-74.

Wadiwel, D. (2007). “A Particularly Governmental Form of Warfare”: Palm Island and Australian Sovereignty. In S. Perera (Ed.), Our Patch: Enacting Australian Sovereignty Post-2001(pp. 149–66). Perth: Network Books.

Wilson Gilmore, R. (2007). Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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