AAS Brown Bag Series – Nov. 4 – Maurice Stierl


African American & African Studies Program (AAAS)


Brown Bag Lecture Series

Fall 2015 – Wednesdays, 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Hart Hall 2215

African American & African Studies in

Global, Educational, and Performance Perspectives


Co-Sponsored by Mellon Initiative in Comparative Border Studies


Maurice Stierl, Ph.D.

“Europe’s Failing Project:

Migration Struggles, Border Violence and Solidarity Activism”

More than half a million people crossed the Mediterranean Sea and reached the territories of the EU in the first nine months of 2015. Estimates are that about 3000 travellers drowned at sea or died when seeking to overcome other border obstacles. As a reaction to maritime disasters and dramatically rising numbers of arrivals, as well as the continuously violent conflicts in places such as Syria, Libya and Ukraine, EU member states and institutions furthered their policies of deterrence, inter alia by declaring war on smuggler networks operating in Libya. Efforts to securitise borders, to deter and criminalise human movement seem increasingly desperate in the light of the stubborn will of millions to move toward central and northern Europe. Due to these unprecedented mobilities, the existing European system of population control has collapsed, leading EU member states to declare states of exception and resurrect and militarise national borders. While anti-migrant groups and right-wing populism are on the rise amongst European societies, we also witness political mobilisations in solidarity with people on the move. As a member of the activist network ‘Watch The Med Alarm Phone’ which created a ‘hotline’ for people in distress at sea, I will re-narrate some of the experience made in our first year of existence during which we were able to assist thousands of travellers in situations of acute emergency when attempting to cross the most deadly borderzone of the world.

Dr. Maurice Stierl is Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Davis. His research focuses on migration and border struggles in contemporary Europe and is broadly situated in the disciplines of International Relations, International Political Sociology, and Border Studies. He concluded his doctoral research in 2014 at the University of Warwick and is the author of the journal article ‘‘No One is Illegal!’ – Resistance and the Politics of Discomfort” (2012), published in Globalizations. His forthcoming publications will appear in the journals Citizenship Studies, Political Geography, Global Society, and Antipode,as well as in a volume edited by Nicholas De Genova. Dr. Stierl is a member of the activist project Watch The Med Alarm Phone and the research collectives Kritnet, MobLab, Authority & Political Technologies, as well as a co-editor of Movements.

AAS Brown Bag Lectuer Series flyer_1021.pdf