Kennedy Lecture in Global Social Issues

Kennedy Lecture in Global Social Issues introduces the Trent and broader communities to exemplary scholars and leaders engaged in issues of social justice that have global dimensions.

Founded by Trent alumnus Bruce Kennedy '66, this endowed lecture aims to provide a focal point for discussions that can lead to a better understanding of our world, our place within it, and an examination of how to improve our engagement with key global issues.

The death of asylum and asylum’s afterlives

Alison Mountz

Laurier Research Chair in Global Migration, Wilfrid Laurier University

Alison MountzThis lecture begins by explaining shifts in geographies of asylum-seeking that have transpired in recent decades, including shifting border enforcement that curtails access to protection. People are travelling great distances, crossing multiple borders, and encountering proliferating forms of enforcement and stasis along the way, as they navigate border externalization; detention on islands; and racialized practices, policies, and geographies of exclusion. Researchers and activists have mapped these shifts, arguing that they amount to the erasure and death of people seeking asylum or the death of asylum itself. As more 'durable' solutions recede, more informal arrangements take hold in the restructuring of international protection. How do these particular geographical arrangements extend colonial histories and capitalize on militarized landscapes? And what are we left with at the confluence of historically high rates of displacement and the erosion of access to protection? What is the afterlife of state protection itself, and what roles are Canada and the United States playing? This talk explores new policy experiments and their intimate geopolitics, contending with what lies beyond asylum's afterlives. 

Date: Friday, February 3, 2023
Time: 3:00 p.m. 
Venue - Room 201, Lady Eaton College, Trent University

About Alison Mountz

Alison Mountz is a professor of geography and Laurier Research Chair in Global Migration at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her work explores how people cross borders, access migration and asylum policies, survive detention, resist war, and create safe havens. Dr. Mountz's books include Seeking Asylum: Human Smuggling and Bureaucracy at the Border (University of Minnesota, awarded the Meridian Book Prize); Boats, Borders, and Bases: Race, the Cold War, and the Rise of Migration Detention in the United States (University of California, co-authored with Dr. Jenna Loyd); and The death of asylum: hidden geographies of the enforcement archipelago (Minnesota, awarded the Globe Book Award). Mountz edits Politics & Space, hosts the podcast Displacements, and directs Haven, a lab designed to preserve and share migration-related data. She is a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, held a Canada Research Chair in Global Migration at Laurier University, and the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professorship of Canadian Studies at Harvard University. 

To learn more, please see the publisher's website with information about Alison Mountz latest book, The Death of Asylum: Hidden Geographies of the Enforcement Archipelago.

For more information, contact Babin Joy, at