MMB Reading Group

The MMB reading group is a forum to discuss migration and mobility related texts that MMB members have enjoyed reading and are keen to debate. It takes place on Wednesday lunchtimes, every one to two months, on Zoom.

Please let Sarah Kunz or the MMB team know if there is an article or book you would like to discuss with the group in the future.

Next Reading Group:

Deporting Black Britons by Luke de Noronha

Wednesday 12th January 2022, 1-2pm online

This month the MMB Reading Group will meet to discuss Deporting Black Britons: Portraits of Deportation to Jamaica by Luke de Noronha (Manchester University Press, 2020).

What is it like to be deported from everything you know, exiled from parents, partners, children and friends? How do people who left Jamaica as infants deal with their forced return? How do ‘Black Britons’ survive once they are returned to Jamaica, and what do their memories of poverty, racist policing and illegality reveal about contemporary Britain?

Based on years of research with deported people and their families, Deporting Black Britons presents stories of survival and hardship in the UK and Jamaica. These intimate portraits testify to the damage wrought by violent borders, opening up wider questions about racism, belonging and deservingness in anti-immigrant times. Visit website for more details.

A registration form will be posted in due course. A Zoom link will be sent out to attendees the evening before. 

To learn more about Luke’s research on this topic listen to his MMB Insights and Sounds interview and read his blogpost from our Race, Nation and Migration series.

Previous Reading Group Books:

No Refuge

November 2021 – No Refuge: Ethics and the Global Refugee Crisis by Serena Parekh (Oxford University Press, 2020).

‘This book confronts the ethical dimension of the global refugee crisis. When most people think of the global refugee crisis, they think of Syrians crossing the Mediterranean in flimsy boats into Europe or caravans of Central Americans arriving at the US border. Yet behind these images there is a second crisis: refuge itself has all but evaporated for millions of people fleeing persecution and violence. Refugees have only three real options—squalid refugee camps, urban slums, or dangerous journeys to seek asylum—and none of these provide access to the minimum conditions of human dignity. No Refuge makes visible to readers the crisis that refugees experience in the twenty-first century: for refugees, there is no refugee.

Worldmaking after Empire

October 2021 – Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination, Adom Getachew, Princeton University Press, 2019

Decolonization revolutionized the international order during the twentieth century. Yet standard histories that present the end of colonialism as an inevitable transition from a world of empires to one of nations—a world in which self-determination was synonymous with nation-building—obscure just how radical this change was. Drawing on the political thought of anticolonial intellectuals and statesmen such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, W.E.B Du Bois, George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, Eric Williams, Michael Manley, and Julius Nyerere, this important new account of decolonization reveals the full extent of their unprecedented ambition to remake not only nations but the world.

Immigration and Freedom

September 2021 – Chandran Kukathas, Immigration and Freedom (Princeton University Press, 2021).

Immigration is often seen as a danger to western liberal democracies because it threatens to undermine their fundamental values, most notably freedom and national self-determination. In this book, however, Chandran Kukathas argues that the greater threat comes not from immigration but from immigration control.

Kukathas shows that immigration control is not merely about preventing outsiders from moving across borders. It is about controlling what outsiders do once in a society: whether they work, reside, study, set up businesses, or share their lives with others.

Drawing the Global Colour Line

June 2021 – Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men’s Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality by Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

In 1900 W. E. B. DuBois prophesied that the colour line would be the key problem of the twentieth century and he later identified one of its principal dynamics: the new religion of whiteness that was sweeping the world. Whereas most historians have confined their studies of race relations to a national framework, this book studies the transnational circulation of people and ideas, racial knowledge and technologies that underpinned the construction of self-styled white men’s countries from South Africa, to North America and Australasia.

Home Rule

May 2021 – Nandita Sharma, Home Rule: National Sovereignty and the Separation of Natives and Migrants (2020, Duke University Press).

Nandita explores how the current political order of nation-states institutionalises the notion that each ‘people’ has its own place in the world by limiting access to national citizenship and authorised immigration. In her recent MMB blog, which draws on the Home Rule, Nandita writes:

‘This national regime of governmentality, which I term the Postcolonial New World Order, co-opted radical anti-colonial demands and replaced them with demands for national sovereignty. Calls for ‘national self-determination’, I argue, perverted demands for the return of expropriated land and for the freedom of labour from exploitative class relations. Instead of decolonisation, people got the postcolonial rule of nation-states.

Mobility Justice

March 2021 – Mimi Sheller, Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes (Verso, 2018)

‘Sheller shows how power and inequality inform the governance and control of movement. She connects the body, street, city, nation, and planet in one overarching theory of the modern, perpetually shifting world. Concepts of mobility are examined on a local level in the circulation of people, resources, and information, as well as on an urban scale, with questions of public transport and “the right to the city.” On the planetary level, she demands that we rethink the reality where tourists and other elites are able to roam freely, while migrants and those most in need are abandoned and imprisoned at the borders.

(B)ordering Britain

January 2021 – Dr Nadine El-Enany to discuss her recent book (B)ordering Britain: Law, Race and Empire (2020, Manchester University Press).

In the first meeting we will be joined by  In this study El-Enany shows how British immigration and nationality law has emerged as an extension of British colonialism. In her own words:

‘Britain’s borders, articulated and policed via immigration laws, maintain the global racial order established by colonialism, whereby colonised peoples are dispossessed of land and resources. They also maintain Britain as a racially and colonially configured space in which the racialised poor are subject to the operation of internal borders and are disproportionately vulnerable to street and state racial terror. Britain is thus not only bordered, but also racially and colonially ordered, through the operation of immigration control’ (El-Enany, 2019).