Kassel University, Germany

I was one of a handful of non-European scholars invited to participate in the 2012 “kritnet” conference (link to kritnet:http://kritnet.org/) held at Kassel Univesity in Germany. I shared some of my initial reflections on my research on race and immigration in New Jersey on a panel entitled,MORNING PANEL “THE RACISM OF BORDER REGIMES“

 Info on the Conference: “The “Network for Critical Border and Migration Regime Research” (kritnet) was founded in 2008 to support critical views on, and create knowledge about, migration, racism, and border policies from a decidedly emancipatory perspective. Situated at the intersection of university, art and movements, the network seeks to combine these different approaches to achieve a broader scope and trigger public interventions. Presently over 200 individuals are involved in the network. This interest points to the urgency in creating a critical and interdisciplinary discursive space that addresses the issues at hand. It is even more significant given that conventional academic research and education in this field are influenced by dominant, state‐centered discourses.

Since its founding, the network has already received a reputation in the academic and political realm with its biannual meetings, networking projects, publications and political interventions in the public discourse. Examples are its statements “Democracy instead of Integration”(http://demokratie‐statt‐integration.kritnet.org), a reaction to the Sarrazin theses, and “Freedom instead of Frontex”(http://kritnet.org/2011/freiheit‐statt‐frontex/).

Now is the time to confront the globalization of the European border and migration regime with an engaged knowledge production at the juncture of activism, culture, and scholarly work. Now is the time to confront EU‐financed, neoliberal research and its hegemonic knowledge production with another notion of academic knowledge production and to pursue practical steps for networking. The context of the dOCUMENTA (13) is an excellent venue for this task, and offers several connective points. Furthermore, this is a fitting occasion to bring our ideas to the public. The goal of kritnet’s 8th meeting is to internationalize our debates. We are inviting well‐known scholars, activists, and artists from different countries and regions around the world to share their experiences, research approaches, and ideas of organizing.”

Some interesting things I found:

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No Border Camps have been organized by immigrant rights’ advocates in Europe for some time now. Activists literally set up camp in border zones to demonstrate against the stepping up of militarization and surveillance around “Fortress Europe.”

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Organized by activists in Berlin, I thought this was a cool idea. We in the U.S. might call activities like this “Multicultural Festivals” but I thought that calling a festival an “Anti-Racist Festival” gives it a political edge that is important.