Affects. Borders. Biopolitics.

Call for conference contributions

August 21-23, 2019

The governance of borders and belonging increasingly occurs through affective forms of biopolitics – be it the politicization of feelings of kinship or the shaping of migration politics in the name of love and fear. Thus, on the heels of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe in 2015, efforts were made to contain and regulate migrants through fear of the racialized male asylum seeker and were distributed through popular representations of sexual harassment and violence perpetrated by (people who were thought to be) asylum seekers. Yet the same ‘refugee crisis’ also gave rise to affective investments of compassion and solidarity as citizen initiatives were mobilized in support of refugees. Furthermore, love, family, and kinship have become battlefields for regulating and containing racialized migrant populations across the Global North, from the implementation of attachment and integration requirements in Denmark to the forced separation of migrant children and parents at the US-Mexico border.

In the light of such developments, scholarship on the regulation of social categories and structural inequalities increasingly considers how such categories and structures are organized through affective economies and in relation to emotional ideals. By the same token, scholarship on biopolitical regulation must consider how the macro- and micro-levels of affective governmentality are imbricated in gendered, racialized, and sexualized structures. In other words: How can we conceptualize and analyse the connections between affect, biopolitics, and borders?

This conference invites researchers from a wide range of disciplines to investigate how and to what effects areas such as nation, migration, borders, belonging, kinship, communities, and diaspora are conceptually and politically governed through affect at a time in which racist and anti-immigration politics are on the rise in many parts of the world.

Confirmed keynote speakers

Freedom of Movements Research Collective & Marronage

Anne-Marie D’Aoust, Professor, Department of Political Science, Université du Québec
à Montréal

Jin Haritaworn, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Rachael Stryker, Associate Professor, Department of Human Development and Women’s Studies, California State University, East Bay

Call for contributions

The conference welcomes proposals that relate to the suggested workshop themes. Proposals can be for individual papers or panels with 3 or 4 presenters. Length of abstract is 150-200 words (15-20 minutes presentation). Abstracts can be emailed to no later than March 15, 2019.

Information about conference registration here:

The conference will take place at University of Copenhagen, South Campus, August 21-23, 2019. The conference venue is wheel chair accessible.

Suggested workshop themes

  • The affective (bio)politics of nations, borders, deportations, and detentions
  • Emotions in border maintenance and state practises
  • Tracing affect in archives and legislation
  • Affective perspectives on assimilation, state racism, and regimes of care
  • Affective dimensions of migration, displacement, and transnational governance
  • Governmentality and the affective regulations of kinship, intimacy, and belonging
  • The politics of displacement and containment through housing policies and gentrification
  • Affective imaginings of a different world: resistance, communities, and political movements
  • Cultural and visual investigations of affective biopolitics.

The Affects. Borders. Biopolitics. conference is a collaboration between Center for Gender Studies at University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Network for Gender Studies at University of Stavanger, Norway, and it is part of the research project Loving Attachment: Regulating Danish Love Migration (LOVA), funded by the Danish Research Council for Independent Research, 2017-2021.

Conference convenors: Mons Bissenbakker, University of Copenhagen; Lene Myong, University of Stavanger; Asta Smedegaaard Nielsen, Aalborg University; Sofie Jeholm, University of Copenhagen.

Questions concerning this call for contributions may be addressed to project leader, Mons Bissenbakker: or student assistant Emma Sofie Klint Wandahl: