ANANYA ROY: I thought we’d start with an ongoing line of inquiry in your work that has been so influential for me and so many of my students, which is your argument about the legal production of migrant illegality. So tell us a little bit more about how you would like us to think about migrant illegality and why that might matter for how we study poverty and inequality?
NICHOLAS DE GENOVA: Well just to briefly offer a bit of background, you know my work originated as an investigation of Mexican migration to the United States. One of the inevitable questions that emerges at the very start of such an investigation has to do with the ways in which Mexicans have been produced historically as the iconic, so called, “illegal alien” – how Mexicans in particular have come to occupy this dubious position of being, you know, effectively synonymous with migrant illegality. That took me on a journey into the legal history behind US immigration law and border enforcement practices….
Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography, and Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Relational Poverty Network.
Nicholas De Genova is a leading scholar in Border and Migration Studies. An Anthropologist by training, Professor De Genova has had a decisive influence in shaping our understanding of the role of border-making in the constitution of nationalisms. His work stretches across the North Atlantic, casting critical scrutiny on both the United States and Europe.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.