PENS-318 / 4 crédits

Enseignant(s): Joost Stéphane, Dietz Dieter, Mompean Botias Estefania, Lerch Mathias, Heller Charles

Langue: Anglais


This course will introduce students to the causes and shifting modalities of border violence, focusing on three border zones across the Euro-African borderscape, and the way spatial analysis, remote sensing and architectural intervention can be used to document and contest this violence.



Borders, migration, (counter-)forensics, human rights, violence, territory, body, spatial analysis, remote sensing, traces, sentinels, visualization, (im)mobility, (in)visibility, potentialities, solidarity, hospitality, refuge.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Discuss contemporary debates and approaches in relation to mobility, borders, spatial practice and the critical forensic approach
  • Identify how the production of space shapes violence and how spatial analysis in turn can offer a unique edge in analyzing and contesting it
  • Conduct individual and collaborative spatial interdisciplinary research combining humanities and social science methods with creative practice and visual representation
  • Discuss inextricably theoretical, political and methodological questions in relation to the different tools and methods used to register traces of violence and in particular remote sensing technologies
  • Use of Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA), and Geovisualization (GVIS) technologies
  • Design how infrastructures that enable and/or constrain mobility may be transformed to mitigate border violence and foster mobility justice

Teaching methods

Towards spatial analysis, we will examine how spatial analysis, GIS and remote sensing can be used to document and contest border violence in three distinct but interconnected border zones where European states seek to prevent migrants' onward movement. Students will build on data compiled by the Forensic Oceanography project, and the methods developed by the LASIG Lab on geographic information, spatial analysis through Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA), and Geovisualization (GVIS).

Towards spatial transformation, students will focus on transcalar spatial transformations (body-territory). We will develop concepts such as Sentinel Architectures and extend them to architectural practices from the collective tacit experience of territory and modes of survival. Through this, we will focus on the potentialities and possibilities of the border to motivate a process from hostile spaces to niches of hospitality. In the process, we will explore concrete proposals to transform (im)mobility infrastructures operating in the selected border zones to undermine border violence and enable mobility justice.



Weizman, Eyal. 2014. "Forensics: Introduction", In Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth, ed. Forensic Architecture. Berlin: Sternberg Press, pp.9-32.


Keenan, Thomas. 2014. "Getting the Dead to Tell Me What Happened: Justice, Prosopopeia, and Forensic Afterlives", In Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth, ed. Forensic Architecture. Berlin: Sternberg Press, pp.35-55.


Winter, Yves. 2012. "Violence and Visibility", New Political Science, 34, no. 2: pp.195-202.


McLoughlin, Daniel. 2016. "Post-Marxism and the Politics of Human Rights: Lefort, Badiou, Agamben, Rancière", Law Critique, 27: pp.303-321.


Balibar, Etienne. 2002. Politics and the Other Scene. London: Verso. See chap. 4 "What is a Border ?"


De Genova, Nicholas. 2013. "Spectacles of migrant "illegality": the scene of exclusion, the obscene of inclusion." Ethnic and Racial Studies 36.7: 1180-1198.


Mbembe, Achille. 2019. "Bodies as borders". FROM THE EUROPEAN SOUTH 4


Achiume, E. Tendayi. 2019. "The Postcolonial Case for Rethinking Borders." Dissent 66.3: pp.27-32.


Mezzadra, Sandro. 2019. "Sealing Borders? Rethinking Border Studies" , In Hard Times, Working Paper Series B/ORDERS IN MO-TION, no. 3, Frankfurt (Oder): Viadrina.


Heller, Charles and Pezzani, Lorenzo. 2014. "Liquid Traces: Investigating the Deaths of Migrants at the Maritime Frontier of the EU", In Forensic Architecture (ed.), Forensis : The Architecture of Public Truth. Berlin: Sternberg Press.


Mann, Itamar. 2018. "Maritime Legal Black Holes: Migration and Rightlessness in International Law" , The European Journal of International Law Vol. 29, no. 2


Parks, Lisa. 2009. "Digging into Google Earth: An analysis of "Crisis in Darfur", Geoforum 40: 535-545.


Kurgan, Laura. 2013. Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics, New York: Zone Books.


Haraway, Donna. 1988. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 575-599.


Weizman, Eyal. 2019. Open Verification. E-flux.


Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo sacer: sovereign power and bare life. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.


Baldwin, Andrew, et Giovanni Bettini. 2017. Life Adrift: Climate Change, Migration, Critique.


Diken, Bülent. 2004. "From Refugee Camps to Gated Communities: Biopolitics and the End of the City." Citizenship Studies 8(1):83-106. doi: 10.1080/1362102042000178373.


Gabrys, Jennifer. 2014. "Programming environments: environmentality and citizen sensing in the smart city", Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2014, volume 32.


Herscher, Andrew. 2017. Displacements: Architecture and Refugee. Cambridge, MA, USA: Sternberg Press.


Massumi, Brian. 2009. "National Enterprise Emergency: Steps Toward an Ecology of Powers." Theory, Culture & Society 26(6):153-85. doi: 10.1177/0263276409347696.


Neimanis, Astrida and Rachel Loewen Walker. 2014. "Weathering: Climate Change and the "Thick Time" of Transcorporeality." Hypatia, 29: 558-575.


Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. 2017. "A Threat to Holocene Resurgence Is a Threat to Livability." In The Anthropology of Sustainability, edited by Marc Brightman and Jerome Lewis, 51-65. New York: Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability. Palgrave Macmillan.


Dans les plans d'études

  • Semestre: Printemps
  • Forme de l'examen: Pendant le semestre (session d'été)
  • Matière examinée: Border Forensics
  • Cours: 1 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines
  • Projet: 3 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines

Semaine de référence