Adam Mckeown’s book Melancholy Order poses an important historical intervention in the emergence and consolidation of global border regimes.
In particular, our reading group discussed how the modern state monopoly on what constitutes legitimate means of movement had deep roots in European empires, and the consequences of this on reordering a range of mobilities, populations and regions throughout the world. Some members introduced the racialisation of modern borders in the West, and the implications this had on entire populations.
The making of a bordered world has had sharp implications, visible for instance in the elaborate visa and passport regimes that perpetuate forms of inequality with enduring socioeconomic effects. In a way, then, political decolonisation over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries did not necessarily create a more open world, but often reinvented geopolitical asymmetries through a newer language of nation states. In turn, many postcolonial nation states in Asia and Africa honed their own racialised others, with comparable exclusionary mechanisms.
Reading group event details
Date: 26th July 2021
Title: Asian Migration and the Globalisation of Borders
Chair: Somak Biswas
Adam Mckeown’s book Melancholy Order was discussed at a reading group by Reading Decoloniality members prior to the existence of this publication. For this reason, this post is structured differently to what you may know to be the publication style.
McKeown, A.M. (2008) Melancholy order: Asian migration and the globalization of borders. Columbia University Press.