Dec 4, 2023

NYAS Lecture December 4th: A Migration Crisis? Re-collecting the Racialized Assemblages of the Border

On Monday, 4 December 2023 6:30-8:00 p.m. EST the New York Academy of Sciences will host, "A Migration Crisis? Re-collecting the Racialized Assemblages of the Border." Distinguished lecture presented by Yannis Hamilakis with comments offered by Naor Ben-Yehoyada.
  • New York Academy of Sciences


In this talk, I will present and discuss on-going work on the Greek-Turkish border in the framework of which I record and analyze border-crossing, bordering practices, and the assemblage of the border as material, sensorial and embodied phenomena. This border has been, for several years now, at the center of what has been termed a European “migration crisis”, a phrase that masks a crisis of whiteness and Eurocentrism and hides the racialized character of bordering practices. I direct sensorial attention to the materiality of the assemblage of the border in both, its top-down constructions and its reshaping by bottom-up initiatives and practices, especially by people-on-the-move. Much of my discussion will focus on the camp of Moria, the largest refugee camp/”reception” facility in Europe which was burnt down by fire in September 2020. Far from being a typical migrant or refugee camp, this facility was a complex material reality, suspended between spectacle and surveillance. While it was known widely as one of the worst such camps, detailed work on its materiality illustrates not only the structural violence at its core but also the agency, resilience and initiative of the people-on-the-move who managed to reshape it.

Where:  New York University, Department of Anthropology
Kriser Screening Room
25 Waverly Place, Ground Floor; NY, NY 10003
or via Zoom

Click here to register if you would like to attend in person.

Click here to register if you would like to attend via Zoom.

Featured Speaker

Yannis Hamilakis is a Joukowsky Family Professor of Archaeology and Professor of Modern Greek Studies at Brown University, and has taught previously at the University of Wales-Lampeter and the University of Southampton in the UK. His main research and teaching interests include affect and the bodily senses, material memory and multi-temporality, coloniality, race and nationhood, and the materiality of border crossing and migration. He co-directs an excavation and archaeological ethnography project in Thessaly (Greece) at the primarily Neolithic site of Koutroulou Magoula, and since 2016 he has been carrying out fieldwork on the materiality of contemporary migration based on the border island of Lesvos. His books include The Nation and its Ruins: Antiquity, Archaeology, and National Imagination in Greece (2007), Archaeology and the Senses: Human Experience, Memory, and Affect (2013), Archaeology, Nation, and Race: Confronting the Past, Decolonizing the Future in Greece and Israel (2022, with Raphael Greenberg), as well as several edited volumes, including The New Nomadic Age: Archaeologies of Forced and Undocumented Migration (2018). His most recent work on migration can be found at: