New Books in European Studies: Conversation with Alison Mountz

Investigating the global system of detention centers that imprison asylum seekers and conceal persistent human rights violationsThe Death of Asylum: Hidden Geographies of the Enforcement Archipelago (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) arrives at an extraordinarily consequential moment for the future of asylum protections. Even as more and more people around the world find themselves displaced and endangered by violent conflict, climate change, and material deprivation, the small set of countries that once welcomed refugees and asylum seekers have closed themselves off. From the outside, we see Fortress Europe, kids in cages, and the criminalization of asylum seekers--but look closer, and there are far more elaborate geographical games taking place to effectively erase the possibility of asylum. In this award-winning book, Mountz traces the global chain of remote detention centers used by states of the Global North to confine migrants fleeing violence and poverty, using cruel measures that, if unchecked, will lead to the death of asylum as an ethical idea, along with the continued death of asylum seekers themselves.

Alongside her written work, Mountz and her colleague Kim Rygiel have started a podcast called Displacements that follows ongoing ongoing scholarship and activism in the migration space. Alongside her collaborate Lisa Molomot, she has released a documentary film called Safe Haven that follows Vietnam-war era resistors who sought protection in Canada.

Listen to the interview at New Books in European Studies.