READ: Utopia / Dystopia and Contamination - Conferencing in the Wake of the “Refugee Crisis” (Heath Cabot)

Political and Legal Anthropology Review

Heath Cabot

University of Pittsburgh


“One thing I have learned over my years of working on Mediterranean mobilities is that one cannot enter into a discussion on these issues and expect to remain uncontaminated; certainly not in a conference-like context, where debate and discussion not only have moments of magic but—we hope—also move into uncomfortable or critical terrains. The sea, as we discussed at one point in the conference (in response to Miriam Ticktin’s contribution on being under water), does a terrible job of segmenting out the pure from the impure. Infection and contaminants (chemical, organic, or otherwise) spread more easily in the water, even as the sea cleanses. Kosmatopoulos and Elshakry put together a brave and at times even radical event, seeking to rethink the sea in this utopian/dystopian fluid space, with all of its messiness, horror, compromise, and promise.”

readNikolas Kosmatopoulos