Meeting Participants

a List of the speakers that will present at the 1st summer meeting in lesvos, greece, along with the titles & Abstracts of their talks.



Bridget Anderson

Bridget Anderson is Professor of Mobilities, Migration and Citizenship at the University of Bristol. After a degree in Philosophy and Modern Languages she worked organising undocumented domestic workers in London in the 1980s. She walked backwards into academia: obtaining a grant to explore the situation of migrant domestic workers in Europe, and needing to find an institutional home for the grant, someone suggested she do the research as a phd and bring the grant to a university. Since then she has continued to combine her academic work with an engagement with migrants’ organisations and trades unions. She hates potted bios.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Bridget Anderson's Talk, titled:

"Let all know how empty and worthless is the power of kings"...A Sea View


Heath Cabot & Salvatore Poier

Heath Cabot is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh.  She is the author of On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece (Penn Press 2014), based on research from 2005-2013 on the Greek asylum procedure. She is currently writing  a second book manuscript on changing meanings of citizenship in Greece under austerity through the lens of community based healthcare (specifically, social solidarity pharmacies and clinics).

Salvatore Poier is Visiting Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He does research on piracy and the production of criminality; theory of law and technology; and solidarity in times of neoliberalism. His interests range from privately owned public spaces; to hacking; to platforms (real and virtual, on land and on sea) as epistemological tools.


Click on the image to download The Abstract of Heath Cabot's and Salvatore Poier's Talk, titled:

The Mediterranean Remapped: A Platform of Potentialities


Marwa Elshakry

Marwa Elshakry is an Associate Professor in the History Department at Columbia University who writes on a variety of topics in Mediterranean histories, the history of science and the history of ideas. She teaches a range of subjects from the History of Utopia and the History of Emotions to the Archives of Colonialism and Orientalism and Its Others. She is currently working on a project on universal histories of Islam and the history of the history of science while also enrolled in a psychoanalytic training program to investigate questions of trauma, memory and forgetting. She is now concurrently embarking on a new history of the Mediterranean Sea and its renegades and revolutionaries from the eighteenth century to present.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Marwa Elshakry' Talk, titled:



Sarah Green

Sarah Green is a social anthropologist from the University of Helsinki, with regional specialisation in the Balkans, Greece and the Mediterranean. In recent years, she has been working on borders and location, particularly in the Mediterranean region, trying to work out how the significance of being somewhere in particular has been changing. As part of her current research, Crosslocations, she is investigating the management of animal movements across the Mediterranean.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Sarah Green's Talk, titled:

Tracing the Debris


Victoria Hattam

Victoria Hattam is a Professor of Politics at the New School for Social Research working on contemporary political economy both across the US-Mexico border and within global supply chains. Drawing on a mix of political history, photography, and material cultural analysis, I examine the often overlooked policies that allow capital to move. Cross border sweeping, swift codes, financial passporting, and Bexit’s “principles of accumulation” minimize border crossings for some at the very moment that border security is intensifying. Notions of liquidity are central to the naturalization of capital mobility; liquid assets, after all, are those that move. I look forward to exploring conceptions of liquidity theoretically, empirically, and imaginatively through FLOATS.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Victoria Hattam's Talk, titled:



Venetia Kantsa

Venetia Kantsa is Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, at the University of the Aegean. Her research interests focus on anthropology of kinship and family, anthropology of assisted reproduction, anthropology of gender and sexuality, and anthropology of science. Furthermore, she is interested in the history and theory of kinship in anthropology, in gender epistemology and methodology, in feminist and queer theory, in Greek ethnography, and ethnography of the Mediterranean region. Her recent research addresses assisted reproduction and shifting conceptualizations of kinship and science, the distribution of authoritative knowledge in the context of emerging social and technological transformations, and interrelations among medical technology, law and religion. She is an experienced sailing crewmember and motorboat skipper and participation into FLOATS enables her to rethink anthropological theory, -kinship in particular-, in relation to perspective(s) of/from the sea.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Venetia Kantsa's Talk, titled:

Sea topology and kinship (re)Considerations


Ilham Khuri-Makdisi

Ilham Khuri-Makdisi is Associate Professor in Middle East and World History at Northeastern University in Boston.  She is the author of The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914 (University of California Press, 2010), as well as book chapters and articles on Arab and Ottoman intellectual and urban history, including “The Conceptualization of the Social in late 19th early 20th century Arabic thought and language,” in M Pernau and D Sachsenmaier, eds., Global Conceptual History: A Reader (Bloomsbury, 2016). She has a long-standing interest in Mediterranean history and has taught graduate courses on it in the past. Her own work underlines connections and linkages between various shores of the Mediterranean in the late 19th century.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Ilham Khuri-Makdisi's Talk, titled:

Labor Migration and the sea: histories, historiographies, and possible lessons from the Mediterranean and the IndIan Ocean

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Nikolas Kosmatopoulos

Nikolas Kosmatopoulos teaches International Affairs, Politics and Anthropology at the American University of Beirut. He became a political anthropologist when his previous efforts - as tour guide, Santa Claus, economist, and trotskyist among others - did not yield a better understanding of the complexity of the world. Subsequent teaching and research posts in Berlin, Budapest, Cairo, Zurich, Geneva, Paris, New York, Barcelona and Beirut helped considerably, but the world kept expanding. Currently he finalizes a manuscript about the expert politics of violence in Lebanon tentatively called Master Peace. Since the participant observation on board the Gaza Freedom Flotilla he left his heart at the sea off Palestine.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Nikolas Kosmatopoulos's Talk, titled:

All that solidarity does not melt into the sea


Laura Y Liu

Laura Y. Liu is Associate Professor of Global Studies & Geography at The New School. She trained as an architect and geographer. Her research broadly focuses on community and labor organizing; migration and urban development; and the interplay of industry with art and design. In particular, much of her work focuses on the underexamined relationship between political organizing and the production of socio-spatial knowledge, especially around uneven working and living conditions. She is writing a book, Sweatshop City, which looks at the continuing relevance of the sweatshop in New York City and other post-Fordist, globalized contexts. For FLOATS, she is drawing from recent collaborative research along the US-Mexico border. Her interests there include the shipbreaking industry (the breaking down of massive merchant and military ships) and the role of seaports as land-water interfaces that are heavily militarized.


Daniela Melfa

Daniela Melfa is Associate Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Catania. She specialised in North African History and her current work focuses on the trajectory of the Left in independent Tunisia. The idea of focusing on the concept of floating fits well into a historical approach that, attentive to dynamism and complexity in the bustling sea of events, distances itself from static theoretical models and schemes.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Daniela Melfa's Talk, titled:

Revisiting (North-African) History Through a Maritime Lens: Notes and Insights


Evthymios Papataxiarchis

Since 1987, Evthymios Papataxiarchis  is teaching Social Anthropology in the University of the Aegean where he has been advisor to the Governing Body of the University for the establishment of the first Department of Social Anthropology in Greece. He has been President of this Department and member of the Senate from 2002 to 2005 and served in various committees including the Research Council University of Aegean. Evthymios Papataxiarchis is currently directing the Postgraduate Program ‘Social and Historical Anthropology’, the International Postgraduate Summer School ‘Cultures, Migrations, Borders’ and the Laboratory of Ethnography.  His recent work, inspired by long term fieldwork in a border village community on the island of Lesbos, is on migration and the management of cultural difference. His is currently on sabbatical, attached as a Senior Research Fellow to the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL, and working on the structures of ‘humanitarian governace’ and the socio-spatial restructuring effected at the local and regional level by the current refugee crisis.


Lorenzo Pezzani & CHARLES HELLER

Charles Heller is a researcher and filmmaker whose work has a long-standing focus on the politics of migration. In 2015, he completed a Ph.D. in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he continues to be affiliated as a research fellow, focusing on the politics of mobility across the Mediterranean Sea. He is currently conducting a postdoctoral research supported by the Swiss National Fund (SNF) at the Graduate Institute, Geneva and the University of Bologna.

Lorenzo Pezzani is an architect and researcher. In 2015, he completed a Ph.D. in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is currently Lecturer and leads the MA studio in Forensic Architecture. His work deals with the spatial politics and visual cultures of migration, with a particular focus on the geography of the ocean.

Working together since 2011, Heller and Pezzani co-founded Forensic Oceanography, a collaborative project that has developed innovative methodologies to document the conditions that lead to migrants’ deaths at sea. They also launched the WatchTheMed platform, a tool enabling nongovernmental actors to exercise a critical right to look at the EU’s maritime frontier. They have authored a number of human rights reports, including the "Report on the Left-to-Die Boat" (2012); the “Death by Rescue” (2016) report; and the “Blaming the Rescuers” (2017) report, all of which have had a major impact both within the fields of migration and border studies, nongovernmental politics and the public sphere. Based on their empirical analysis, they have lectured internationally and generated a number of theoretically innovative articles published in several edited volumes and published articles in a number of international journals such as Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies, the Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales, ACME, Spheres, Global Media and Communication, Philosophy of Photography, New Geographies and the Harvard Design Magazine. Their videos "Liquid Traces" (2014) and “Death by Rescue” (2016) and “Mare Clausum” (2018) have been exhibited internationally, including at the HKW, the Venice Biennale, the MACBA and the MOMA and the ICA.


Abir Saksouk-Sasso

Abir Saksouk graduated as an architect in 2005, and later did her masters in Urban Development Planning. She has been involved in several research projects in Lebanon, including the history of informal suburbs, the social production of shared space, and housing rights. She produced related publications, such as “This Sea Is Mine” and “Making Spaces for the Public: The Story of the Beirut's Dalieh”. Her interests include exploring how community engagement could be employed in planning and actively shaping the future of cities. She is co-founder of Dictaphone Group (2009) and Public Works Studio (2012).

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Abir Saksouk-Sasso's Talk, titled:

The Legacy of Old Laws and the Fight for the Commons in Lebanon


Nandita Sharma

Nandita Sharma is an Associate Professor of Racism, Migration and Transnationalism in the Department of Sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is the author of Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of 'Migrant Workers' in Canada (2006: University of Toronto Press) and a forthcoming book, Home Rule: The Partition between Natives and Migrants in the Postcolonial New World Order (Duke University Press). Nandita is active in No Borders networks and works towards the realization of a Global Commons. 

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Nandita Sharma's Talk, titled:

The Oceans, Freedom of Movement and the Struggle for a Global Commons


Radhika Subramaniam

Radhika Subramaniam is a curator and writer who deploys texts, exhibitions and public art interventions as conscious forms of knowledge-making. She is interested in the poetics and politics of crises and surprises, particularly urban crowds, cultures of catastrophe and human-animal relationships.  She is Assistant Professor of Visual Culture at Parsons School for Design/The New School where she was also the first Director/Chief Curator of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center from 2009-2017.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Radhika subramaniam's Talk, titled:

Live Cargo

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Miriam Ticktin

Miriam Ticktin is Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research.  Her research has focused in the broadest sense on what it means to make political claims in the name of a universal humanity.  Ticktin is currently at work on two related book projects: 1) a short book on innocence as a political concept, and how it produces an unending search for purity; 2) a book on practices of containment and sorting at the border, looking at sites such as border walls, spaces of quarantine and ports.  As part of this, she is eager to think about sorting and the sea.

Click on the image to download The Abstract of Miriam Ticktin's Talk, titled:

Seeing from the Sea