Welcome to the 7th Annual Student-Organized Global Affairs Conference.

Bodies at Borders: the Lived Effects of Settler-Colonialism

Monday, January 13, 2020


  • Kamli Faour ’21
  • Cara Levine ’20
  • Mari Odoy ’20

Bordering is a process of restricting human movement in ways that are increasingly recognized as unethical and partisan. This conference aims to dig deeply into the mechanisms by which borders are established and enforced, as well as how these borders affect various populations across the globe. We wish to contextualize the global phenomenon of bordering in ways that speak to students in the humanities and the sciences; bridging the gap between BiHall and Davis in a manner that truly embodies the mission of a liberal arts curriculum.

This year, the annual conference takes the form of a summit, asking participants to engage critically with the material and be heavily involved in the discussions that take place. The purpose of the summit is to address the ways in which borders and their consequences affect human populations, including the Native/Indigenous people of the United States and Canada, those confined by bordering in Central and South America, and circumscribed Middle Eastern populations.

Two keynote speakers, Marie Cruz Soto of New York University and Thomas Abowd of Tufts University, will speak to the issue of bordering as it relates to the regions of their expertise—Puerto Rico and Palestine, respectively. Following the first keynote lecture, the audience, seated at roundtables, will have a chance to interact directly with experts to discuss the topics at hand. Middlebury College professors from various disciplines will be scattered around the room to lead conversations that bring their own research interests to bear on the topic. After the second lecture, another break-out discussion will take place, this time led by Indigenous multimedia journalist and organizer Desiree Kane, a Miwok woman with experience documenting the effects of these issues on Indigenous communities. Throughout the night, audience members will be invited to voice their questions and opinions about the subject matter.