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Lecture: Necro-Subjection: On making Dead to Let Live – Dr. Gilberto Rosas
October 25, 2017 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Necro-Subjection: On making Dead to let Live
Although the distinction between politically versus economically motivated alienage cuts too neat and lends itself to unfolding governmentalities, forced removals and refugee survivals increasingly characterize the “brown” traffic between Mexico and the United States. These new immigrant types interrupt established social hegemonies about Mexican immigration to the United States. They flee the privatized sovereigns of drug wars and their linkages with the governments, rather pursuing the promises of better wages or the American dream. Drawing on engaged ethnographic research, including giving expert testimony in “removal” or deportation proceedings, this essay theorizes the contradictory, deep entanglements of the shifting politics of death and life occurring at the level of the subject in such proceedings and beyond. It will underline how people must be made dead to let live, reverberating with prominent positions in the debates on biopolitics, when claiming political asylum at a moment of extreme anti-immigrant anxiety, when only some 2% of Mexican asylum cases succeed. Their lives and homelands must be represented as full of despair, pain, and hopelessness, mired in relations of precarity and dispossession, their governments full of graft and corruption. Living there is tantamount to living death. These representations affirm imperial racisms and liberal presumptions of racial, cultural, or civilizational superiority in acts of activist scholarship, while pointing to the contemporary modalities of subjection in sites beyond.