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Islands of sovereignty: Haitian migration and the borders of empire.

While excavating this history, I focus on the cosmological dimensions of what I call "law space" practices and discourses in order to show how efforts to reconfigure the legal armature of nation-state spatiality can refashion the contours of the worlds in which various subjects circulate. In this particular instance, the history of Haitian migration and Haitian rights lawfare is uniquely illuminating, because it sheds light on the medicalized geographies, the sovereign anxieties, and the liberal imaginaries of substantive nation-state self-fashioning that pre-existed but also prefigured the legal shifts of the contemporary, post-9/11 moment. In order to investigate these histories, I interrogate the production of legal framing narratives and ideologies in sites ranging from federal court houses to asylum pre-screening stations at Guantanamo Bay. By tying the intricate but often haphazard processes through which such legal edifices are established to the anxieties of eroding sovereignty and imaginaries of threatening social and biological pathologies that often drive them, I show how new spatio-temporal incarnations of the nation-state arose in the border laboratories of Haitian rights lawfare.

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  • "While excavating this history, I focus on the cosmological dimensions of what I call "law space" practices and discourses in order to show how efforts to reconfigure the legal armature of nation-state spatiality can refashion the contours of the worlds in which various subjects circulate. In this particular instance, the history of Haitian migration and Haitian rights lawfare is uniquely illuminating, because it sheds light on the medicalized geographies, the sovereign anxieties, and the liberal imaginaries of substantive nation-state self-fashioning that pre-existed but also prefigured the legal shifts of the contemporary, post-9/11 moment. In order to investigate these histories, I interrogate the production of legal framing narratives and ideologies in sites ranging from federal court houses to asylum pre-screening stations at Guantanamo Bay. By tying the intricate but often haphazard processes through which such legal edifices are established to the anxieties of eroding sovereignty and imaginaries of threatening social and biological pathologies that often drive them, I show how new spatio-temporal incarnations of the nation-state arose in the border laboratories of Haitian rights lawfare."@en
  • "In this dissertation, I examine how U.S. responses to the arrival of Haitian asylum seekers on American shores created a laboratory of sorts in which exceptional but now foundational and exportable jurisdictional and border policing paradigms were tested and normalized. The dissertation traces the historical development of this border regime through the lens of the Haitian rights lawfare of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s—i.e., the sustained legal battles between public interest cause lawyers and government attorneys over the administration of South Florida's then nascent asylum and border control regime. These highly politicized public law litigation strategies sought to tame a resurgent sovereign power by subjecting it to the reasoned deliberation of ostensibly neutral, apolitical courts. In response, the architects of U.S. border management programs were forced to wrestle with the tensions between the legitimacy concerns of regnant rule of law ideologies and the search for law spaces more hospitable to the prerogatives and exigencies of executive power. I argue that the result was an elaboration and intensification of border-contorting legal fictions and the production of a fluid high seas water border. Together these novel juridico-political forms developed into a modular extraterritorial policing framework with the refugee camps of Guantanamo Bay at its center."@en

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  • "Islands of sovereignty: Haitian migration and the borders of empire."@en