4 thoughts on “Are Borders Bad for Women?

  1. You’re so awe­some! I do not think I’ve read some­thing like that before. So nice to dis­cover another per­son with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Seri­ously.. thanks for start­ing this up. This site is one thing that is required on the web, some­one with a bit of originality!

  2. Speed’s piece is a dev­as­tat­ing account of the vio­lences that tar­get indige­nous women migrants in the Amer­i­cas. I found it use­ful how she sit­u­ates regimes of racial, gen­dered, sex­ual, and class vio­lence imposed upon Ysinia within a hemi­spheric struc­ture of law(lessness) that has its roots in the log­ics of colo­nial power. A ques­tion I have is her char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the telos of this mode of vio­lence. “This was not sup­posed to hap­pen,” Speed declares, because of the promises for expanded human rights tied to neolib­eral mod­i­fi­ca­tions of state power in the Amer­i­cas. Yet the neolib­eral ren­o­va­tions to rights and the state and free trade were always reformist of an already ille­git­i­mate struc­ture of power known as the state. They were always about keep­ing the self evi­dence of the state’s right to kill intact. Only now, to our bewil­der­ment and detri­ment, has neolib­er­al­ism placed the state’s right to kill and pun­ish on the auc­tion block. This is why I also find Speed’s term “neolib­eral mul­ti­crim­i­nal­ism” so illu­mi­nat­ing and provocative.

    But this is also why I am curi­ous about the brief glimpse of good faith attached to neolib­eral reforms in this arti­cle, given the ample evi­dence it demon­strates about its absolute cor­rup­tion and necrop­o­lit­i­cal tendencies.

  3. Speed’s piece sheds impor­tant light on the blur­ri­ness of bor­ders, as Molly also rec­og­nized, that face indige­nous migrant women. Her piece raised two ques­tions for me. In the sec­tion on “Neolib­eral Mul­ti­crim­i­nail­ity,” Speed cor­rectly indicts the “ille­gal economies on a mas­sive scale” that have “pow­ers rival­ing that of the state,” and state actions that increas­ingly rely on “author­i­tar­ian gov­er­nance and mil­i­ta­riz­ing to com­bat ille­gal­ity.” I won­der, how­ever, to do what degree a focus on ille­gal mas­sive economies obscures the role played by their legal ana­logues. Her piece does a nice job of elu­ci­dat­ing the pow­er­ful eco­nomic inter­ests under­ly­ing the pri­va­ti­za­tion of incar­cer­a­tion in the U.S., but how do these eco­nomic inter­ests work globally/transnationally? I think this is part of the wider impli­ca­tion of her inquiry into the fail­ures of “rights regimes of neolib­eral democracies.”

  4. Are bor­ders bad for women?” is the ques­tion that we ask our­selves this week. Speed states that indige­nous women are espe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to vio­lence as they cross inter­na­tional bor­ders. Yet she also notes that vio­lence – abuse and mis­treat­ment by husbands/fathers/uncles, and con­doned or tol­er­ated by com­mu­nity and soci­etal struc­tures – is often at the root of a woman’s deci­sion to leave home, to migrate to a new loca­tion. This para­dox leads me to won­der whether we are ask­ing the right ques­tion, whether we need to alter our con­cep­tu­al­iza­tion of bor­ders to bet­ter under­stand and ana­lyze the expe­ri­ences of women migrants – and indige­nous women migrants in par­tic­u­lar. For, is it not true that these women cross beyond just geo­graph­i­cal bor­ders? At a most basic, even stereo­typ­i­cal level, they may travel not only across nations but also across the divides between pri­vate and pub­lic spheres, between “tra­di­tional” and “mod­ern” worlds, between inter­nal colo­nial­ism and global impe­ri­al­ism, and through mul­ti­ple cultural/linguistic/ethnic norms sys­tems. Is it pos­si­ble – or use­ful – to draw true lines between any of these spheres/worlds/systems?

    Speed implies that things are much less dis­tinct than line-drawing allows. She refers to cross­ing the “blurry line” in one of her sec­tion sub­ti­tles. And through var­i­ous sec­tions she draws par­al­lels between the vio­lence per­pe­trated against indige­nous women migrants by Mex­i­can state agents (often in col­lu­sion with crim­i­nals of car­tels and gangs) and the vio­lence per­pe­trated by U.S. state agents via the legal and carceral sys­tems. Under­ly­ing the whole arti­cle are the themes of ter­ror by proxy, cor­rup­tion, state respon­si­bil­ity, and lack of account­abil­ity. If vio­lence and ter­ror know no bound­aries, why should women be con­fined to or defined by them?

    Another theme lies beneath the sur­face of this arti­cle, and Speed brings it directly into the light in the final para­graph of her draft when she notes Ysinia’s “remark­able strength and will” and the “tremen­dous agency” of other indige­nous women migrants. This offers, per­haps, another angle from which to con­sider these women’s expe­ri­ences: jour­neys from observer to par­tic­i­pant, from object to sub­ject, from vic­tim to agent. As these women search for and seek to con­struct “spaces of free­dom,” do politico-geographical bor­ders even matter?

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