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Podcast De Verbranders critical of European border and asylum procedures

The Dutch asylum application centre in Ter Apel is overburdened, an issue that is currently a prominent feature in the Dutch media. In podcast De Verbranders, PhD students Neske Baerwaldt and Wiebe Ruijtenberg engage in dialogue, and use different angles to examine themes related to migration, borders and refugees.

Critical series by Leiden academics

Baerwaldt and Ruijtenberg launched their podcast last autumn. They talk to migrants, activists, and academics about the colonial origins of Europe’s borders and the inequalities these borders produce and maintain. Speakers have included a professor of sociology from the University of Hawaii, a party chairman from the Amsterdam municipal council, and staff from an aid organisation.

The podcast and its guests shift the focus from the identities of people on the move, to their activities and the borders and obstacles they encounter along the way. The creators are critical of asylum policies and the systems that European countries have set up to stop people who are fleeing at the borders.

Themes related to borders and migration

Where do categories like ‘migrant’, ‘citizen’, and ‘refugee’ come from? Podcast De Verbranders delves into the underlying themes behind border regimes. Closely examining these themes can help us think differently about Europe's borders and illegalised migration, Ruijtenburg argues.

Episodes include:

  • Gender and sexuality norms (episode 8, Dutch). About the boundaries between us and them that were created by contrasting gender and sexuality norms. Saskia Bonjour talks about how this boundary was made tangible in the Dutch colonies and during decolonisation through the law of persons and family law. This determined who was and who wasn't a Dutch citizen and how you could become a Dutch citizen, and how this boundary was made tangible later and to this day through the family reunification policy. This policy determines who are and who aren't partners and family members of each other, and therefore who is eligible for reunification.
  • The colonial history of migration law (episode 4, Dutch). Thomas Spijkerboer talks about the colonial history of migration and migration law, and how that history permeates today's European border system. The system has been set up so that people with European passports can travel around the world cheaply, easily, and quickly, while others are stopped and, if they do want to travel, are illegalised and forced to get on rickety boats.  
  • ‘Humanitarian borderwork’ (episode 19, English). Polly Pallister-Wilkins created this term to refer to the complicated relationship between violent displacement accidents and the rescue efforts that occur in response. What does it mean if humanitarianism is the primary response to suffering at the border? What lines can be drawn between today's humanitarian borders, colonialism, and white supremacy?

You can listen to De Verbranders via Spotify, Apple of Soundcloud.

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