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De Verbranders, a podcast on Europe's borders and resistance to them, is online

De Verbranders, a Dutch podcast produced by PhD candidates Neske Baerwaldt (Leiden Law School/VVI) and Wiebe Ruijtenberg (FSW/CAOS), is online. You can now listen to the first episode on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Episodes of the podcast will be introduced in various courses this year.

In De Verbranders, Neske Baerwaldt and Wiebe Ruijtenberg talk with migrants, activists, and academics about the inequalities Europe’s borders produce and maintain. In seventeen episodes, the podcast explores the interconnectedness of colonialism then and now, resource extraction, migrations, Europe’s deadly border regime, and resistance. They further explore these connections through the beautiful illustrations of B. Carrot, the graphic design of Thomas from Dark Roast, and music by various artists.


De Verbranders is Dutch for harraga, an Arabic word used in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia to talk about illegalised migrations. Harraga refers to the burning of identity papers and more generally to the burning of Europe’s visa regime. 'We use the name De Verbranders because it speaks to the destruction of environments, the life worlds created when illegalised people reach Europe despite Europe's borders, and the attempts by illegalised people and others to resist borders and create different worlds,' says Baerwaldt. Ruijtenberg adds: 'It also shifts the focus from the identities of people on the move to what they do in order to move, and the borders that they encounter on the way, as our first guest Professor Amade M’charek explains.' 


Initially, De Verbranders was going to be called Grensverhalen (Border Stories), but Baerwaldt and Ruijtenberg were never quite satisfied with the name, feeling it was too general. “So when the Ministry of Internal Affairs published its own Grensverhalen podcast a few months ago, we saw it as an opportunity to come up with a name that appeals to the imagination a little bit more,” says Ruijtenberg.


De Verbranders is Baerwaldt and Ruijtenberg's first podcast. Ruijtenberg: 'We learned a lot about audio production, and the affordances of podcasting as a research and dissemination method. For example, we felt that podcasting changed how we collaborated with our interlocutors. We think this is the case because the recordings will eventually be made public, which means that, in addition to being interesting, the conversations also need to be accessible and pleasant to listen to. That requires a different kind of preparation, and creates a different dynamic, because both interviewer and interviewee have a stake in the quality of the conversation. We are now preparing a publication on podcasting as a research method. In it, we further delve into the lessons we learned.'

Baerwaldt and Ruijtenberg are excited about continuing the project. 'We had a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to producing a second season and introducing the podcast to our students', says Baerwaldt.

You can listen to De Verbranders on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Soundcloud, and follow De Verbranders on Twitter and Instagram.

This project is made possible by the Elise Mathilde Fund of the Leiden University Fund, the interdisciplinary research program Social Citizenship & Migration (Leiden University),  the VVI, and the CAOS. It is also part of the 5-year research project 'Getting to the Core of Crimmigration' (project number  452-16-003), which is financed through the VIDI research scheme by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

For more information about this project, send an email to n.baerwaldt@law.leidenuniv.nl or w.d.ruijtenberg@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.

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