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Spring Research Academy

Over the last two years, the world has been witness to the humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border, fueled by policies like the deployment of Title 42 - which since the Trump administration has been used to systematically expel people arriving to US territory seeking protection. 

Title 42 has left us with unforgettable memories: hundreds of people turning themselves to US immigration authorities, crossing the Rio Grande or lining up next to the border fence; the harrowing events in Del Rio, where Haitian migrants were whipped by US Border Patrol agents on horseback; and the San Antonio tragedy, where dozens of young people lost their lives; the preventable deaths of children - many of them indigenous origin -; and records numbers of people in the Americas and the Caribbean who have gone missing on the migration pathway. 

The high visibility of all these events has helped cement the widespread perception of 'the border' as a space in a permanent state of crisis: a region and communities with no viable solutions to propose, let alone implement, aside from allowing for their continued surveillance and criminalization. At the same time, there is a vast body of policy and academic work which has been critical of border militarization and controls; of immigration enforcement and its implications on human security; and how these are gendered and racialized. Both perspectives seem irreconcilable. And so therefore, the question emerges: is there, in a context this contentious, an opportunity to move beyond the critique to articulate, re/imagine and effectively propose new futures and scenarios for this and other borders? What would this involve?

Seeking to respond to a long-standing gap working towards "constructing alternative 'imaginaries' [Huges, 2007 in Weber 2016] in the current literature on critical border studies and migration, participants will develop individual and/or collaborative contributions envisioning a new protection agenda beyond the illusions of statism and improbable change created by the discourse of migration control and border enforcement. The academy's goal, to echo Weber, is to provide a space "to think expansively and contemplate how transformed empirical conditions may alter the moral calculus of border control in as yet unrecognized ways" (2016).

Hope Border Institute invites applications to its 2023 Spring Research Academy, to be held in person from May 14-19, in El Paso, Texas. We encourage applications from graduate students, junior researchers and policy makers, and residents from both sides of the border interested in re/thinking the current border and migration policy discourse.

Potential topics:
  • The border after Title 42 and Title 8

  • The politics of shelter/ing 

  • In/formal living or housing arrangements (camps, shelters)

  • 'Bussing', relocation, other transportation practices and their implications

  • Humanitarian responses beyond the US-Mexico border

  • Non-humanitarian actors in the provision of protection

  • Un/under-examined roles of law enforcement agencies in protection settings

  • Technology and digital tools as forms of risk/protection

  • Protection in non-traditional spaces

  • Politics of self-care related protection

  • Re/imagining protection


Submissions: To be considered please use this Google form to submit; 1. A 300-word long abstract describing the topic you plan to develop during the Academy. 2. A mini bio by March 3rd. Selected participants will be notified of their acceptance by March 10th. Participants must commit to join the entire Academy in person in El Paso, TX.


For those selected, HOPE Border will provide accommodations, some meals and limited travel reimbursement. Graduate students, junior scholars and policy makers, and residents of border communities are specially encouraged to apply. 


Patrick Giuliani, Policy Analyst with Hope Border Institute and Gabriella Sanchez, research fellow at Georgetown University's Collaborative for Global Children's Issues. 


please contact the organizers, Patrick Giuliani at, and Gabriella Sanchez at

Key dates:

Deadline for abstract and mini bio: March 3rd 2023

Notification of decision: March 10th 2023

Research Academy: May 14th-19th 2023

Contact HOPE

(915) 872-8400 ext.200

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