The Emotional Confluence of Borders, Refugees and Visual Culture: The Case of Behrouz Boochani, Held in Australia’s Offshore Detention Regime

Abstract

This article focuses on borders as both physical and metaphysical boundaries—ones that are manifest in systems of meaning, punishment and surveillance. These systems operate on the human body as discipline and punishment in multiple ways. Drawing on a critical framework of the racialized carceral state, this article explores artistic and literary interventions by refugees against the architecture of externalized borders imposed by the Australian state. The works of the Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani and his collaborators are explored as a case study. Boochani is subject to Australia’s offshore detention regime, detained on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. This article asks what new concepts are needed to disrupt the hierarchy of humans that is a by-product of the national border and its systems of control, criminalization and exclusion.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In April 2019, Behrouz Boochani was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW, Australia) associated with the Forced Migration Research Network.

  2. 2.

    Chauka is the name of a solitary confinement cell within the detention center. It is also the name of a bird found only on Manus Island and which serves as the symbol of the island and on its flag.

  3. 3.

    In 2019, No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison won the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Nonfiction.

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Thanks are due to the two anonymous reviewers and the guest editors of this special issue for the comprehensive feedback on an earlier draft of this article.

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Tazreiter, C. The Emotional Confluence of Borders, Refugees and Visual Culture: The Case of Behrouz Boochani, Held in Australia’s Offshore Detention Regime. Crit Crim (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10612-020-09511-7

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