Boundary Infrastructures: Sovereignty and the Politics of Classification

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 | 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Duster Room, ISSI, 2420 Bowditch Street
Location is ADA accessible

Boundary Infrastructures: Sovereignty and the Politics of Classification

Tuesday, April 17 | 3:30 pm–5:00 pm
Duster Room, ISSI, 2420 Bowditch Street

‘Entry,’ Borders, and the Detention of Asylum Seekers

Eunice Lee, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Surveying the Reservoir: Public Records and the Archival Logics of the Oroville Dam

Ryan Rhadigan, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Rhetoric with a concentration in Critical Theory, and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

with Leti Volpp as respondent
Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law in Access to Justice, UC Berkeley

Eunice Lee | ‘Entry,’ Borders, and the Detention of Asylum Seekers

In recent years, the deprivation of liberty of immigrants and asylum seekers has expanded at a massive scale. Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the United States, including tens of thousands of asylum seekers, are locked away in remote detention centers indistinguishable from jails. Some of these individuals first cross the border and encounter an immigration officer shortly after, and are deemed to have “entered without inspection.” Others, however, present themselves at a border patrol station and are deemed “arriving aliens.” Paradoxically, those who first cross the border without authorization receive greater protections against arbitrary and unnecessary detention than those who orderly present themselves at a port of entry. Under a decades-old legal doctrine known as the entry fiction, “arriving” individuals are treated under our laws as not technically present, even while physically here. As a result, these individuals—unlike those who first cross the border—have no right to contest the government’s detention decision before an immigration judge. This paper examines the operation of the entry fiction as applied to asylum seekers at our border. It analyzes empirical data on detention and release to demonstrate the increasingly expansive detention of “arriving” individuals. Drawing upon both empirical research and theoretical analysis, the paper concludes that courts should recognize the due process rights of incarcerated immigrants who are undeniably present and here.

Ryan Rhadigan | Surveying the Reservoir: Public Records and the Archival Logics of the Oroville Dam

Heavy flooding and forced emergency evacuations of over 180,000 local residents in February 2017 drew national attention to California’s aging and structurally damaged Oroville Dam. As a centerpiece of California’s six-hundred-mile State Water Project, the Oroville Dam plays a significant role in water allocation throughout the state. While recent media coverage highlights how infrastructural damage and bureaucratic delays to the dam’s federal relicensing process have cast a shadow of uncertainty over the dam’s future, considerably less has been said about the controversies surrounding the Oroville Dam’s planning and construction, and how that history continues to shape and impact the present. A particularly neglected aspect is the dam’s continued role in disrupting the lifeways of California’s indigenous Konkow Maidu communities and displacing Maidu people from a significant portion of their ancestral territory. By engaging in a historical analysis of the Oroville Dam’s construction and present-day operation through the heuristic use of the concept “archive,” this paper explores how the modified hydrology enacted by the Oroville Dam not only reconfigures indigenous material and political space, but also consolidates, reorders, and displaces local forms of knowledge. Through close readings of ethnological and archeological surveys produced in compliance with state and federal laws during the construction and relicensing of the Oroville Dam in the mid-2000’s, this paper demonstrates how the continued operation of the Oroville Dam both necessitates and mediates public archival practices that enroll, reroute, and intervene in Maidu acts of political and epistemological sovereignty.


Eunice Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology and a Graduate Fellow at ISSI; her research focuses on citizenship, migration, urban social movements, and law. One strand of her interdisciplinary research explores how attorneys advance the citizenship claims of refugee families via city-based initiatives in San Francisco. Eunice also helps direct the legal program at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law. She previously worked as a litigator at the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the national American Civil Liberties Union and practiced and taught refugee law as the Albert M. Sacks Clinical Teaching and Advocacy Fellow at Harvard Law School. Eunice received her B.A. from Stanford University and her J.D. from Yale Law School.
Ryan Rhadigan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Rhetoric with a concentration in Critical Theory and a Graduate Fellow at ISSI. Ryan’s dissertation research historicizes and contextualizes ongoing Native American rhetorical engagements with legal and technoscientific discourses by examining how language-based notions of cultural “worldview” have shaped the conditions of legibility for Native American ontological and epistemological claims and impacted indigenous communities’ collective efforts to challenge, transform, and democratize scientific practices. He has a Master’s degree in American Indian Studies from UCLA.
Leti Volpp is the Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law at Berkeley Law, where her research and teaching focus on questions of immigration and citizenship. She is also the director of the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley. Her honors include two Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowships, a MacArthur Foundation Individual Research and Writing Grant, the Association of American Law Schools Minority Section Derrick A. Bell, Jr., Award and the Professor Keith Aoki Asian Pacific American Jurisprudence Award. Her most recent publications include “Passports in the Time of Trump” in Symploke (2018), “Feminist, Sexual, and Queer Citizenship,” in the Oxford Handbook of Citizenship (2017), “Immigrants Outside the Law: President Obama, Discretionary Executive Power, and Regime Change,” in Critical Analysis of Law (2016) and “The Indigenous As Alien” in the UC Irvine Law Review (2015). She is the co-editor of the forthcoming Looking for Law in All the Wrong Places (Fordham University Press, with Marianne Constable and Bryan Wager) and the co-editor of Legal Borderlands: Law and the Construction of American Borders (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006, with Mary Dudziak). After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1993, Volpp clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Thelton E. Henderson ’62 of the Northern District of California, and then worked as a public interest lawyer. She began teaching at the American University, Washington College of Law in 1998 and visited at UCLA School of Law in 2004-05. She joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 2005.
This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information contact or (510) 642-0813.
For wheelchair access, please call or email 24 hours in advance.

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