Between Life and Death: Bio-Politics and Migration in the 21st Century

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Additional student cost: 



*IMPORTANT: This course is an International Affairs & Security Studies content course. Students on the Metropolitan Studies program CANNOT take more than TWO International Affairs & Security Studies content courses! 

This course aims at introducing students to the concept of bio-politics, its origins and its modern forms in national and increasingly global perspectives. We want to discuss the notion of population, its governmentality and the politics of “life” – regulation and distribution of forms of life - in contexts of peace, war, violence and economic crisis drawing on examples from national family and health policies to international regimes of conflict intervention, from anti and pro-natalist policies to burial rights, from regulations on migration and asylum to intended and unintended side effects of humanitarian aid. Using some of the theoretical groundwork from social theorists as Michael Foucault and Giorgio Agamben we will delineate the interrelation between power techniques and new forms of knowledge to uncover the hidden matrix of political space. By doing so, throughout the course tensions and conflicts between the governance of population and modern human rights regimes will be in our focus. The course offers an interdisciplinary approach. The course attempts to incorporate field trips, films, exhibitions, and art on the topic into the discussion.