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Gordon Michael, PhD Candidate

photo of Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon

PhD Candidate

Graduate Students
Department of Political Science

Area(s) of Interest:

Biography

The Mediterranean Sea has been a visible site of exclusion characterized by the graphic imagery of boats filled with migrants making the journey to the European Union (EU). Often marked with tragedy and loss of life, these narratives are routinely accompanied by vivid depictions of rescues at sea being conducted by both Frontex, the EU border policing agency, and increasingly, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Engaging the humanitarian framing of sea rescue, I critically unpack how this process can be understood to perform and enact the border, the state, sovereignty and territoriality. My work is focused on furthering the knowledge and understanding of irregular migration, humanitarian boat rescue and border security in the Central Mediterranean. The project looks at the complex interactions of bordering and humanitarianism as it intersects with the governmentality and securitization of migration control. Understanding of the trends and patterns in state and non-state responses migrant mobility, the fragmented nature of their journeys, and global bordering processes that affect those at the literal and figurative margins of the state provides a deeper understanding of borders as sites of struggle, resistance, contestation and agency.

First, I suggest that the sea is represented by both state and non-state actors as an ideal, supposedly apolitical humanitarian space defined by the acuteness of saving lives in situations of grievous distress. I argue that the process of constructing the sea into an apolitical humanitarian space, blurs the politics and violence of borders. Second, focusing on the role of Frontex and sea rescue NGOs in the region, I question how these actors both counter and co-opt the other in the performance of crisis. Third, I examine how the humanitarian border (Walters, 2011) is (re)produced by state and non-state actors through sea rescue missions in the Mediterranean.

Tentative Dissertation Title: (De)Constructing ‘Crisis’ at the Borders of Europe: Border Control, Maritime Rescue and the Production of Humanitarian Space in the Mediterranean Sea

Supervisor: Dr. Peter Nyers

Areas of Interest:

  • Irregular Migration
  • Humanitarian Sea Rescue
  • Border Policy
  • Border Industries
  • Critical Security Studies

Awards:

Education

  • Ph.D. Political Science (International Relations) - McMaster University (In Progress)
  • M.A. Global Governance - Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo (2016)
  • B.A. (Hons) Political Science - McMaster University (2014)

Teaching

Teaching Assistant

  • POL SCI 2I03 - Global Politics - Dr. J.A. Irvine (Fall 2018)
  • POL SCI 2J03 - Global Political Economy - Dr. R. O'Brien (Winter 2018)
  • POL SCI 2I03 - Global Politics - Dr. M. Busser (Fall 2017)
  • POL SCI 1AB3 - Politics & Power in a Globalizing World - Dr. T. Alway (Winter 2017)
  • POL SCI 1AA3 - Government, Politics and Power - Dr. T. Alway (Fall 2016)

Research

Research Contributions

Gordon, M. (Forthcoming, 2019) Bordering Through ‘Crisis’: Migrant Journeys, Border Industries and the Contestation of Control. Migration, Mobility and Displacement.

-------- (Forthcoming, 2019) "Responsibility". States of Refuge II: Key Concepts in in Critical Refugee Studies. Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition Working Paper Series, McMaster University.

Daniel, B. & Gordon, M. (2015) Enhancing Migrant Women’s Workers Rights and Mainstreaming Gender in Global Migration Governance. CIGI Graduate Fellows Policy Brief Series No. 2. Equal Authorship. https://www.cigionline.org/publications/enhancing-women-migrant-workers-rights-and-mainstreaming-gender-global-migration-govern

Conference Presentations

Gordon, M. (2018) (De)Constructing ‘Crisis’ at the Borders of Europe: Border Control, Maritime Rescue and the Production of Humanitarian Space in the Mediterranean Sea. Governing Transit Migration: Varieties of Approaches in International Politics Workshop (BISA). University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

-------- (2018) (De)Constructing the European ‘Refugee Crisis’: Producing the Humanitarian-Security Nexus. International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) Conference. Thessaloniki, Greece

-------- (2018) (Ir)Responsibility and the European Refugee ‘Crisis’: Performing the Humanitarian-Security Nexus. British International Studies Association (BISA) Conference. Bath, UK

-------- (2017) (De)Constructing the European Refugee 'Crisis’: Producing the Humanitarian-Security Nexus. Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS) Conference. York University, Toronto, ON

-------- (2017) Border Spectacle and the Construction of ‘Illegality’: Borders, Irregularity and the Humanitarian-Security Nexus. Canadian Association of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS) Conference. University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

-------- (2017) Border Spectacle and the Construction of ‘Illegality’: Borders, Irregularity and the Humanitarian-Security Nexus. Migration/Representation/Stereotypes Conference. University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

-------- (2017) Growing Global Apartheid: The Securitization of Borders and the Politics of Aid. Migration and Ethnic Relations Graduate Student Conference. Western University, London, ON

-------- (2017) Borders, Security and the Global Migration Industry. Mapping the Global Dimensions of Policy 6 Conference. McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

-------- (2016) Enhancing Migrant Women’s Workers Rights and Mainstreaming Gender in Global Migration Governance. Global Labour Research Centre Graduate Student Symposium. York University, Toronto, ON

-------- (2015) Constructing ‘Natasha’: Human Trafficking Discourse and ‘Humanitarian’ Border Policy Regimes. Governing Migration from the Margins Workshop. Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, ON

Daniel, B. & Gordon, M. (2015) Enhancing Migrant Women’s Workers Rights and Mainstreaming Gender in Global Migration Governance. CIGI Graduate Fellowship Symposium. Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, ON

Gordon, M. (2015) The Humanity of ‘Illegality’: An Auto-Ethnographic Account of Irregular Migration in Central America. Engage 2015 Graduate Conference. University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

Panel Presentations and Public Talks

Panelist (2018) Roundtable: Supporting Emerging Migration Scholars and Practitioners. International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) Conference. Thessaloniki, Greece

Panelist (2018) Roundtable: Supporting Emerging Migration Scholars and Practitioners. Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS) Conference. Carleton University, Ottawa, ON

Panelist (2016) “Trump Election, Three Weeks Out: Now What?” McMaster University, Hamilton, ON