Cedar Lloyd

Date of Award


First Advisor

Brian Conolly

Second Advisor

Daniel Neilson

Third Advisor

Chris Coggins


This thesis is a meditation in alternative imagination: in using scholarship to interrogate the world in which we live, conceptualize alternative ways of being in political and communal relationships with one another, and develop praxis for the enactment of change. The displacement crisis sits at the intersection of colonialism, imperialism, neoliberal globalization, racism, and environmental destruction caused by climate change. It is the largest modern crisis of human life, with 103 million people forcibly displaced1 and denied the right to free movement. Simultaneously, this mass migration across closed borders represents the largest global resistance to the regime of containment and control over mobility, central to the replication of racism and imperialism in the modern world order. This thesis rests on the idea that subversive movement through bordered spaces is an articulation of autonomy in a global order defined by unequal mobility. The study of migration cannot be bounded within one geography, as it is an intrinsically international phenomenon. Rather, place provides a perspective and a starting point for the examination of borders and movement. I chose to ground this thesis in Greece. The first half of the thesis studies Greece as a key geography in the articulation of the EU border project. I argue that Greece forms a space of deterrence, containment, and exploitation for migrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. I use the term migrant because it describes a person based on their state of movement, not their legal status, like the terms refugee or asylum seeker. Part 1 deconstructs the Greek border, situating it within a system of racial apartheid. The second part turns towards Greece as a space of transformation. It studies the emancipatory possibilities of solidarity organizing between locals and migrants. I explore the ways in which autonomous communities, solidarity initiatives, protest, and the development of a mobile commons creates spaces without borders, where people enjoy an alternative form of citizenship and actively create a new politics based on participation. The thesis serves a dual purpose: the first part focuses on exposition, while the second part takes on a generative position.

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