Special Event: Book Launch | Islands of Sovereignty: Haitian Migration and the Borders of Empire


Monday, October 28, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Porté Seminar Room (S250)

In Islands of Sovereignty, anthropologist and legal scholar Jeffrey S. Kahn offers a new interpretation of the transformation of US borders during the late twentieth century and its implications for our understanding of the nation-state as a juridical and political form. Combining ethnography—in Haiti, at Guantánamo, and alongside US migration patrols in the Caribbean—with in-depth archival research, Kahn expounds a nuanced theory of liberal empire’s dynamic tensions and its racialized geographies of securitization. An innovative historical anthropology of the modern legal imagination, Islands of Sovereignty forces us to reconsider the significance of the rise of the current US immigration border and its relation to broader shifts in the legal infrastructure of contemporary nation-states across the globe.


Jeffrey S. KahnHarvard Academy Scholar (2013–2015), The Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, UC Davis.


Laleh Khalili, Professor of International Politics, School of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary, University of London.

Sally Engle Merry, Silver Professor, Department of Anthropology, New York University.


Ajantha SubramanianFaculty Associate; Harvard Academy Senior Scholar. Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies; Chair, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University.


Immigration Initiative at Harvard
Department of Anthropology
Department of African and African American Studies


Kathleen Hoover

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