To attend online: the Power of Documents: Passports and ID Cards

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Governance Programme Dialogue Series 2021/2022: Population Surveillance, the Body, and Mobility

The series examines twenty-first century population surveillance (ID cards, passports, checkpoints, and policing) in the Global South and/or spaces of its intersection with the Global North. It examines how population surveillance has been transformed through new technologies, whilst also seeking to uncover continuities with the colonial past/present. It asks how do forms of population surveillance today affect the body, movement, and power? 

Lecture 3 - The Power of Documents: Passports and ID Cards

Passports, ID cards, birth certificates, and other material artefacts are crucial to how we navigate the world today. New computerised and biometric technologies also mean documents carry significant amount of personal information and data on them. Join us in this session as we discuss how states uphold regimes of deportation through documentation and databases, the politics behind how documents are designed, and the greater capacity for state control over the body.


Mahmoud Keshavarz is a Senior Lecturer in Design Studies at HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design, University of Gothenburg. Keshavarz is the author of The Design Politics of the Passport: Materiality, Immobility, and Dissent (Bloomsbury 2019).

Nisha Kapoor is Associate Professor in Sociology at Warwick University. Her research interests are broadly concerned with racism and the security state covering topics relating to immigration, citizenship, criminalisation, Islamophobia, segregation and authoritarianism. Theoretically, she draws on critical race, postcolonial, and political theory to assist in the undertaking of this work. Her current research, still in its early stages, explores the role surveillance processes and technologies play in bordering practices in different national contexts (UK, India). She is the author of Deport, Deprive, Extradite: 21st Century State Extremism (Verso 202).


Sai Englert is a lecturer in the Institute for Area Studies. Sai Englert works on political economy and development in the Middle East, with a focus on settler colonialism and settler labour movements. Authored works include Settlers, Workers, and the Logic of Accumulation by Dispossession, Antipode 52(6): 1647-1666.

Date and Time

1 December 2021, 17:00-18:30 (London Time).


Join us online via Zoom.