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M.A. Sara Bellezza

Freie Universität Berlin

Latin American Institute

Social and Cultural Anthropology

Rüdesheimer Straße 54-56
14197 Berlin

Academic Career:

From 04/2020

PHD candidate in Social- and Cultural Anthropology at Latin-American Institute at FU Berlin

09/ 2019

Master in interdisciplinary Latin American Studies at FU Berlin

03/ 2018

Research in Kingston/ Jamaica: Data Collection for the Master thesis

01/2017 – 06/2017

Study abroad at the University of the West Indies- Mona Campus Jamaica

09/ 2015

Bachelor in Social- and Cultural Anthropology, Latin-American Studies and Italian

Research Focus

Migration/ Deportation/ Post-colonial studies/ Gender/ Anthropology of the state

Research practice

Belonging, Rights and Justice- Multi-sited narratives travelling through the deportation corridor between the UK, US and Jamaica. Master thesis (2019)

Criminalization of flight and escape Aid- Controversies in the European Migration Policies. Research Project (2015-2017)

PHD Project

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Stephanie Schütze

Working Title: Forms of (legal) activism against the criminalization of migration. A case study of agency and resistance around deportation practices between the US and Guatemala.

This interdisciplinary PHD project draws on theory and methods from social- and legal anthropology, critical migration- and borderland studies. With ethnographic methods, it will investigate which forms of agency and resistance are possible if the law criminalizes the internationally and constitutionally granted right to demand asylum at the US-Mexican border.

The US immigration and border regime has been (in)famous among human rights defenders and activists for its harsh detention and deportation practices for many years. Under the Trump administration, major policy changes have been established, which criminalize migration into the US from different angles: first, the enhancement of “zero tolerance policies”, which sky rocketed the prosecution for the misdemeanor of “improper entry” and lead to a major separation of children from their families; secondly, the so-called ‘Remain in Mexico Policy that forces asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while making their claim to the US, thus categorizing the entrance of asylum seekers to US territory also as illegal. Thirdly, the safe third country agreement established with Guatemala in June 2019, which determined that persons who crossed Guatemala during their journey to the US, should have applied for protection in Guatemala and are thus not eligible for an asylum application in the US. After the administrative change, current US President Biden declares aiming for a more humane approach towards immigration and ended the Asylum Coordination Agreements with the Central American states. However, he also declared stronger cooperation with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

I will analyze deportation practices as a form of border externalization, especially in relation to the latest policies. Looking at border externalization as an ever-increasing bordering practice in various border regimes on a global level, a comparative perspective on US and EU return policies will form part of the analytical lens of this project. Empirically, I will examine legal practices that aim to resist various forms of migration oppression in the borderlands in San Diego/ Tijuana. Using court room ethnography as a method, I will examine how legal defenders argue with references to constitutional, human rights and justice in front of migration courts. Additionally, I will use interviewing and participatory observation from an engaged anthropology approach to answer questions on how persons affected by rights deprivation perform agency in their struggle for the right to claim and receive asylum.

EU AD HOC RELOCATION. A LOTTERY FROM THE SEA TO THE HOTSPOTS AND BACK TO UNSAFETY. (2020) (with Nora Brezger et al., ed. borderline-europe). https://eu-relocation-watch.info/

„Beihilfe zur unerlaubten Einreise” Reflexionen zu einer Prozessbeobachtung“. In: Witnessing the Transition Moments in the Long Summer of Migration. (Berlin: E-book, 2018) (with eds. Gökçe Yurdakul, Regina Römhild, Anja Schwanhäußer, Birgit zur Nieden, Folashade M. Ajayi, Charlotte Kneffel, Marne Litfin, Hieu Hanh Hoang Tran & Aleksandra Lakić).

Criminalization of Flight and Escape Aid. Controversies in the EU European migration policies. (Berlin: Tredition, 2017) (with Tiziana Calandrino et al., ed. borderline-europe)
. Download: http://www.borderline-europe.de/sites/default/files/background/kidem-doc-final-2-5-17.pdf