Border Imperialism, Racial Capitalism, and Geographies of Deracination


  • Levi Gahman
  • Elise Hjalmarson



border imperialism, racial capitalism, deracination, borders, race, migration, biopower, colonialism, radical geography, decolonization, Fanon


This article provides an extended overview and explicatory synopsis of border imperialism. Drawing primarily from the insights of Harsha Walia’s Undoing Border Imperialism, we aim to situate the concept in interdisciplinary literature and show how it can be effective for scholars, activists, and organizers alike committed to political education, transformative research and organizing, and struggles for emancipation.

In addition, we illustrate how as an analytical framework it is useful towards understanding the myriad interlocking dynamics generated by the convergence of borders, race, and migration. Focusing on the bordering regimes of what are now called the United States of America and Canada we also: offer a diagnosis of how colonial power and borders produce geographies of deracination; underscore the inextricable links borders have with Western neo(liberal) worldviews, settler colonialism, and white supremacy; highlight the relationship amongst racial capitalism, the state, biopower, and nationalism; offer a snapshot of how intersectional feminism is useful when engaging with migrant struggle; and finally, take to task common misconceptions and myths about migration and migrants.

The goal of the piece is thus to incite action, academic and otherwise, towards centering dignity in research and activism, undoing border imperialism, and advancing decolonization.


Please see file.




How to Cite

Gahman, L., & Hjalmarson, E. (2019). Border Imperialism, Racial Capitalism, and Geographies of Deracination. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 18(1), 107–129.



Themed Section - Border Imperialism