Critical Feminist Approaches to Migration and Mobility Justice in Canada―Guest Editors' Introduction


  • Natalie Kouri-Towe Concordia University
  • Gada Mahrouse Concordia University


Mobility justice, citizenship, Canada, critical refugee studies, displacement, colonization


This themed section examines how inequality constrain and enable contemporary human movement at state border crossings. It responds directly to questions, practices, and knowledge gaps that arise from critical migration/refugee studies, critical tourism studies, border studies, and/or mobility justice research by denaturalizing assumptions about the rights of some to choose to move across borders freely and others who are forced to leave, denied access, or detained. In so doing, we highlight research on human mobilities and borders in Canada to advance understandings on the dynamics of territorial control and access to state borders. What links the articles is the commitment to examining the reproduction of power through the following three shared understandings and starting points: (1) a critique of the Canadian nation state’s global reputation as exceptionally humanitarian (Nguyen and Phu 2021); (2) a consideration of the global entanglements of racial capitalism and colonialism that structures human movement (Gutiérrez Rodríguez 2018);  and (3) an understanding that the mobilities of some and the immobilities of others coexist and are in fact co-produced (Ahmed et al. 2020; Bauman 1998; Sheller 2018).



Abu-Laban, Yasmeen. 2020. “Immigration and Settler-Colonies Post-UNDRIP: Research and Policy Implications.” International Migration, no. 58: 12-28.

Adese, Jennifer, and Malissa Phung. 2021. “Where Are We From? Decolonizing Indigenous and Refugee Relations. In Refugee States: Critical Refugee Studies in Canada, edited by Vinh Nguyen, and Thy Phu, 117-137. University of Toronto Press.

Ahmed, Sara, Claudia Castada, Anne-Marie Fortier, and Mimi Sheller, eds. 2020. Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration. Routledge.

Alam, Hina, Sidhartha Banerjee, and Morgan Lowrie. 2023. “Indian Police Identify Family of 4 Whose Bodies Were Found in St. Lawrence River near Akwesasne.” The Canadian Press, April 3, 2023.

Amnesty International. 2023. “Why Roxham Road Crossing Is Really a Problem.” March 23, 2023.

Arat-Koc, Sedef. 2020. “Decolonizing Refugee Studies, Standing up for Indigenous Justice: Challenges and Possibilities of a Politics of Place.” Studies in Social Justice 14, no. 2: 371-90.

Bauman, Zygmunt. 2016. Strangers at Our Door. John Wiley & Sons.

Carastathis, Anna, Natalie Kouri-Towe, Gada Mahrouse, and Leila Whitley. 2018. “Intersectional Feminist Interventions in the ‘Refugee Crisis’: Introduction.” Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees 34 no. 1: 3–15.

Clark-Kazak, Christina. 2023. “The Tragic Costs of Failed Migration Policy: The Recent Deaths of Migrants Crossing into the U.S. Expose the Fallacy of ‘Border Control’.” The Globe and Mail, April 3, 2023, accessed June 28, 2023.

Côté-Boucher, Karine, Luna Vives, and Louis-Philippe Jannard. 2023. “Chronicle of a “Crisis” Foretold: Asylum Seekers and the Case of Roxham Road on the Canada-US Border.” Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 41, no. 2: 408-426.

The Canadian Press. 2023. “Refugee Groups Denounce Roxham Road Closure in Quebec.” CTV news Montreal, April 4, 2023. Refugee groups denounce Roxham Road closure in Quebec | CTV News

Espiritu, Yen Le, Lan P. Duong, Ma Vang, Victor Bascara, Khatharya Um, Lila Sharif, and Nigel Hatton. 2022. Departures : An Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies. Vol. 3. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Government of Canada. 2023. “Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement.” Modified on March 3, 2023.

Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Encarnación. 2018. “The Coloniality of Migration and the “Refugee Crisis”: On the Asylum-Migration Nexus, the Transatlantic White European Settler Colonialism-Migration and Racial Capitalism.” Refuge 34, no. 1.

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. 2023. “Investigation of Bodies Discovered Continues in Akwesasne.” Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, April 13, 2023.

Nguyen, Vinh, and Thy Phu. 2021. Refugee States: Critical Refugee Studies in Canada. University of Toronto Press.

Panetta, Alexander, and Philip Ling. 2023. “How―and Why―Canada and the U.S. Kept their Border Deal Secret for a Year.” CBC News, March 28, 2023.

Sheller, Mimi. 2018. Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes. Verso Books.

Stasiulis, Daiva, Zaheera Jinnah, and Blair Rutherford. 2020. “Migration, Intersectionality and Social Justice Guest Editors’ Introduction.” Studies in Social Justice no.14: 1–21.

Stevenson, Verity. 2023. “Closing Roxham Road Will Lead to ‘Humanitarian Catastrophes,’ Immigration Experts Warn.” CBC News, March 24, 2023.,Closing%20Roxham%20Road%20will%20lead%20to%20'humanitarian%20catastrophes%2C'%20immigration,after%20an%20already%20deadly%20year.

Walia, Harsha. 2021. Border and Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism. Haymarket Books.

Wong, Vincent. 2023. “After the Migrant Deaths in Akwesasne, Canadian Immigration Law Must Reckon with Its Colonial History.” The Conversation, April 20, 2023.,when%20it%20comes%20to%20immigration.

UNHCR Canada. 2019. “What to Know about Irregular Border Crossings.”

what-to-know-about-irregular-border-crossings-Aug2019-en.pdf (




How to Cite

Kouri-Towe, N., & Mahrouse, G. (2023). Critical Feminist Approaches to Migration and Mobility Justice in Canada―Guest Editors’ Introduction . ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 22(4), 1141–1150. Retrieved from



Themed Section: Departures, Arrivals, and Encounters: Feminist Understandings of