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Winner of the 2023 Early Career Academic Research Grant for Women

Posted by Capstone Editing on 20 August 2023

Winner of the 2023 Early Career Academic Research Grant for Women


Capstone Editing is excited to (belatedly!) announce that the winner of the 2023 Capstone Editing Early Career Academic Research Grant for Women is Dr Umut Ozguc, Lecturer in International Relations at Macquarie University.

Dr Ozguc is currently writing her first monograph, Floating Borders: Walls, Islands and Entangled Lines. It examines the construction of borders in settler-colonial states by focusing on two bordering practices, walls and islands. The funding from the Capstone Editing grant will assist Dr Ozguc in preparing her manuscript for submission to an academic press.

Introducing Dr Umut Ozguc

Dr Ozguc is a lecturer in politics and international relations (IR). She is a critical IR scholar working on border politics, critical security studies, settler colonialism and poststructuralism. Her work cuts across several disciplines, mainly IR, political geography, continental philosophy and history. Dr Ozguc’s previous writings focused on human security, racism and managing cultural diversity. She is the co-founder of the Australian Critical Border Studies Network. Before joining Macquarie University, Umut worked as a lecturer and a researcher at several universities in Australia, including Deakin University, Australian National University, and the University of New South Wales. Her work on borders has appeared in important journals such as Security Dialogue, International Political Sociology, Geopolitics and International Studies Review.

Significance of the research

Floating Borders introduces a relational approach to our understanding of the concept of the border and sheds light on the historical origins of current bordering practices by unpacking the construction of settler colonial borders. Without discarding the power of the state, it closely examines the constructive role of walls and islands in settler colonial imaginary and argues that contemporary borders in world politics cannot be understood without acknowledging how walls and islands have played a key role in the movement of colonisation and dispossession while simultaneously activating moments of disruption and resistance.

Focusing on two settler colonial states, Israel and Australia, this book shows how walls (in Palestine) and islands (in Australia) created—and continue to create—new borders. Rather than simply enforcing pre-established borders, walls and islands have enabled, defined and redefined the Jewish/Israeli and Australian identities and spaces. In doing so, walls and islands have operated as powerful bordering technologies in determining the social, political and spatial encounters between settlers and indigenous populations. This book exposes, for the first time, how both walls and islands operated—and continues to operate—as elements of the same ontology that understood progress in terms of enclosure.

This book shows that this particular ontology of enclosure informed—and continues to inform—the colonisation of the spatial, political, social and economic fields in subjugated lands while unexpectedly facilitating Indigenous resistance against such colonising practices both in Israel/Palestine and Australia. By offering a relational theory of borders driven by effects, Floating Borders offers a non-state and non-human centric and dynamic understanding of borders determined not simply by sovereign practices but by entanglements of bodies, spaces, narratives and technologies: entanglements of human and non-human worlds. With a conceptually innovative analysis enriched by fieldwork observations and interviews in Israel/Palestine and Australia, this book will offer a new reading of walls and islands—two hot spots in the contemporary border crisis. It will also make a significant contribution to a fuller understanding of the continuing significance of settler-colonial borders in our imaginations of world politics.

Capstone Editing

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