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At this seminar, Nadine El-Enany will present her book Bordering Britain: Law, race and empire.

Bordering Britain argues that Britain is the spoils of empire, its immigration law is colonial violence and irregular immigration is anti-colonial resistance. In announcing itself as postcolonial through immigration and nationality laws passed in the 60s, 70s and 80s, Britain cut itself off symbolically and physically from its colonies and the Commonwealth, taking with it what it had plundered. 

This imperial vanishing act cast Britain's colonial history into the shadows. The British Empire, about which Britons know little, can be remembered fondly as a moment of past glory, as a gift once given to the world.

Meanwhile immigration laws are justified on the basis that they keep the undeserving hordes out. In fact, immigration laws are acts of colonial seizure and violence. They obstruct the vast majority of racialised people from accessing colonial wealth amassed in the course of colonial conquest.

Regardless of what the law, media and political discourse dictate, people with personal, ancestral or geographical links to colonialism, or those existing under the weight of its legacy of race and racism, have every right to come to Britain and take back what is theirs.

This event is taking place in person at The Safra Lecture Theatre, but you can also join the webinar through Zoom. To join the event online, select 'Online Ticket' when registering.

About the speaker

Nadine El-Enany is Reader in Law at Birkbeck School of Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Law. El-Enany teaches and researches in the fields of migration and refugee law, European Union law, protest and criminal justice. Her current research projects, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, focus on questions of race and justice in death in custody cases, and the role of law in addressing health inequalities arising from environmental harm.


Rafeef Ziadah is a Lecturer in Politics and Public Policy in the Department of International Development. Her research focuses broadly on political economy, gender and race, with a particular focus on the Middle East and East Africa. Ziadah is co-editor (with Brenna Bhandar) of the book Revolutionary Feminisms (2020) and she has also worked as researcher and campaigns organiser with a number of refugee rights and anti-poverty NGOs.

Drinks reception to follow at the Somerset Room.

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At this event

Rafeef Ziadah - March 2023

Senior Lecturer in Politics and Public Policy (Emerging Economies)

Event details

The Safra Lecture Theatre
Strand Campus
Strand, London, WC2R 2LS