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Keina Espiñeira is Research Associate at the Department of War Studies working on the ERC Project led by Pr. Claudia Aradau: ‘SECURITY FLOWS: Enacting border security in the digital age: Political lives of data forms, flows and frictions’.

She received her PhD in Political science from Universidad Complutense of Madrid (2016). The dissertation examines contemporary bordering practices and representations from a post-colonial perspective. It works on the multiscalar positioning of the Spain/Morocco border, functioning as a continental divide (Europe/Africa, North/South) as well as trough its crystallisation in specific points, Ceuta and Melilla enclaves as well as a network of detention centres. This work made three main contributions: Firstly, it gives an ethnological account of the border crossing at the enclaves, restoring density to the representations that media generally convey on those spaces. Secondly, it works towards the positioning of resistance landscapes at the border as expressions of counter-surveillance processes. Finally, it empirically illustrates the ‘stretching’ of the border, showing how border devices are linked one to another.

Before joining the Department of War Studies, she was Postdoctoral Fellow of Excellence Juan de la Cierva - Government of Spain. She conducted research focused on the failures of the Common European Asylum System at the border enclave of Ceuta. She has participated in different international research projects (Erasmus +, Erasmus Battuta and FP7). In 2017/18 she was RCC Postdoctoral Fellow at the IGLP Harvard University. During her doctoral studies, she was also visiting scholar at the Nijmegen Centre for Border Research-Radboud University, Université Abdelmalek Essaâdi Tangier, Université Cadi Ayyad Marrakech and University of California Berkeley.

She is Associate Member of the Equipo de Socioloxía das Migracións Internacionais (ESOMI)- Spain, which is a member institute of the International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion Network (IMISCOE); she is also member of the Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS).

In parallel with her academic curriculum, she is a documentary filmmaker. Her artistic works are strongly research-oriented involving fieldwork from a geographical and anthropological approach. The film ‘Tout le monde aime le bord de la mer’, she performed with a group of refugees in Ceuta, was nominated best short film by the European Film Academy (EFA) in 2016.


Research Interests

  • Practices of Bordering, Ordering and Othering
  • External Border Regime of the EU
  • Migration camps/detention centres
  • Colonialism and postcolonialism in Africa
  • Perceptions and representations of borders, borderscapes
  • Aesthetic and visual methodologies
  • Film geographies, documentary and experimental cinema