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Date: 03/03/2022
Time: 6 pm PST
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Talk Description:

Most of us construct borders, boundaries, and walls—both material and metaphorical—in our efforts to maintain spheres of privacy and intimacy in our lives. Extolling state borders in particular, Michael Walzer warned that “to tear down the walls of the state is not to … create a world without walls, but rather to create a world of petty fortresses,” and that to then tear down these petty fortresses would create “a world of radically deracinated men and women” (Walzer 1983, page 39). Yet borders and boundaries can be also sources of harm, as illustrated by Gloria Anzaldúa, who famously defined the U.S.-Mexico border as “una herida abierta [an open wound] where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds” (Anzaldúa 2017, page 3).

In this presentation, I argue that many borders are unjust because they are sites of wrongful privacy violations. In so doing, I challenge the human-centeredness of the bulk of privacy ethics. I explore how wrongful privacy violations at borders occur frequently and perniciously when those who experience them have relatively vulnerable social identities, such as women, gestating people, people of color, and children. I end by gesturing toward a privacy-based, feminist theory of borders that rejects the wrongful privacy invasions occurring at many borders while also recognizing that important roles that borders and boundaries play in personal, professional, and political realms.