Unions and Missions:
Modalities of Maritime Mobilisation

June 28 – 7:00 pm


DUMBO, Via Camillo Casarini, 19 – Open to the public
Watch this event on YOUTUBE

Drawing on ethnography aboard containerships steaming Arab seas, the archives of various missions to seafarers serving Arabian Peninsula ports, local and global union cases on their behalf, and other literary and archival documents in Arabic and English, I will consider the role of Christian missions in serving the needs of seafarers in ports where the states have banned local or global union representation and other forms of aid to workers. The compatibility of the individuating politics of missionary salvage and the state’s insistence on limiting forms of collective mobilisation stands in tension with the sheer necessity of support for workers whose mobility and transience through ports makes forms of militant mobilising, but also basic day-to-day survival, a battle.  

Laleh Khalili is a professor of International Politics at Queen Mary University of London and the author of Sinews of War and Trade (Verso 2020), Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies (Stanford 2013), and Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration (Cambridge 2007), as well as the editor of Modern Arab Politics (Routledge 2008) and co-editor (with Jillian Schwedler) of Policing and Prisons in the Modern Middle East: Formations of Coercion (Hurst 2010).

Charles Heller is a researcher and filmmaker whose work has a long-standing fo- cus on the politics of migration. In 2015, he completed a Ph.D. in Research Architecture at Gold- smiths, University of London. He is a research fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Lorenzo Pezzani is an architect and researcher. In 2015, he completed a Ph.D. in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is currently Lecturer and leads the MA studio in Forensic Architecture. His work deals with the spatial politics and visual cultures of migration, with a particular focus on the geography of the ocean.

Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani work together since 2011 and co-founded Forensic Oceanography based at Goldsmiths – University of London, that critically investigates the militarised border regime and the politics of migration in the Mediterranean Sea. Their collaborative work has generated human rights reports, academic articles as well as video works that have been exhibited internationally.