Piro Rexhepi | Geopolitical Whiteness: Euro-Atlantic Integration and the Postsocialist Assembling of Race and Sexuality to Control Migration in the Balkans
As the final integration of the Western Balkans into the EU and NATO security structures completes the legal and political infrastructure of sealing the Euro-Atlantic geopolitical borders along the Balkans Refugee Route, overlapping national and post-national governing processes have normalized racialized border regimes, where the separation of post-socialist ‘Balkans’ from the post-colonial ‘Middle East’ has come to influence new everyday politics and infrastructures of life. Geopolitical Whiteness examines the post-socialist recalibration of European colonial race-making in the contemporary Euro-Atlantic bordering processes in the Balkans. Moving beyond the presentist critique of post-socialist neoliberalism in Cold War Area Studies epistemic infrastructures, it provides an interdisciplinary analysis of the ways in which Euro-Atlantic integration of the post-socialist peripheries has revitalized and redesigned a longer European commitment of racialized imperial statecraft at its eastern and southeastern geopolitical borders. Focusing on the Balkans as a locale of multiple and overlapping territorial regimes and as an object of global governance, I look at the mobilization of memory, migration, race, gender and sexuality in the sealing of the Balkan refugee passage and the simultaneous deployment of that process towards the racial rearticulation of the Balkans as Euro-Atlantic geography.
Piro Rexhepi holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Strathclyde and has held research fellowships at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at University of Graz, the Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, and teaching positions at the State University of New York, City University of New York and New York University. His research focuses on the politics of religion, sexuality and coloniality in international relations, with a particular focus on the relationship between the Balkans and the Middle East. Previously, his work has examined the intersection of EU enlargement politics with sexual rights, exploring the production of Islamophobia in Muslim-majority countries in the Balkans. His research at MPI-MMG interrogated the ways in which the politics of preservation in Sarajevo and Salonika fuel urban renewal, gentrification, and Europeanization, having drastic effects on the lives of migrant and marginalized urban communities.