Faculty of Humanities

Crossing and building borders: visibility and invisibility in transnational migrations

Thursday, 1 July 2021, 4-6pm


Watch recording here:



Tânia Tonhati (Universidade de Brasília - Brazil)

Denise Cogo (ESPM, São Paulo, Brazil)

Kassoum Dieme University of Brasilia (UnB)

Fábio Agra (Universidade Federal Fluminense - Brazil) 

Chair: Karin Fusaro (Universidade de Brasília - Brazil)



This roundtable aims to reflect on the migratory dynamics regarding borders as a place of negotiation and resilience. We understand borders beyond the geographical lines that divide and separate the countries. Borders can be created, shifted and deconstructed socially, culturally, geopolitically and, even, become well-known (or invisible) through media narratives. We would like to shed lights on the relationships that occur in the process of crossing borders among South to North and South to South countries. The tensions on the border areas and the conflicts that are engendered there can reveal to us, for which bodies are built walls and surveillance apparatus. Although such tensions are more visible on the borders of the Global North countries, we intend to demonstrate in the debate that the crossings and conflicts also occur on borders between the South countries. On the one hand, the so-called “refugee crisis” in Europe in 2015 and 2016, as well as the United States' anti-immigration policy towards migrants from Latin America, which resulted in the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico, are only a more visible part of a phenomenon that occurs in the borders. On the other hand, there is also an increase in mobility from South to South. In the last decade, for example, Brazil has been a host country for Haitians and Venezuelans, but also for Syrians, Congolese and Senegalese. The majority of those migrants have arrived in the country by the Brazilian North Amazon borders. Finally, we argue there is a need to look at to what extent surveillance and closing of borders has increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, the roundtable proposes a discussion that reflects the invisibility of borders and migrations in the global South, while the visibility is concentrated in the global North.


Tânia Tonhati (Brazil) - Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Brasília (UnB). Vice-Coordinator of the Sérgio Vieira de Melo Chair at UnB. Co-coordinator of the Sociology Teaching Laboratory Lélia Gonzalez. Researcher at the International Migration Observatory (OBMigra-UnB), instituted through technical cooperation between the University of Brasilia (UnB) and the National Immigration Council (CNIg) and PhD in Sociology from the University of London (Goldsmiths).

Denise Cogo (Brazil) - Full Professor of the Graduate Program (Master and Doctorate) in Communication and Consumer Practices of ESPM, São Paulo, Brazil. Researcher Level 1C of CNPq (National Council of Scientific and Technological Development). Associate Researcher at the Communication Institute at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (InCom-UAB). Coordinator of the Platform of Immigrants ́ Media in São Paulo, developed in partnership with the São Paulo Museum of Immigration (http://midiasdemigrantesdesp.com.br/). Columnist of the Latinoamerica21 journalistic platform (https://latinoamerica21.com/br/)

Kassoum Dieme (Senegal) - PhD student of the Graduate Program in Comparative Studies on the Americas (PPG-ECsA), University of Brasilia (UnB). Member of the Laboratory of Studies on International Migrations (LAEMI/UnB) since 2018. Scholarship holder of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Brazil.

Fábio Agra (Brazil) - PhD candidate in the Communications postgraduate programme at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF). He holds a masters in Humanites: Culture, Education and Languages by the Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia (UESB) and a bachelor’s in communication/Journalism (UESB). Visiting scholar in the project ‘Future under Construction’ at the University of Tübingen (Germany 2018/2020). Member of TRAVESIA – Centre of Global South Studies and Research (UFF). Fabio researches journalism, narratives, borders migration and asylum.