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Anouk Madörin

Doctoral Fellow


Campus Neues Palais
building 2, room 1.10

University of Potsdam
Am Neuen Palais 10
14469 Potsdam

Dissertation Project

Between colony and crisis. (Post)visual surveillance beyond the European border regime

Currently, illegalized migration is overwhelmingly articulated in visual terms, negotiating political practices such as migration, bordering and flight as visual phenomena. The European border regime has a strong iconology in depicting foreigners, migrants, and refugees as icons of global instability and disorder. While visuality is an ongoing feature in media discourse about migration, it can also be said to play a key role in Europe’s surveillance aspirations. To track ‘illegal immigration,’ the EU currently invests in sophisticated technologies such as UAVs (drones) and satellite remote sensing, thus  installing a surveillant gaze stretching well into the territory of former European colonies. In aligning media images as well as techno-images of surveillance apparatuses, the thesis traces the rationale of racialized securitization from the current crisis into the former colonies. This genealogical take unveils the (post)colonial legacies which underpin the technology/rationality of the current ‘migrant crisis’ – marking  how images become part of a  visuality which aims to influence, shape and legitimize current migratory and refugee policies. Against this backdrop, the thesis considers the challenges that visual narratives of illegalized migrants and refugees pose to the European Border Regime, thus contributing to the long history of countervisualities in postcolonial Europe.


After receiving my B.A. in Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Basel, I completed a Master’s degree in Cultural Theory and History at the Humboldt-University of Berlin. In my M.A. thesis, I analyzed gendered and racialized visual narratives of the European border regime from an  Affect Theory perspective, focussing on the key concepts of preemption and deterrence. During my M.A., I worked in the interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence ‘Image Knowledge Gestaltung’ where I supported the ‘Gender and Gestaltung’ project. Also, I was a visiting student at the New York University’s  Graduate Center for Social and Cultural Analysis with a scholarship granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. While working on my PhD project at the RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms, I was a visiting scholar at the Department of Media, Music, Communication, and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University in Sydney. 

Research Interests

  • Visual and Digital Culture Studies
  • Surveillance and Security/Securitization 
  • Bodies/Technology
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Feminist and Queer Theory  
  • Critical Race Theory 
  • Racial Capitalism 
  • Postcolonial Theory 

Conference Papers


  • The view from above’ and the Mediterranean Sea: Europe’s racial security practices from Visuality to Post-Visuality (at the ECREA-conference ‘Migration and communication flows: rethinking borders, conflict and identity through the digital,’ November 2017 in Bilbao) 
  • Imag(in)ing No Future? The sexualized logics of non/reproductivity in the Visuality of the European Border Regime (at the ENQA-conference ‘The pasts, presents, and futures of queer mobilities: transnational movements of ideas, concepts, and people,’ September 2017, May 2017 in Budapest) 
  • Aylan Kurdi and the sexualized logics of non/reproductivity in the Visuality of the European Border Regime’ (at the ECREA-symposium ‘Sexualities and Digital Culture in Europe,’ May 2017 in Athens)
  • Commoning from the margins? Negotiating images of flight in the Mediterranean Sea. Conference ‘Media and participation,’ January 2017 in Konstanz)

Conference Organization

I have co-organized the Sexuality and Borders symposium at New York University’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication (together with Michelle Pfeiffer and Billy Holzberg).