Humanitarianism and black female bodies: violence and intimacy at the Moroccan–Spanish border

Elsa Tyszler

Around Ceuta and Melilla, progressive Moroccan migration policies implemented since 2013 have not produced much positive change, as political, diplomatic and economic issues take over, producing a violent game of borders, both material and symbolic, racialised and gendered. Through an ethnographic approach, this article addresses the issue of violence experienced by migrants from Central and West Africa on the Moroccan– Spanish border, emanating from humanitarian and religious actors. Based on two and a half years of field research in Morocco (mainly in Rabat and in the North) and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, with a special attention to embodied experiences of the border, this contribution shows that the humanitarianism practiced in a border town in Northern Morocco is also a space for updating relations of race and gender, which can, contrary to its claims, lead to even greater constraints on the mobility of people, notably women, being ‘helped’, and can reproduce a racialised and gendered order at the border. This contribution also proposes to reconnect this contemporary violence to history and underline the coloniality of such humanitarianism. KEYWORDS Borders; gender; humanitarianism; migration control; race

Tyszler, E. (2020). Humanitarianism and Black female bodies : violence and intimacy at the Moroccan-Spanish border. Journal of North African Studies, 1-19.

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