In this lecture, Larissa Fleischmann will look at the material bordering processes that become visible in the context of animal diseases, in particular, in the current handling of African Swine Fever (ASF). This highly lethal virus, affecting both wild boars and domestic pigs, has spread across Europe during the past years and is currently discussed as the most threatening global animal disease of the 21st century as well as a major risk for biosecurity in pig farms. With the intention to protect national pig economies, several European states have reacted by erecting veterinary fences along their national borders. Veterinary fencing as a biosecurity practice originates in (post)colonial contexts outside of Europe and follows the intention to block the ‘risky’ mobilities of wild animals – in the case of ASF, wild boars, which are currently framed as a major reservoir and vector of the disease. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, the lecture will provide insights into the shifting governmental rationalities behind veterinary fencing in the German-Polish borderlands, where more than 500 kilometres of fences were erected since 2020. By doing so, Larissa Fleischmann will illustrate how veterinary fencing in the context of ASF is embedded into a wider trend towards a re-materialisation of national borders within Europe. She thus scrutinizes a more-than-human understanding of border-making, arguing that borders are co-constituted by the complex relations between humans and a number of nonhuman actors and forces, including animals, viruses, material objects and technologies.
Larissa Fleischmann is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in the Department of Human Geography at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. In her ongoing research project “Animals, Power and Space – More-than-Human Political Geographies of Animal Health”, which is funded by the German Research Foundation, she looks at different governmental techniques in the handling of animal diseases, such as fencing, zoning, mapping and killing. She conducted qualitative fieldwork in the German-Polish borderlands and in Namibia, where she looked at the postcolonial (dis)continuities in the handling of animal diseases. She earned her PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Konstanz in 2019, for which she investigated the contested practices of solidarity with refugees that emerged around the migration summer of 2015. Her research interests include critical migration and border studies, more-than-human geographies, as well as solidarity and living-together in migration societies.
The lecture series is organized by the Cluster "Migration, Borders, and Mobilities in, around, and across Europe" of teh Field of Excellence "Dimensions of Europeanization".
You may also join the lecture via stream: https://uni-graz.zoom.us/j/68966754250