Mellon Forum: The Cost of Borders

Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment // Spaces of Belonging

Nov 8, 2023, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

School of Architecture and Zoom


The Cost of Borders

With Heba Gowayed, Boston University

and Ibiayi Briggs and Jeremy Wolin, PhD candidates, History and Theory of Architecture, SOA


This is a hybrid event. Attend in person at the School of Architecture, or register for the zoom webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.



The book project, The Cost of Borders, observes borders from the perspective of people crossing the chasm between Global South and North. As wealthy countries dedicate large financial and human resources to offshoring, weaponizing, and fortifying their borders, crossing them requires increasingly larger physical risks as well as steep expenditures -- such as on smugglers, brokers, and means of transportation. These expenditures vary not only by a country's laws, or one's anticipated legal status, but also by their categorization within intersecting inequalities of gender, sexuality, race or physical ability. Observing the economic realities of border zones, and their social meanings, I theorize borders as a series of transactions that are always costly and often deadly. 


The Fall 2023 Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment is kindly sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and the Princeton University Humanities Council, Program in Latin American Studies, Center for Collaborative History, Departments of Art & Archaeology and English, HMEI, PIIRS, SPIA, and the School of Architecture.

Mellon Forum events are free and open to the public. Boxed lunches are available while supplies last.