First EU Border Care Conference

Conference on Migration, Maternity, and the Ethics of Care in Borderlands

European University Institute, Florence, 27-28th June 2016

Pregnant Crossings, Borderland Births: Morality, Care, and Control in the Migration Encounter

Our Project

The transnational research project EU BORDER CARE led by Vanessa Grotti, Part-time Professor at the RSCAS, EUI ( is inviting paper proposals for a two-day conference on undocumented migration and maternity care, which will take place at the EUI at the end of June 2016 (27-28/06/2016).

EU BORDER CARE is a comparative anthropological analysis of undocumented women’s access to maternity care in European borderlands, with a specific focus on South and South-Eastern European borders, and ultra-peripheral regions, such as Overseas France. Our project conducts empirical research on the personal and institutional relations of care and control in the context of pregnancy, in order to discern and problematize the moral rationales underpinning healthcare delivery and migration governance in some of Europe’s most densely crossed borderlands.

Paper Proposals

For our first annual conference, we welcome papers based on ethnographic studies of undocumented maternity in any area of the world, which explore one or more of the following topics:

  • the relationship of pregnancy to women’s migration* project (motive, consequence, or causally separate);
  • the dimensions that pregnancy adds to women’s journey (for example, whether and how it renders them more vulnerable, or the ways in which it shapes intra-migrant social dynamics);
  • the legal norms and actual practices that determine undocumented women’s access to maternity care in the destination (or transit) countries;
  • the relationship between national or supranational authorities, mechanisms, and policies on one hand and frontline (state and non-state) providers and processes of maternity care on the other;
  • the interactions between pregnant migrants and caregivers, and the sociocultural norms and assumptions that shape them;
  • the ethics of care that such interactions produce and reveal;
  • the moral economies of humanitarianism in the context of health governance.

We also welcome papers that address the last five topics as they pertain to undocumented migrants as a broader population, whose findings highlight issues, relations, and processes relevant to our research cohort.


Please send abstracts of no more than 350 words to Cynthia Malakasis ( no later than May 1, 2016. Please do not hesitate to contact Vanessa Grotti ( for any additional information.


*We use the term “migration” to denote cross-border mobility in general – NOT to imply a distinction between people with or without claims to international protection.