UCL Department of Geography
Transnational Spaces
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Transnational Spaces

The Transnational Spaces cluster brings together UCL Geography’s researchers working on migration and diaspora, critical geopolitics, borders and citizenship. Their research:

  • Advances critical thinking on spaces that transcend conceptual and state borders
  • Sustains strong collaborations with international and national policy-makers, and with London-based community groups and cultural institutions.
  • Develops innovative forms of public engagement with artists, photographers, museums and galleries, deploying distinctive geographic applications of  visual, archival, digital and ethnographic methods
  • Directs two expanding research centres - the Migration Research Unit and the Equiano Centre - and MSc programmes in Global Migration and Globalisation.


Migration and Diaspora. Research on ethnicity and integration provides new historical depth to scholarship on the black and South Asian presence in Britain, extending conventional discussion of race and racism and understanding of Islamic minorities in Europe (Claire Dwyer, Caroline Bressey, Tariq Jazeel). It scrutinizes meanings of Britishness and European citizenship, and challenges conventional measures of ethnicity and residential segregation (John Salt).  Research also explores the relationships between diasporic cultural production and new ethnicities (Tariq Jazeel, Claire Dwyer). Studies of work, labour markets and remittances produced new understanding of the effects of recession, global corporate labour markets, student mobility (John Salt). Research questions the explanatory power of ‘ethnic capital’ (Claire Dwyer), the economic determinism of debates over skilled migration, advances social network theory (Alan Latham) and modifies celebratory accounts of remittances (Ben Page). Studies also provide fresh insight to new African diasporas developmental and political activities, with studies focussing in Cameroon and Tanzania (Ben Page).

Transnational Spaces of Meaning and Memory. Scholarship explores cosmopolitan spaces in and beyond London, developing new visual, historical and ethnographic methods as well as new conceptual approaches. Research provides new insight into transnational constructions of ‘home’, the focus of one our recent departmental seminar series (Ben Page), uncovers hidden histories of cosmopolitan cultural spaces such as artists’ studios and dance clubs, and legacies of London’s connections to the slave trade (see a short video of Caroline Bressey and Gemma Romain’s research on London’s Black Artists and Models in the Jazz Age) and the transnationalisation of modernist architecture (Tariq Jazeel, Pushpa Arabindoo). Research sheds fresh light on anti- colonial networks, the politics of exile and solidarity, transnational anti-war mobilizations and the politics of transnational cultural production (Caroline Bressey, Alan Ingram, Tariq Jazeel). Work on transnational religious spaces poses innovative questions about faith in suburbia (Claire Dwyer is working with photographer Liz Hingley, Leverhulme Artist in Residence on Photographing Faith in Suburbia), diasporic pilgrimage (Pushpa Arabindoo) and investigates the transnational influence of the American evangelical movement (Jason Dittmer). Work on postcolonial geography questions the ways that cultural and geographical meaning both changes and stabilizes in a globalizing world (Jenny Robinson, Tariq Jazeel, Pushpa Arabindoo).

Critical Geopolitics, Borders and Citizenship. Research combines studies of transnational media with critical analyses of borders, territoriality and citizenship. It provides new insight into links between geopolitics, contemporary art and popular culture through studies of artists’ responses to the Iraq war (Alan Ingram), practices of memorialisation (Jason Dittmer) and aesthetic (environmental and architectural) constitutions of nationhood (Tariq Jazeel).  Research on comics (such as Jason Dittmer’s book on Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero) video-games and blogging develops critical geopolitical theory, showing how the circulation of popular cultural forms shapes political imaginaries (Jason Dittmer). Research furthers critical geopolitical thinking on the interplay between security discourses and the reshaping of space (Alan Ingram), poststructuralist approaches to diplomacy (Jason Dittmer).