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Dr Kathryn Cassidy

Associate Professor in Human Geography

Department: Geography and Environmental Sciences

EE Drkathryncassidy Staffprofile 255

Kathryn Cassidy is a feminist political geographer and activist, whose work explores two key themes: bordering, governance and belonging and labour, punishment and carcerality.

My work focuses on the ways in which borders and the processes and practices through which they are (re)made have moved from the margins into the centre of contemporary social and political life. This research primarily emanates from a collaboration with colleagues from the EUBorderscapes (2012-2016) project. More recently, I have been focused on understanding the ways in which new solidarities are emerging to challenge and resist the extension of bordering practices into everyday life, i.e. new processes of dis/b/ordering, which is the subject of a forthcoming monograph of the same title. In addition, I have also explored the carceral and punitive elements of life for migrants in the global north.

I did my undergraduate studies in geography at the University of Nottingham, before moving on to study for an interdisciplinary MA at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL in 1999-2000. After a few years of working in the private sector, I returned to academia in 2005 to complete an MA and PhD at the University of Birmingham, which were funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and incorporated language training and fieldwork in Ukraine and Romania.

I taught at the University of Birmingham in the 2006-2007 academic year and whilst carrying out research in Ukraine, I also gave a series of lectures at Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University in Ukraine. I was a research fellow at the University of Babes-Bolyai in Romania from January to July 2009. Prior to joining Northumbria in September 2013, I worked in the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London, initially as a Teaching Fellow and then as a Lecturer in Human Geography.

Campus Address

Ellison Building, B302
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne

0191 227 4777


BA (Hons) MA MA PhD

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

My research to date has been around two inter-connected themes: bordering, governance and belonging; and feminist approaches to discipline and punishment

Bordering, Governance and Belonging This broad area covers much of my work on the EUBorderscapes project as well as some publications emerging from my PhD fieldwork in the Ukrainian-Romanian borderlands. This work makes a significant contribution to the ‘processual shift’ in border studies – i.e. from understanding borders as fixed entities to conceptualisations of borderings, as the dynamic and shifting multi-scalar, multilevel spatial and virtual processes which construct, reproduce and contest borders, and shape, therefore, a variety of local, regional and global political projects of governance and belonging, determining individual and collective entitlements and duties as well as social cohesion and solidarity. Much of this contribution in contained within the co-authored book Bordering (Polity Press, 2019).

Feminist Approaches to Discipline and Punishment I have also, recently, begun to explore contemporary discipline and punishment. This builds on the work on bordering, where we have suggested that the double crisis of governmentality and governability can be connected to the ‘punitive turn’ and wider questions of social ordering and control in contemporary liberal democracies. I have used feminist approaches to de-centre the a priori focus on institutional punishment and discipline and raise questions concerning how discipline and punishment become more extensive within society and are both structured by state regimes but also subvert and contest these regimes. My arguments relating to this focus on three key areas: everyday carceralities for women subject to immigration controls in the UK, which I argue emerge not from incarceration in institutions, but the home as a site of incarceration, as well as the disciplining of mobilities and enforced destitution; secondly, with colleagues, I have been exploring the relationship between punishment and labour and posing questions about how labour as a site of punishment has changed with the reintegrative approach to prison labour contrasted by the exclusion of certain migrant groups from the labour market; finally, I have become interested in the ways in which individuals challenge the b/ordering of their lives and mobilities in particular, across a range of scales, from the emotional and intimate to state immigration policies.


Sponsors and Collaborators

My work as been funded by the ESRC (2005-2011), European Commission (Marie-Curie Fellowship, 2010; EUBorderscapes project, 2012-2016) and more recently Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust.

You can find the film Everyday Borders, which was directed and produced by colleagues at the University of East London as part of the EUBorderscapes project, here:

I work with a wide range of London and Newcastle-based third sector organisations, particularly those focused on women’s and migrants’ rights, as well as NHS trusts, national and local politicians and policy-makers.

Current/Recent Projects

2017-2019: Developing an Integrated Support Unitfor Prisoners with Acute Mental Health Needs in North East Prisons (Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust)

2012-2016: EUBorderscapes - Bordering, Political Landscapes and Social Arenas: Potentials and Challenges of Evolving Border Concepts in a post-Cold War World  (European Commission: Seventh Framework Programme)

2010:  A Comparative Study of Cross-Border Small Trading and Inter-Ethnic Relations in Maramures and Bukovyna (European Commission: Marie Curie Actions)

2005-2011: The Informal Economies of the Ukrainian-Romanian Borderlands (Economic and Social Research Council)


Key Publications

Yuval-Davis, N., Wemyss, G. & Cassidy, K. (2019) Bordering Polity Press: Cambridge.

Cassidy, Kathryn (2018) ‘Where can I get free? Everyday Bordering, Everyday Incarceration.’Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers

Cassidy, Kathryn, Yuval-Davis, Nira and Wemyss, Georgie (2018) ‘Debordering and everyday (re)bordering in and of Dover: Post-borderland borderscapes.’ Political Geography, 66. pp. 171-179. 

Cassidy, Kathryn, Innocenti, Perla and Burkner, Hans-Joachim (2018) ‘Brexit and New Autochthonic Politics of Belonging.’ Space and Polity.

My Northumbria Research Link can be found here


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