From the Andean Region Towards the North, South and East: The Spatial Production of Migratory Corridors Across the Americas

7th Global Migration Lecture with Soledad Alvarez Velasco

Thursday, 8th December 2022 (18:00-19:30, CEST) | Webinar

Based on historical research and multi-sited ethnographies, this lecture will analyze the dynamics at stake in the production of three global migratory corridors in the Americas: the one connecting the Andean Region with Central America, Mexico and the U.S., the Northern Corridor, the one connecting Andean Region with the Caribbean, the North-Eastern Corridor, and the one connecting the Andean Region with the Southern Cone, the Southern Corridor. It will be argued that this spatial production results from the tension between migrants’ mobilities – embodied in Latin American, Caribbean, African and Asian undocumented transits heading north and south –, and control –deployed by states, para-state, military and humanitarian actors.

The talk discusses three intertwined issues:

1) how both migratory corridors are unequal transnational spaces of dispute inexplicable if not for their embeddedness in unequal geographical development, their interconnectedness and interdependencies with global, regional and translocal geoeconomic and geopolitical processes;

2) how the heterogenous U.S. forms of remote control across the continent and the reinforcement of South American racist border regimes have shaped both corridors; and,

3) how the illegalized socio-economies practices of coyoterismo and trochas are determinant in these spatial dynamics just as the incessant struggle of global migrants’ to sustain their freedom of movement and their lives.


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    Soledad Alvarez Velasco

    Soledad Álvarez Velasco is a social anthropologist and human geographer whose research analyses the interrelationship between mobility, control and spatial transformations across the Americas. She investigates the intersection between undocumented global south-north and global south-south transit migration, border regimes, the formation of migratory corridors across the Americas and the migrant struggle across these transnational spaces. She also analyzes the impact of the externalization of the U.S. border regime, the movement of unaccompanied and undocumented migrant children and the dynamics of transnational migrant smuggling networks operating across those migratory corridors. She has published articles in journals including Antipode. Journal of Latin American Geography, Migration and Society, ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Anales de Antropología, Sociologias, Revista Estudios Sociológicos, Revista EntreDiversidades, Íconos-Revista de Ciencias Sociales. She is the author of the book Frontera sur chiapaneca: El muro humano de la violencia. Mexico: CIESAS-UIA, 2016, and co-editor with Ulla D.Berg and Iréri Ceja of the book Migraciones. Colección Palabras Clave. Mexico: CLACSO- Universidad Autónoma de México, 2021.  She currently works on her second book on the dynamics of mobility and control at play in production of Ecuador as a global transit space for Latin Americans, Caribbeans, Africans and Asians heading to the U.S.

    She holds a PhD in Human Geography from King’s College London. Between 2021 and 2022 she was appointed as Junior Professor in Migration and the Americas at the Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies at the University of Heidelberg.  As of January 2023, she will join the University of Illinois Chicago as an Assistant Professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program and the Department of Anthropology.




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    Volker M. Heins

    Affiliate Professor of Political Science, University of Duisburg-Essen; Senior Researcher, Käte Hamburger Kolleg/ Centre for Global Cooperation Research



    From the Andean Region Towards the North, South and East: The Spatial Production of Migratory Corridors Across the Americas

    Soledad Álvarez Velasco

    Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois Chicago

    (as of January 2023)


    Discussant: Antje Missbach

    Professor of Mobility and Migration, Faculty of Sociology, University of Bielefeld



    Moderator: Volker M. Heins





    In cooperation with


    Antje Missbach is Professor of Sociology at Bielefeld University, Germany, specialising in global and transnational migration and mobility. She is interested in refugees’ everyday experiences and the impacts of border and asylum regimes on their mobility aspirations. She is the author of Separatist conflict in Indonesia: The long-distance politics of the Acehnese diaspora (Routledge 2012) and Troubled Transit: Asylum seekers stuck in Indonesia (ISEAS, 2015) and co-author of Indonesia: State and Society in Transition (Lynne Rienner, 2019). Her latest book The Criminalisation of People Smuggling in Indonesia and Australia: Asylum out of Reach was published in 2022 (Routledge).