Humanities Institute Faculty Scholar in Residence, Spring 2023
In her talk, focusing largely on the cases of apartheid South Africa and China’s hukou system, Désirée Lim discusses the history of internal restrictions on movement. Tying this to the existing literature on the ethics of migration, she explains how the restrictions faced by Black South Africans and rural Chinese migrants can be usefully conceptualized as (a) restrictions on travel, (b) restrictions on residency-related rights, and (c) restrictions on one’s ability to be fully recognized as a member of the territory in question. Lim argues that despite the severe social inequalities that these restrictions have exacerbated, certain restrictions on movement can not only be legitimate, but perhaps also necessary. As a contrast case, she elaborates on the example of Singapore’s use of racial quotas in its public housing system and how it has served as a powerful tool against racial segregation.