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Dr Hanno Brankamp

Assistant Professor (Research)

Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Geography


I am a political and development geographer interested in the spatial politics of migration, displacement, carcerality, and humanitarianism. My research focuses geographically on Eastern Africa, especially Kenya, where I have conducted long-term ethnographic work.

Before joining the Department of Geography at Durham in 2023, I held a Departmental Lectureship in Forced Migration at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, and was a Lecturer in Human Geography at King's College London (KCL). I completed a DPhil (PhD) at the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford (2020), an MLitt at the University of St Andrews (2014), and a BA at Humboldt University of Berlin (2013).

My work has been published in Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, Political Geography, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Geoforum, Area, Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Journal of Eastern African Studies, Migration & Society, Forced Migration Review as well as media outlets such as The Guardian, OpenDemocracy, Africa Is A Country, African Arguments, Democracy in Africa, Africa at LSE Blog, Afrika Sued, and the social justice platform Pambazuka.

My research has been funded by the British Academy, the John Fell Fund, the ESRC, the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), QR Global Challenges Fund (GCRF - University of York), and the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes). My current work focuses on four themes:

1. Carceral Mobilities and Abolition. My research in this area has sought to explore the contemporary relationship between carceral forms of power and abolitionist desires for freedom that emerge in their wake. My current British Academy funded project Carceral Corridors: Migrant Detention and Disrupted Mobility in Kenya explores the momentary, interstitial, and often unnoticed carceral experiences of East Africans on the move.

2. Critical/Creative Methodologies in Migration Research. I am interested in advancing new ways of conducting research on refuge and migration that are distinctly collaborative and critically reimagine knowledge co-production in this field. Currently, I collaborate with a Sudanese educator, writer, and poet on a project entitled Poetry on the Run which seeks to harness the poetry and creative writings of refugee youth as theorisations of their own lived experiences.

3. Coloniality of Aid, Borders, and Migration Control. My work in this area has explored enduring forms of colonial governance and securitisation of undesirable (migrant) populations in postcolonial East Africa, including the differential management of bodies, the entanglement of camps and counter-terrorism, community and state policing, and the cultural text of encampment. Based on my long-standing work in Kakuma refugee camp, I am currently completing my first book entitled Occupied Refuge: Humanitarian Colonization and the Camp in Kenya.

4. Geographies of Humanitarian Markets. Most recently, I have developed an interest in racial capitalism and the political economy of 'markets' in humanitarian contexts. Alongside colleagues at the University of York (UK), I have examined the ways in which humanitarians, policymakers, and their corporate partners begin to reimagine camps and other spaces of aid as new frontiers of capitalist prospecting and perpetual extraction.