Ashwini Vasanthakumar is an Associate Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy at Queen’s Law School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard, a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto, a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School and a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford, where she studied as a Canadian Rhodes Scholar.
Prior to Queen’s, she held positions at King’s College London, University of York, University of Oxford and Jindal Global Law School. She is also a researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies (Stockholm).
Dr. Vasanthakumar’s research explores political authority, membership and obligation. Her monograph, The Ethics of Exile: A political theory of diaspora will be published by Oxford University Press in late 2021. Current research projects include: Privatisation and legitimacy in border control, victims’ duties to resist their oppression, as well as transitional justice as transnational justice.
Her research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the British Academy, the Swedish Research Council and the Wallenberg Foundation.
Research project at the Centre for Fundamental Rights:
Legitimacy at the border
The number of actors tasked with border control has proliferated—private citizens, airline carriers, multinational security corporations, supranational entities, international organisations, foreign states—and the mechanisms at their disposal are increasingly intrusive and coercive. As scholars have noted, this creates shifting and proliferating borders, with attendant abuses, arbitrariness and rights violations. My research seeks to identify the principles of political legitimacy that regulate border control and to elaborate on the agents and processes required to secure this legitimacy. My research aims to push philosophical debates around migration beyond the question of states’ rights to control their borders to the question of how they may enforce their borders. In doing so, it also contributes to ongoing legal and policy debates about border control, which increasingly focus on the agents and mechanisms by which borders are created and enforced.