Border Panic: AIDS, Immigration and Asylum in the UK, 1985-2005

Year of award: 2023


  • Dr Somak Biswas

    University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Project summary

This project will examine how the AIDS crisis reshaped the UK's border regime. It will argue that AIDS mobilised an expansive border apparatus - executed through international bureaucracy, health interventions, medical procedures and asylum protocols - all of which spoke to the exigencies posed by forms of Black African and South Asian mobilities in Britain.Through extensive archival research in Britain, Europe, India and Kenya, it will investigate the specific intersection of race, sexual health and migration posed by AIDS on Britain's racialised minorities. Investigating the collective interventions made by the UK Foreign Office, Home Office and Health Department, the project will study how AIDS racialised and medicalised immigrant sexuality in new ways. Ultimately, it will advance an original argument about the significance of HIV/ AIDS in transforming UK?s migration and asylum governance, while fostering new languages of sexual health activism in racially minoritised groups. The project has three core objectives: - To study the impact of HIV/AIDS on the UK's border apparatus between 1985 and 2005. - To analyse state and NGO health interventions targeting the UK's Black and Asian 'ethnic minority' populations. - To examine new strands of Black and South Asian activism responding to AIDS-related health interventions and border exclusions