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The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement



Tugba Basaran is Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement at the University of Cambridge.

She held visiting positions at Harvard Law, Princeton, Sciences-Po and the Institute for Advanced Studies and tenure as assistant professor at the University of Kent. She was awarded a PhD in International Studies from the University of Cambridge.

Her research is located at the intersection of politics, law and society, examining global practices of governance. Her research is, amongst others, on legal borders and geographies, claims to extra-territoriality and the production of indifference, law’s distinctions between liberal and illiberal and tensions between state and empire. She is author of the monograph ‘Security, Law and Borders: At the Limit of Liberties’. In her research, she seeks to extrapolate past and present formations of governance, prompting queries on law’s subjectivities, space and time, in an effort to reimagine politics, the way we govern and are governed, and to question established political, legal and social theories.

Her expertise of international studies was moulded not only through research, but equally through residency and work in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe - in academic as well as senior managerial positions - in a career spanning over twenty-five years. She speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Turkish rather fluently – and some other languages poorly.


In her academic research she is concerned with global practices of governance, movement and knowledge, drawing upon political, economic, legal and sociological elements of inquiry: (a) for global movement, she is particularly interested in the circulation of people, cultures and technologies, exploring connectivities as well as barriers hereto, with a particular attention to human rights; (b) for global governance, she is particularly interested in techniques of governing, legal geographies of states, claims to territoriality and extraterritoriality as well as definitions of the international; (c) for knowledge, she is interested in postcolonial struggles on claims to knowledge as well as the politics of higher education. Her approach to these questions is transdisciplinary and transversal. Some of her most productive intellectual engagements have been with scholars from arts, humanities, social sciences and technologies. In an effort to address global challenges, she also pursues a practice-oriented agenda with a focus on digital social and financial innovations. With an abundance of research and work experience in informal economies and developing countries, she is particularly interested in how to take advantage of digital innovations for people at the margins, and how to co-produce scalable business models with indigenous start-ups.


Key publications: 

Basaran, T., A Journey Through Law’s Landscapes: Close Encounters of the Scalar Kind in: C. Greenhouse and C. Davis (eds.), Landscapes of Law: Practicing Sovereignty in Transnational Terrain. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 2020.

PARISS Collective, The Politics of Style: the Art of Writing and Disrupting Social Sciences, Political Anthropological Research in Social Sciences 1(1) 2020.

Basaran, T., The Outlawed: Landscapes of Human Rights in: D. Fassin (ed.), Deepening Divides: How Territorial Borders and Social Boundaries Delineate our World. London: Pluto Press 2019.

Guild, E., Basaran, T. and Allison, K., ‘From Zero to Hero? An Analysis of the Human Rights Protections within the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’ (Special Issue on Global Compact on Refugees and Migration), International Migration, 2019.

Basaran, T. and C. Olsson, ‘Becoming International: On Symbolic Capital, Conversion and Privilege’, Millennium 46(2) 2018: 1-23

Basaran, T. and E. Guild (eds.), Global Labour and the Migrant Premium: The Cost of Working Abroad, London: Routledge 2018.

Basaran, T., D. Bigo, E.P. Guittet and R.B.J. Walker (eds.), International Political Sociology: Transversal Lines in International Relations. London: Routledge 2017.

Basaran, T., ‘The Saved and the Drowned: Governing Indifference in the Name of Security’, Security Dialogue 46(3) 2015: 205-220.

Basaran, T., Security, Law and Borders: At the Limits of Liberties. London: Routledge 2010.

Director, Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement
Executive Director
Dr. Tugba  Basaran
Available for consultancy