About the Book & Author

About the Book:

In her heart-pounding and courageous debut, Dr. Isabella Alexander-Nathani uncovers an unseen side of our global migrant and refugee crisis.

Burning at Europe’s Borders ;invites readers inside the lives of the world’s largest population of migrants and refugees — the hundreds of thousands who are trapped in hidden forest camps and forgotten detention centers at Europe’s southernmost borders in North Africa. “Hrig,” the Arabic term for “illegal immigration,” translates to “burning.” It signifies a migrant’s decision to burn their papers, in order to avoid identification and repatriation on their long journeys to safer shores. But it also signifies their decision to burn their past lives, sacrificing themselves in hopes of reaching a future on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. Alexander-Nathani examines this process of “burning,” traveling thousands of miles alongside those who have fled war and extreme poverty across the African continent only to find themselves trapped in Libya, Algeria, and Morocco. This book exposes the political agreements that have led to Europe’s control over African borders and the illicit practices that continue to mold North African countries into brutal holding cells for our world’s most vulnerable.

Burning at Europe’s Borders ;introduces new ways of doing anthropological research in the modern era, as Alexander-Nathani skillfully weaves images and individual stories into her analysis of changing migration flows at our world’s most critical border crossings. Her creative mixed-methods approach included community filmmaking practices and over three years of ethnographic research in African smuggling rings, hidden migrant brotherhoods, and European Union-funded detention centers. This is an ideal cross-over book, promising to engage students, scholars, policymakers, and popular audiences seeking to step inside the heart of our world’s greatest humanitarian crisis.

About the Author:

Dr. Isabella Alexander-Nathaniis an award-winning writer, filmmaker, educator, and human rights activist. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, her work is motivated by her belief that storytelling has the power to humanize complex political issues. Her latest book, Burning at Europe's Borders, and related documentary film, The Burning, uncover the human sides of our global migrant and refugee crisis. Alexander-Nathani's work has been featured on BBC, CNN, NPR, PRI, and Al Jazeera, and she is a regular contributor to SAPIENS, where she writes a monthly column called “Borders.” Her speaking programs have brought her to stages around the world, including the United Nations General Assembly and the Parliament of the World’s Religions, where she has delivered keynote addresses to audiences of more than 10,000. The American Anthropological Association presented her with the “Emerging Leader in Anthropology” award in 2016, and her latest project has been supported by multiple grants from The National Science Foundation. She has held faculty positions in the Departments of Anthropology and Film Studies at Emory University and the Department of Social Sciences at Morocco's national university. She currently serves as Founder and CEO of Small World Films, a non-profit production studio. She uses grounded research and social impact storytelling to lift the voices of marginalized populations to the global stage and fight for international policy change.

You can learn more about the author at www.isabella-alexander-nathani.com