Visiting Research Fellow at TraffLab


Romm Lewkowicz

Romm Lewkowicz is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Anthropology at The Graduate Center CUNY (The City University of New York) and a Visiting Research Fellow at Trafflab for the 2020-2021 academic year. His research and teaching draw on political theory, critical legal studies, and ethnographic methodologies in an effort to reevaluate our understanding of the history and experience of forced migration, asylum regulation, and post-war European integration. He is currently completing his doctoral dissertation titled: “Documenting the Undocumented: Experimenting Europe’s Future at the Biometric Migrant Archive.” His dissertation is a multi-sited ethnography of Eurodac, a pan-European apparatus for the biometric documentation of Europe’s asylum seekers, moving between Brussels, Izmir, Malta, the Greek island of Chios, and Berlin. By attending to both the biometric apparatus and its lived experience by asylum seekers on the move (mainly Syrian, Iraqis, and Yemenis), the dissertation explores how the illegal migrant body has served as a laboratory for experimentation in biometric documentation, and a site for postwar European self-constitution. Lewkowicz’s prior research has been supported by a Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship and a Max Planck Society Minerva Fellowship. Previously, Lewkowicz has held various research positions in migrant rights NGOs around the world, including the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and the African Refugee Development Center (Tel Aviv), Detention Action (London) and Asylos—Research for Asylum (Brussels).

Research at Trafflab: Lewkowicz's research project is on the fake document market in Athens and Izmir and on the figure of the smuggler as an entrepreneurial bureaucrat. The project studies the relationship between informal migrant labor practices, the smuggling economy and the production of legality in the EU.





Relevant publications:

Informal Practices in Illicit Border-Regimes: The Economy of Legal and Fake Travel Documents Sustaining The EU Asylum System, 18(2) Migration Letters (Forthcoming, 2021).