Visiting Research Fellow at TraffLab
Dr. Romm Lewkowicz
Dr. Romm Lewkowicz is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle, Germany) and a Visiting Research Fellow at Trafflab. 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. His PhD 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. 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.
Informal Practices in Illicit Border-Regimes: The Economy of Legal and Fake Travel Documents Sustaining The EU Asylum System, 18(2) Migration Letters 177-188 (2021).