November 2, 2012 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Ben Muller, a professor in the Department of Political Science, will be participating in the Critical Border Studies Speaker Series at York University in Toronto on Monday, November 5. Muller will be discussing the relevance of surveillance technologies in the borderland of the Sonoran Desert.

He argues that we are witnessing an emerging “borderworld,” where technologies play a significant role at the border and in the political economy of the Sonoran Desert. Muller studies the ways in which both public and private actors have developed this borderland. He will outline the significance of employing people within that region and how they are working for means that inhibit their mobility.

Muller seeks to introduce new literature to students who may not be familiar with the term somatechnics -  the study between technology and the human body. In addition, he seeks to emphasize on the consequences that result when state choose to utilize these methods for security purposes.

Muller’s research has focused primarily on sovereignty and identity. Increasingly, he has been studying the border as it is the site where technology has been inserting itself into the somatechnical realm. Muller points out that borders are being redefined and argues that borders now operate when you simply book an airline ticket.

“Forms of surveillance and social sorting exist…the state overcreates, overcodes and visualizes our own identities,” explains Muller in a recent interview. His research tends to be on the dynamics of power and how states reify sovereignty. He also studies how states gain more power and authority by using somatechnics (e.g., states will watch travel patterns and decide if someone is a "terrorist" depending on birth location and travel destinations). More than often, these decisions are incorrect and tend to overlook the real threat. 

Muller teaches An Introduction to International Relations (1020E), often International Law and Organization (3345), Critical Security Studies (4430E) and usually teaches a half-course on borders securities and identities in the spring term.

To view Muller’s bio page, please visit

For more information about the Department of Political Science, please visit