Photo of William Walters

William Walters


Degrees:BSc (London) MA (CUNY) PhD (York)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2790
Office:C673 Loeb Building

Supervisory Areas

Political sociology; borders and migration; secrecy and security; genealogies of politics and government.


I am a Professor of political sociology, cross-appointed in the Departments of Political Science and Sociology & Anthropology and FPA Research Excellence Chair (2019-22) at Carleton. As an undergraduate I trained in chemistry at Imperial College, London, before doing graduate studies in politics at City University of New York and York University, Toronto. I have published widely in the areas of political sociology, political geography, citizenship studies, security and insecurity, and Foucault studies. My research fields have been unemployment, the supranational governance of Europe, migration, and, most recently, secrecy. What links all of these areas is my interest in denaturalizing experiences and categories, and interrogating their relationship to different forms of politics.

I am currently working on three projects: (1) a SSHRC funded (2017-22) collaborative study of what I call air deportation which focuses on the role of civil aviation in the forced removals of foreigners and illegalized people in and from Europe; (2) with Martina Tazzioli I am co-editing A Handbook on Governmentality (Edward Elgar publishers) (3) a book project tentatively titled Secrecy: A Critical Introduction.

Graduate Supervision

At Carleton I have supervised many students at MA, doctoral and postdoctoral levels, and visiting researchers. Many are now in tenured or tenure-track positions in Canada, the United States, and Europe. If you think your research overlaps with mine and you are looking for supervision, do get in touch!

Recent Publications


Walters, W. 2021. State Secrecy and Security: Refiguring the Covert Imaginary (Routledge 2021). You can listen to podcast discussions of the book here and here.

Walters, W., Heller, C. and Pezzani, L. (eds) Viapolitics: Borders, Migration and the Power of Locomotion (Duke University Press, 2021).

Walters, W. 2012. Governmentality: Critical Encounters, Abingdon/New York: Routledge, p.171. [Japanese translation with new preface: Tokyo: Getsuyosha, 2016].

Recent Articles, Chapters, and Posts (Selected)

Walters, W. 2021. ‘Towards an Aerial Geography of Forced Migration’ in G. Grappi (ed.) Migration and the Contested Politics of Justice: Europe and the Global Dimension, New York: Routledge, 122-139.

Walters, W. 2021. ‘What is a Migration Route?’ in E. Carmel, K. Lenner and R. Paul (eds) Handbook on the Governance and Politics of Migration, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Press, 242-253.

Walters, W. 2020. ‘Everyday Secrecy: Oral History and the Social Life of a Top Secret Research Establishment during the Cold War’. Security Dialogue. 51(1): 60-76.

Walters, W. 2020. ‘Secrecy and Migration’, PARSE Journal, Issue 10.

Walters, W. 2020. ‘Technologies of Deportation’, in P. Adey et al (eds) Handbook of Displacement, New York: Palgrave, 237-254.

Walters, W. and Luscombe, A. 2020. ‘Postsecrecy and Place: Researching Secrecy Amidst the Ruins of an Atomic Weapons Facility’, in M. De Goede, P. Pallister-Wilkins and E. Bosme (eds), Secrecy and Methods in Security Research, New York: Routledge, 63-78.

Dijstelbloem, H. and Walters, W. 2019. ‘Atmospheric Border Politics: The Morphology of Border and Solidarity Practices in Europe’, Geopolitics. DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2019.1577826, pp.1-24 .

Tazzioli, M. and Walters, W. 2019. ‘Migration, Solidarity and the Limits of Europe’ , Global Discourse 9(1): 175-190. DOI: 10.1332/204378918X15453934506030.

Walters, W. 2019. ‘The Microphysics of Deportation. A Critical Reading of Return Flight Monitoring Reports.’ M. Hoesch and L. Laube (eds) Proceedings of the 2018 ZiF Workshop “Studying Migration Policies at the Interface between Empirical Research and Normative Analysis”, ULB Münster (, 161–185.

Walters, W. 2018. ‘Expulsion, Power, Mobilization’. Radical Philosophy Series 2 Volume 3 (December): 33-37.

Walters, W. 2018. ‘Deportation as Air Power’, Guest Blog, Border Criminologies.

Moffette, D. and Walters, W. 2018. ‘Flickering Presence: Theorizing Race and Racism in the Governmentality of Borders and Migration’, Studies in Social Justice. 12(1): 92-110.

De Genova, N., Lecadet, C., and Walters, W. 2018. ‘Expulsion, pouvoir, mobilisation’, Vacarme No. 83: 15-21.

Walters, W. 2018. ‘Aviation as Deportation Infrastructure: Airports, Planes, and Expulsion’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 44(16): 2796-2817.

Walters, W. and A. Luscombe. 2017. ‘Hannah Arendt and the Art of Secrecy; Or, The Fog of Cobra Mist’, International Political Sociology 11(1): 5-20.

Walters, W. 2017. ‘The Microphysics of Power Redux’, in P. Bonditti, D. Bigo and F. Gros (eds) Foucault and the Modern International, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 57-76.

Walters, W. 2017. ‘Live Governance, Borders, and the Time-Space of the Situation: EUROSUR and the Genealogy of Bordering in Europe’, Comparative European Politics 15(5): 794-617.

Walters, W. and B. Lüthi. 2016. ‘The Politics of Cramped Space: Dilemmas of Action, Containment, and Mobility’, International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 29(4): 359-366. [75%]

Tazzioli, M. and W. Walters. 2016. ‘The Sight of Migration: Governmentality, Visibility, and Europe’s Contested Borders’, Global Society 30(3): 445-464.

Salter, M. and W. Walters. 2016. ‘Bruno Latour Encounters International Relations: An Interview’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies 44(3): 524-46.

Anaïs, S. and W. Walters. 2016. ‘Hazardous Material Photography: An Interview with Paul Shambroom‘, Cultural Geographies 23(1): 159-168.

Walters, W. 2015. ‘Reflections on Migration and Governmentality‘, Movements: Journal der Kritischen Migrations- und Grenzeregimeforschung 1(1).

Walters, W. 2014. ‘Drone Strikes, Dingpolitik, and Beyond: Furthering the Debate on Materiality and Security’, Security Dialogue 45(2): 101-118.