Tina Shull (she/her) is a public historian of race, empire, immigration enforcement, and climate migration in the modern US and the World.
She holds a PhD in History from UC Irvine, a Master’s in Humanities and Social Thought from NYU, and a BA in History from UCLA. Her new book from UNC Press, Detention Empire, explores the rise of migrant detention in the early 1980s as a form of counterinsurgency.
Shull is the creator of the digital history projects IMM Print, Climate Refugee Stories, and Climate Inequality CLT, and lead curator of the Climates of Inequality: Charlotte museum exhibit. She was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations in 2016 for her work in immigration detention storytelling. Climate Refugee Stories has been awarded grants from NC Humanities, National Geographic Documenting Human Migrations, and the University of California Critical Refugee Studies Collective. In 2018-20, Shull was a post-doctoral fellow in Global American Studies at Harvard University where she taught in the Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights unit.
BOOK: Detention Empire
UNC Press, Justice, Power, and Politics series, 2022
Honorable Mention, First Book Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society
The early 1980s marked a critical turning point for the rise of modern mass incarceration in the United States. The Mariel Cuban migration of 1980, alongside increasing arrivals of Haitian and Central American asylum-seekers, galvanized new modes of covert warfare in the Reagan administration's globalized War on Drugs. Drawing on critical refugee studies, community archives, and newly available government documents, Shull demonstrates how migrant detention operates as a form of counterinsurgency at the intersections of US war-making and domestic carceral trends, laying the foundations of new forms of carceral and imperial expansion.
Exhibit: Climates of Inequality Charlotte
In partnership with UNC Charlotte’s Public History program and the Charlotte Teachers Institute, Climates of Inequality is on display at the Levine Museum of the New South from May to September 2023. Within the traveling exhibit of multimedia stories from across North and South America, a featured exhibit, Climate Refugees in the City of Creeks, explores histories of environmental change, displacement, and migration in Charlotte. Showcasing voices and artwork of students, teachers, and community members, it highlights Charlotte’s contributions to the environmental justice movement, from the first Earth Day in 1970 to today.
Exposed: The Injustice of Immigration Detention
Building Unity in the Mass Incarceration Crisis: Centering Black Migrant Experiences in the Fight for Abolition