SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Mr Hassan Ould Moctar

BA (NUI Maynooth), MSc (University of Amsterdam)


Hassan Ould Moctar
Mr Hassan Ould Moctar
Email address:
Thesis title:
EU Border Externalisation and the Postcolonial Conditioning of Contemporary Capitalism in Mauritania
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


My research interests encompass migration, borders and development, with a particular interest in Mauritania and the regions of West Africa and the Sahara more broadly. I hold an MSc in Sociology, with a focus on Migration and Ethnic Studies, which I obtained with distinction from the University of Amsterdam.

PhD Research

Much of the literature on EU border externalisation restricts its scope of concern to illegalised Europe-bound migrants. While insightful, such two-dimensional approaches obscure much of the contexts in which EU external border control policies operate. My doctoral thesis addresses this oversight through an analysis of the externalisation process in Mauritania, making two interrelated arguments. Firstly, border externalisation is conditioned by a qualitative shift in territorial organisation that took place during the colonial era in Mauritania. Externalisation is furthermore animated by the same asymmetric centre-periphery dynamics that prefigured this colonial shift in territorial organisation. Secondly, the migrant illegality that the EU border regime produces is a manifestation of a more general and deep-seated feature of contemporary capitalism. For these reasons, the thesis argues border externalisation and the migrant illegality it produces to uphold the postcolonial conditions of contemporary capitalism in Mauritania.


  • Ould Moctar, H., 2020. The Proximity of the Past in Mauritania: EU Border Externalisation and its Colonial Antecedents. Anthropologie et développement, 51, pp. 33-50
  • Ould Moctar, H., 2018. Urban Informality and the Boundaries of Belonging: Notes on Ethnicity, Nationality and Class in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Movements: Journal for Critical Migration and Border Studies, 4(2), pp. 201-224
  • Ould Moctar, H., 2017. Whither the Rights of the Digital Subject? The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research, 10, pp. 111-115


  • Broadening and Deepening the Gaze on EU Border Externalisation in Mauritania” – virtual panel on “Border Externalization: Trajectories and future directions for the study of dis/un/re-placed borders” at annual conference of EASA, 23 July, 2020
  • “Mauritania, the EU border, and the Colonial Shadow of Race” – ASU Centre for Maghrib Studies Annual Conference, INLAC institute, Fez, Morocco, 15 December 2019
  • “Containing Capital’s Outcasts: Situating migrant illegality within the urban political economy of Mauritania” – Historical Materialism Annual Conference, SOAS, University of London, 1 November 2019
  • “Living Labour and the Selective Permeability of the EU Border in Nouadhibou, Mauritania” – EASA Anthropology of Labour Network Workshop, University of Amsterdam, 1 October, 2019


  • National University of Ireland (research funded by NUI travelling studentship)
  • SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies