SAR Symposium: Anthropology at the Border


Start Date: Aug 21, 2020 - 10:00am
End Date: Aug 21, 2020 - 11:00am

Location: Presented via Zoom

Led by SAR's 2013 Weatherhead fellow and Hostile Terrain 94  curator Jason De León, the Beyond Borders Symposium brings De León together with leading anthropology and social sciences scholars C.J. Alvarez, Deborah A. Boehm, and Ieva Jusionyte, for a presentation and dialogue exploring their research on US/Mexico border issues and policies, and how their projects and the communities they work with have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Register here


Participting scholars:

SAR 2019 Mellon fellow, C.J. Alvarez / Assistant professor in the department of Mexican American and Latino/a Studies at the University of Texas, Austin, CJ Alvarez was the 2019 Mellon fellow at SAR. He is the author of the 2019 Border Lands, Border Waters, a History of Construction on the US/Mexico Divide which explores the history of the construction projects that have shaped the region and how an examination of these efforts can re-frame our understanding of how the border has come to look and function as well as how these projects have shaped current debates on the future of the region. His current work, A history of the Chihuahuan desert, is an ethnographic exploration of the Chihuahuan desert bio-region and the lives of people who have lived in rural areas across the area which spans Southern New Mexico and Northern Mexico.

SAR 2013 Research Associate, Deborah A. Boehm / Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Race and Identity at the University of Nevada, Reno, Boehm was a research associate at SAR in 2013. She is the author of Returned: Going and Coming in an Age of Deportation (2016) and  co-editor of Illegal Encounters, The Effect of Detention and Deportation on Young People (2019). She is currently a fellow in residence with the California-based nonprofit, Freedom for Immigrants.

SAR 2013 resident fellow, Jason De León / De León’s 2015 book, The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail(winner of the 2018 J.I. Staley Prize) chronicles the suffering and deaths of undocumented migrants who attempted to cross into the United States through the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. His work combines ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, and forensic science and questions the effectiveness of the 1994 Prevention through Deterrence policies enacted by the U.S. government. Building on this work, De León created the traveling installation, Hostile Terrain 94.

Ieva Jusionyte / Associate professor of anthropology at Harvard University, Justionyte works with first responders at the US/Mexico border. Her ethnographic work examines where the lines between ethical and professional responsibilities come into conflict with legal circumstances when dealing with undocumented individuals. Her 2018 book, Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border, looks at the pressures experienced by first responders working under heightened security on both sides of the border. The book was selected as the winner of the 2016 Public Anthropology competition.