Speaker to Discuss Clandestine Border Crossing between Mexico and Arizona

University of Michigan’s Jason De León to speak at The College of Wooster on Jan. 29

13 January, 2015 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Jason De León, professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, will present "Undocumented: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona" on Thursday, Jan. 29, at The College of Wooster. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.), beginning at 7:30 p.m. A reception will follow the event.

De León will talk about the United States' immigration enforcement strategy along the southern border in the mid-1990s, which was known as "Prevention through Deterrence." This strategy increased security in unauthorized crossing areas surrounding urban ports of entry in an attempt to shift undocumented migration toward remote border regions, such as the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, where security is not as intense but crossing conditions are more difficult, according to De León.

Since 2009, De León has directed the Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term anthropological analysis of clandestine border crossings between Northern Mexico and Southern Arizona that uses a combination of ethnographic, archaeological, and forensic research to understand this violent social process.

"In this presentation, I will outline my current project, which draws on theories of materiality, non-human actors, and taphonomy," he said. "This will help to improve our understanding of how people prepare for crossings, the diverse ways that migrants experience the desert, and what migrant deaths and the post-mortem lives of their corpses can tell us about immigration enforcement and state-crafted violence."

De León's lecture is sponsored by the Archaeology Student Colloquium, the Program in Archaeology, the Local Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Cultural Events Committee, and the local chapter of Lambda Alpha National Honor Society in Anthropology. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2474) or e-mail.