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Mexico Working Group

Mark Your Calendars—Upcoming Events

This page is maintained by the Working Group and may not reflect recent changes. For the most up-to-date calendar/event information, please see

Spring 2015 Events

  • Wednesday, January 28 at noon (112-114 McKenna Hall): “The Second City Anew: Mexicans, Urban Culture, and Migration in the Transformation of Chicago, 1940-1986,” Mike Amezcua (Assistant Professor of History, University of Notre Dame). This event is co-sponsored with the Institute for Latino Studies.

  • Mexico Working GroupTuesday February 10 at 12:30 (112-114 McKenna Hall): “Searching for Mañana: A Century of American Re-Creationism in Mexico,” Jason Ruiz (Assistant Professor of American Studies, University of Notre Dame). This event is co-sponsored with the Institute for Latino Studies.

  • Friday, February 13: “La larga década de los sesentas (1954-1976) en América Latina—desde una perspectiva católica y transnacional” conversación con Ana María Bidegain (Professor of Religious Studies, Florida International University). For more information, please contact Jaime Pensado. TO BE POSTPONED

  • Monday, February 16 at noon (C103 Hesburgh Center): "The Land of Open Graves: Necroviolence and the Politics of Migrant
    Death in the Arizona Desert," Jason de León (Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan)

    Since the mid-1990s, the U.S. federal government has relied on a border enforcement strategy known as “Prevention Through Deterrence.” Using various security infrastructure and techniques of surveillance, this strategy funnels undocumented migrants towards remote and rugged terrain such as the Sonoran Desert of Arizona with the hope that mountains ranges, extreme temperatures, and other “natural” obstacles will deter people from unauthorized entry. Hundreds of people perish annually while undertaking this dangerous activity. Since 2009, the Undocumented Migration Project has used a combination of forensic, archaeological, and ethnographic approaches to understand the various forms of violence that characterize the social process of clandestine migration. In this presentation I focus on what happens to the bodies of migrants who die in the desert. Drawing on the archaeological concept of taphonomy (i.e., the various post-mortem processes that impact biological remains), I argue that the way that bodies decompose in this environment is a form of hidden political violence that has deep ideological roots. Using ethnographic data from New York and Ecuador, I focus on the families of people who have lost loved ones in desert and demonstrate how the post-mortem destruction of migrant corpses creates devastating forms of long-lasting trauma.

Past Events

If you would like additional information about the working group, or if you would like to participate in one of our events, please contact Jaime Pensado, Vania Smith-Oka, or Rodrigo Castro Cornejo




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