Friday, April 30, 2021, 12-1:30 pm (AZ Time)
Presentations and a Panel Discussion Moderated by Dr. Thomas Sheridan
Dr. Rebecca Crocker, College of Public Health, UA
Vicki Gaubeca, Director, Southern Border Communities Coalition
Dr. Linda Green, School of Anthropology, UA
Dr. Robin Reineke, Southwest Center, UA and Co-Founder of the Colibrí Center for Human Rights
The Border and Its Bodies will examine the decades-long humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-México border by focusing on that most basic of all social units: the human body. When the U.S. government launched Operation Gatekeeper in 1994, the policy of “prevention through deterrence” clamped down on undocumented migrants crossing the border through urban centers like San Diego, Nogales, and El Paso. Rather than deterring migrants, however, Operation Gatekeeper forced hundreds of thousands of people from Mexico and Central America to brave the mountains and deserts of the Southwest, where thousands perished from exposure or dehydration.
Dr. Reineke will discuss her work with the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner to identify the dead, and among families to find the missing. Dr. Rebecca Crocker will explore the toll for those who survived the crossing and settled in Tucson, AZ, facing the embodied stressors of undocumented status, family separation, and the constant threat of deportation and imprisonment. Dr. Linda Green will examine the plight of Guatemalan indigenous peoples, especially women, who are seeking asylum in the United States. Even as they flee unimaginable violence in Guatemala, violence stalks them across Mexico, at the border and in US detention. Vicki Gaubeca will ground the seminar in the challenges faced by non-profits like the Southern Border Communities Coalition as they struggle to confront and change a policy based on militarization rather than human rights.
This virtual seminar builds upon a research seminar held at the Amerind Foundation in Dragoon, AZ, in March 2016, where anthropologists from the U.S. and Mexico shared their perspectives and then contributed chapters to The Border and Its Bodies: The Embodiment of Risk on the U.S.-México Line, published by the University of Arizona Press in Fall 2019, just before the Covid pandemic.