Downwind, Downhill, Downstream: Binational Security on the U.S.-Mexico Border


Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 12:00pm


CGIS South, S250, 1730 Cambridge Street

Speaker: Ieva Jusionyte, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Social Studies
Moderator: Fernando Bizzarro, PhD student, Department of Government; Graduate Student Associate, DRCLAS

image of children in front of fence

In the U.S.-Mexico border region, environmental emergencies – from wildfires to floods to toxic spills – are not circumscribed by jurisdictional boundaries and rescue operations unfold on the binational scale. Therefore, government policies aimed at fortifying and militarizing the border (including the construction of walls) undermine old partnerships between Mexican and American emergency services and thus threaten the safety and wellbeing of residents on both sides of the international divide. Based on ethnographic research in northern Mexico and southern U.S., this talk examines what happens when two security paradigms with very different approaches to space become misaligned.

Ieva Jusionyte is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Social Studies at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of political-legal and medical anthropology, with a focus on the ethnographic study of state power and the materiality of violence. She is the author of two books: Savage Frontier: Making News and Security on the Argentine Border (University of California Press, 2015) and Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border (University of California Press, 2018). 

Fernando Bizzarro is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard and a Graduate Student Associate to the DRCLAS. A political scientist from Brazil, he researches the nature, causes, and consequences of democracy and political parties in Latin America.

The Tuesday Seminar Series is a bring your own brown bag lunch series. Please feel free to enjoy your lunch at the lecture, drinks will be provided.