Hannah Kass

Understanding Undocumented Migration through Anthropology and Archaeology

This summer, I completed research with the Undocumented Migration Project, a long term archaeological and anthropological study of undocumented migration on the Sonoran Arizona/Mexico border. I participated in archaeological field work, which consisted of hiking desert trails often traveled by migrants and surveying for sites with about ten other undergraduates, ten graduate students, and two professors. These sites contained anywhere from five to hundreds of items, discarded by migrants during their border-crossing journeys. The items we discovered were the material artifacts which we studied in order to understand the multifaceted process of undocumented migration in this region. Additionally, I conducted an independent ethnographic research project which sought to answer the question: how do various actors on the border—migrants, Border Patrol agents, environmental activists, humanitarian groups, and residents in particular—conceptualize the violence that the larger institution of the Border Patrol perpetrates against migrants?