Boundary Work: Ruination, Forensic Evidence, and Care for the Dead at the US-Mexico Border


ACLS Fellowship Program


Honors College


"Boundary Work" examines deadly US border enforcement policies through the human remains they leave in their wake. It is about what local people do when they find themselves responsible for the lives lost during undocumented border crossing journeys—how they care for and mourn the dead. The name, “boundary work,” refers to the dimensions of this local confrontation. Attending to this labor can expose the culpability of US border enforcement as well as the United States’ lacking standards for death investigations. Based on over a decade of ethnographic fieldwork that investigates standards of postmortem care for migrant border crossers in the US southwest, the book imagines a wider ethics of postmortem care informed by science, family, and communities who bear witness to death on the border.