Jason De Leon, “The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail” (U California Press, 2015)

How can you integrate archaeology and photography with ethnographic research to understand the experiences of clandestine migrants? Today we talk with Jason de Leon, professor of Anthropology and Chicano/a Studies at UCLA, Director of the Undocumented Migration Project. Jason talks about how he drew on a mixture of ethnography, interviews, forensics, and archaeology of the objects left behind by migrants to write The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail (U California Press, 2015). He then explains how he shifted to studying Honduran human smugglers for Soldiers and Kings, his current project. Finally, he talks about how he integrated photography into this more recent research, reflecting on the potential for integrating still images into ethnographic work.

Alex Diamond is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Texas, Austin.

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