“Work Is Work”: Kinship, Race, and Violence on the Human Smuggling Trail

Free Screening and Lecture presented by Wolf Humanities Center

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Talk and film screening on the human smuggling economy and effects of undocumented migration.

The 2019–2020 Forum on Kinship, Wolf Humanities Center, presents

Jason De León, Professor of Anthropology and Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Executive Director, Undocumented Migration Project

LECTURE, 5:00-6:30 pm:  "Work is Work": Kinship, Race, and Violence on the Human Smuggling Trail

Transnational gangs such as the notorious MS-13 have recently become directly involved in the human smuggling economy in Latin America. Award-winning anthropologist Jason De León is renowned for his field studies on how clandestine migration has become a complicated, often violent social relationship between smugglers and their clients. His latest work follows the daily lives of Honduran gang members in Mexico whose notions of kinship, race, and gender are crucial for understanding how smuggling systems adapt to changes in U.S. immigration security strategies, and for making sense of the seemingly senseless violence in which people find themselves.

FILM SCREENING, 7:00 pm:  Border South 
dir. Raúl O. Paz Pastrana, 2017

The “North-American Migrant Trail” extends for over 2,300 miles from Southern Mexico to the US–Mexico Border. Every year hundreds of thousands of migrants make their way along this trail. To stem the immigration tide, Mexico and the U.S. collaborate to crack down on migrants, forcing them into ever more treacherous, deadly territory. Border South combines ethnography and cinema-verité to explore the harsh environment and brutal journey of undocumented immigrants from Central America along this trail.

Lecture and screening free and open to the public. ASL interpretation will be provided. If you have any accessibility questions or concerns, please email us. More information: https://wolfhumanities.upenn.edu/events/deleon

Before the talk and screening, be sure to visit the pop-up exhibition Hostile Terrain 94 at the Penn Museum! One day only: September 25, 10:00am-5:00pm.

Events cosponsored by Penn’s Department of Anthropology, Center for Experimental Ethnography, Cinema and Media Studies Program, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, Penn Museum, Penn Provost, Price Lab for Digital Humanities, and Sachs Program for Arts Innovation.