"Cherry-Picking" the Material Record of Border Crossings: Artifact Selection and Narrative Construction Among Non-Migrants

Author(s): Leah B Mlyn; Jason De León

Year: 2015

Summary

Since 2000, over 4 million people have been apprehended trying to cross without authorization into the U.S. from Mexico via the Arizona desert. During this process millions of pounds of artifacts associated with migration have been left behind. This includes clothes, consumables, and personal effects. Subsequently, humanitarian groups, artists, local U.S. citizens, museum curators, and anthropologists have collected and used these artifacts in a multitude of ways. In this paper we draw on interviews and participant observation data collected with the aforementioned groups to explore how value judgments, emotion, class, ethnicity, gender, and political ideology impact what is collected and how artifacts are interpreted and deployed in various contexts. We also draw on recent scholarship focused on the political nature of archaeological inference to explore the complexities of trying to use the material culture of clandestine migration to demystify this highly contentious social process.   

Cite this Record

"Cherry-Picking" the Material Record of Border Crossings: Artifact Selection and Narrative Construction Among Non-Migrants. Leah B Mlyn, Jason De León. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433800)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 220