Situational Identity and The Materiality of Illegal Immigration
Author(s): Lori Lee
This paper centers on a material culture analysis of the contents of an abandoned emigrant’s backpack found in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Documents and objects identify the emigrant as a young Haitian man. These objects are remnants from the long, arduous journey of a displaced individual from a politically and economically conflicted homeland to a contested U.S. territory. The objects are tangible artifacts of struggle, persistence, and agency. They are simultaneously artifacts of identity--expressions of self-definition as a Haitian emigrant in transit. The material culture provides a means of accessing the multifaceted identity of a Haitian migrant, his sense of self, and how it was historically constructed within the society in which he lived. The search for the identity of ‘Ulysses’ serves as a microcosm for understanding broader Haitian immigration processes and the recontextualized identities of displaced Haitians in transit and upon arrival in new territories.
Cite this Record
Situational Identity and The Materiality of Illegal Immigration. Lori Lee. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437361)
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