Dwelling While Crossing: Migrant Mobility, Material Memory, and Religious Place-Making in the Sonoran Desert

Author(s): Jordan E Davis

Year: 2018

Summary

Migrant-erected shrine sites encountered throughout the Sonoran Desert draw attention to the significance of religious place-making in transient spaces, of dwelling while crossing. As migrant material cultures continue to be degraded as "trash," shrine sites made by migrants are likely to become central to the memory of undocumented migration across the US/Mexico Border. Claiming these sites as "monuments" of undocumented migration, however, may threaten to sanitize what is a violent social process. Acts of monumentalization pose a danger of recording only the aesthetic and symbolic surface of these sites, obscuring the costs it takes for migrants to erect shrines during their journeys—such as the decision to carry votive candles in one’s backpack instead of water. Drawing upon archaeological field research conducted with the Undocumented Migration Project, the author illustrates how religious place-making in the Sonoran Desert complicates understanding of migrant mobility and material memory in the US/Mexico Borderlands.

Cite this Record

Dwelling While Crossing: Migrant Mobility, Material Memory, and Religious Place-Making in the Sonoran Desert. Jordan E Davis. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441768)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 831