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Jason De Leon on “Kings and Soldiers: Violence, Representation, and Photoethnographic Practice in the Context of Human Smuggling Across Mexico

May 15, 2018

“Since 2015 I have been involved in an analog photoethnographic project focused on documenting the daily lives of Honduran smugglers who profit from transporting undocumented migrants across Mexico. In this talk I discuss the relationship between transnational gangs and the human smuggling industry and outline the complicated role that photography plays as a field method and data source in this violent and ethically challenging ethnographic context.”

Bio: Jason De León is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and Director of the Undocumented Migration Project. His book, The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail, was published by the University of California Press in 2015. Information on his work can be found at