Caroline Eaton Tracey

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9932

Approve Date

October 24, 2019

Project Title

Tracey, Caroline (California, Berkeley, U. of) ""The Soul Will Fly Home of its Own Accord": Building a Transnational Infrastructure to Address Migrant Death"

My research is an ethnography of the emerging transnational infrastructure to facilitate the discovery, identification, and repatriation of deceased migrants discovered in the US-Mexico borderlands. Since 1994, thousands of migrants have perished in the region. From 2004 to 2012, the geography of mortality shifted from southern Arizona to South Texas, where scandal erupted in 2013 when it was discovered that bodies had been interred in mass graves without DNA collection, in violation of state law. In 2013, the South Texas Human Rights Center began to construct what I call a “postmortem infrastructure” to return the remains of deceased migrants to families. The infrastructure is complex, highly social, and still taking shape. I use an ethnography of the postmortem infrastructure as a vehicle for approaching the question, What is the relationship between the body and state power in the post-1994 borderlands? How is that relationship constructed, and how is it resisted?