Samuel Fernando Rivera Andrade
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationEl Colegio de Michoacan
Grant numberGr. 10241
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleRivera Andrade, Samuel (El Colegio de Michoacan) "Dragging a Limb, but Making a Path: Techniques of the Body Among Migrants Disabled while Crossing Mexico. "
This project is located at the intersection of migration studies and disability studies. Since the 1990s, migrants have increasingly used the Mexican railways to travel to the United States. Accidents on the ‘Beast’ have led to thousands of grave injuries. I concentrate on survivors severely injured on route, who refashion themselves as disabled. My method is fundamentally visual: I record video both to register their process of rehabilitation and to initiate storytelling, usually autobiographical. My collection includes video made by migrants with their phones. this provides a view of their interaction with the machinery of the ‘middle corridor’ through Mexico, including transit infrastructure they must learn to navigate as amputees. In hostile terrains, stumps and prosthetics become signs that discourage other migrants. But they use their bodies as sign. Their bodily techniques acquire a tacticity seen in their jokes, the hiding or showing of stumps, and even participation in sports, done in a way that challenges ableism and local mobility regimes in localities. A premise I share with other researchers is that violently injured bodies can be the site of sovereignty claims, the amputee is spectacularized. The ‘homosacerization’ of migrants in Mexico demands attention, but how does it really work?