Sara Rendell

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9621

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Rendell, Sara R., U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Closeness through Distance: Geo-Political Intimacies between the U.S. and West Africa,' supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna

SARA RENDELL, then a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was awarded a grant in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Closeness through Distance: Geo-Political Intimacies between the US and West Africa,’ supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna. How do families, separated across distance make contact — feel and feel in return? And what becomes of human relations without correspondence, without call and response, without movement in return? This research examined how immigration policy and enforcement affects transnational kinship groups, with an explicit focus on the downstream effects of U.S. immigration-related policies and enforcement since the 1990s that compromise the kin integrity of marginalized groups. Not only do immigration legal processes of sorting close ties break some families; they also make others. Overall, this research asked how kin groups in a global political context that separates them from each other — whether they are spread across continents or walled off from each other in immigration detention centers — redefine what it means to be close to loved ones. The study explores the simultaneous disaggregation and intensification of kinship across a transnational kin network, spread from West Africa to North America, as well as inside U.S. immigration detention facilities. This research focused on the work of making and maintaining intimate relations among kin. How is transnational kinship intimately made and remade while state immigration policies — and those enforcing those policies — dictate which kinship relations matter, and how they matter?