March 1, 2019
NORTH ADAMS, MA—Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work Department will host Harvard Professor Dr. Ieva Jusionyte for a guest lecture at 6 p.m. on March 7, 2019, in Murdock Hall Room 218. Dr. Jusionyte’s lecture, titled “Wall as Weapon: Infrastructure, Injury, and Rescue on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” is free and open to the public.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork with emergency responders on both sides of the border in Arizona and Sonora, this talk examines the politics of injury and rescue in this region.

“At a time when the administration is seeking funds to build a border wall, it is especially important for us as citizens and for students to understand the actual impact of the wall as a piece of infrastructure and the role of U.S. border policy in causing migrant suffering, injury, and death,” said Dr. Anna Jaysane-Darr, MCLA assistant professor of anthropology. “I wanted to bring Dr. Ieva Jusionyte here because she brings experience working with first responders as an anthropologist and as a first responder herself. She offers a unique view on injury at the US-Mexico border that I think will really enlighten our students and the MCLA community.”

Jusionyte, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard University, studies security, crime, statecraft, and the media as a political and legal anthropologist. She is the author of several books, including “Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border” (University of California Press, 2018), which delves into the lives of first responders under heightened security on both sides of the wall. Written from the perspective of Mexican and Mexican-American firefighters and paramedics, who work on the edges of two states, the book shows what happens when politics of wounding and ethics of rescue collide. The book was selected as the winner of the 2016 Public Anthropology competition and was featured in the popular press, including The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC, and NPR. She is also a former firefighter, paramedic, and wildland firefighter.

Jusionyte is also a faculty associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and a member of the Policy Committee at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, where she also coordinates the Contemporary Latin American Anthropology Workshop (CLAAW). She holds a Ph.D. and an MA in Anthropology from Brandeis University and a BA in Political Science from Vilnius University.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.