Occasional Talk with Lindsay Smith

Lindsay Smith

"The Dead, the Living and the Disappeared: Necro-Logics and Forensic DNA as Governance in the Mexican Borderlands."

In the contemporary Mexican migration crisis, an estimated 90,000 people have disappeared crossing Mexico since 2006, and thousands of others have died in the borderlands of the United States. The estimated 300,000 migrants who cross Mexico annually continue to suffer extreme brutality, violence and economic exploitation.

In the midst of this legal indeterminacy, human rights groups, governments, family activists and anti-immigrant groups have all coalesced around the call for DNA technologies and databases as a techno-legal solution to the crisis.

In this talk, I examine the linking of DNA technologies with social order, paying particular attention to the politics surrounding the naming, identification and invocation of the dead. Drawing on over four years of ethnographic fieldwork in post-conflict settings in Latin America with survivors, family members and forensic scientists, I developed the concept of necrological citizenship to account for the ways in which the dead and their biological resources, interpreted and disciplined by scientific practice, have emerged as sites of new forms of governance.

Melissa Waite
Jan 26 2018 - 12:00pm
Memorial Union, Mohave room 236
Tempe campus