I’m a first-year PhD Student in the Department of Anthropology at Rice University. I received my MA in Mexican American Studies at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where I worked as a Graduate Student Instructor in the MAS program and Curatorial Assistant in the Border Studies Archive. I received my BA in Anthropology from The University of Texas-Pan American.
My undergraduate and master’s thesis research explored the liminal and gendered experiences of coyotaje, or migrant smuggling facilitation, at the Texas-Tamaulipas border amid a backdrop of thickening militarized policing. Rather than portray smuggling facilitators in a simplistic and negative way, my work asked questions about their human rights and argued that shifting power relations and gender dynamics, including practices of care and reciprocity -- not simply monetary gain and harm, informed Mexican-American women and men smugglers’ transactions with Mexican and Central American migrants as the former helped the latter evade border controls during their journeys.
While I plan to build on this line of research at Rice, I’m also investigating the ways in which development and militarized policing create a riverscape of exclusion and capital accumulation between Texas and Tamaulipas. By centering concrete as an analytic, I’m looking into how human and more-than-human socialites interact and materialize the border through development and militarization projects such as but not limited to binational business ventures, wall building, sediment extraction, concrete production, transnational intelligence gathering and carcelment. Through engaging and collaborating with a range of social actors including the rivered environment and its non-human beings, I’m asking questions about the myriad ways biotic communities interact with and resist an increasingly concretized border and maintain its physical and ideological forms while thinking and working toward often incompatible futures for the region.
In 2016 my photography and video installation, “Visual Testimonio of Border Militarization,” were featured as part of the Fencing In Democracy
exhibition at apexart gallery in NYC.