Joint appointment with Social Studies
Research and Teaching Interests: Political anthropology; statecraft, borders, and security; crime and violence; space and infrastructure; news media and journalism; Argentina, Mexico, U.S.-Mexico border.
Ieva Jusionyte is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard University. She is also a member of the Policy Committee at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and a faculty associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Her research focuses on the ethnographic study of security, crime, statecraft and the media. Her first book, Savage Frontier: Making News and Security on the Argentine Border (University of California Press 2015) is based on fieldwork in the border area between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay between 2008 and 2014. While the “Triple Frontier” region has been an alleged haven of international organized crime, which the global media portrays as the hub of drug and human trafficking, contraband, and money laundering, the book shows how local journalists both participate in and contest these global and national security discourses and practices. Drawing on her professional background as a news reporter and her experience of producing an investigative television program “Proximidad” in Argentina, the book probes politics and ethics of representation and knowledge production in ethnography and in journalism. In addition to the book, her work on the tri-border area has appeared in scholarly journals, including Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Anthropological Quarterly, and Political and Legal Anthropology Review.
In 2015, she began research on security infrastructures and emergency services along the border between Sonora and Arizona, through a project supported by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Her second book, Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border (forthcoming in November 2018) delves into the lives of first responders under heightened security on both sides of the wall (http://www.borderrescueproject.com). Written from the perspective of Mexican and Mexican-American firefighters and paramedics, who work on the edges of two states–in an area, where the overlapping “wars” (on drugs, on terror, and on migration) have militarized both built and natural environment–the book shows what happens when politics of wounding and ethics of rescue collide. The manuscript has been selected as the winner of the 2016 Public Anthropology competition. Articles based on this project have been published in American Anthropologist and Anthropology Today as well as in the popular media.
Her latest project, Firepower, is a multi-sited ethnographic study that follows firearms as they move through legal and political regimes that compete to define their meaning and value–from gun shows and pawn shops in Texas and Arizona to shooting ranges, forensic labs, and public disarmament campaigns around Mexico. It is a social biography of a gun set against the cultural history and political economy of violence.
Jusionyte is an associated editor of Public Anthropologist and the coordinator of the Contemporary Latin American Anthropology Workshop (CLAAW) at Harvard University. She holds a PhD and an MA in Anthropology from Brandeis University and a BA in Political Science from Vilnius University. Between 2012 and 2016 she was assistant professor of anthropology and Latin American Studies at the University of Florida.
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