Faculty Directors

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Ieva Jusionyte is assistant professor of anthropology and social studies at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of political-legal and medical anthropology, with a focus on the study of state power and the materiality of violence; law and criminalized livelihoods; discourses and infrastructures of security; technologies of injury; politics and ethics of representation; and ethnography as method and storytelling. 

Based on fieldwork in the tri-border area between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay from 2008 to 2014, her first book, Savage Frontier: Making News and Security on the Argentine Border (University of California Press 2015), examines how local journalists both participate in and contest global and national security discourses and practices in a region portrayed as the hub of drug and human trafficking, contraband, and money laundering. Drawing on her professional background as a news reporter and 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 Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Anthropological Quarterly, and Political and Legal Anthropology Review.

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Her second research project, supported by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, focuses on security infrastructures and emergency services along the border between Sonora and Arizona. Her new book, Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border (University of California Press, 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 the built and the natural environment–the book reveals what happens when politics of wounding and ethics of rescue collide. The book was selected as the winner of the 2016 Public Anthropology competition. Articles based on this study have also been published in American Anthropologist and Anthropology Today. Besides scholarly journals, her research with emergency responders on the U.S.-Mexico border was featured in the popular press, including BBC and NPR, and she has written about it for The AtlanticLos Angeles Times, and The Guardian.

Currently she is conducting fieldwork for her latest project, Firepower, 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.

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Jusionyte is the editor of the California Series in Public Anthropology. She is a faculty associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and coordinates 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.

 

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Roberto G. Gonzales is professor of education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research centers on contemporary processes of immigration and social inequality, and stems from theoretical interests at the intersection of race and ethnicity, immigration, and policy. In particular, his research examines the effects of legal contexts on the coming of age experiences of vulnerable and hard-to-reach immigrant youth populations. Since 2002 he has carried out one of the most comprehensive studies of undocumented immigrants in the United States. His book, Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America (University of California Press), is based on an in-depth study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles for twelve years. To date, Lives in Limbo has won five major book awards, including the Society for the Study of Social Problems C. Wright Mills Award, the American Education Research Association Outstanding Book Award, and the Law and Society Association Herbert Jacob Book Award. It has also been adopted by several universities as a common read and is being used by a couple dozen K-12 schools in teacher and staff training. In addition, Professor Gonzales’ National UnDACAmented Research Project has surveyed nearly 2,700 undocumented young adults and has carried out 500 in-depth interviews on their experiences following President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This fall, he is teaming up with several colleagues to investigate educator responses to school climate issues stemming from immigration policies.

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His work has been has been featured in top journals, including the American Sociological Review, Current Anthropology, and the Harvard Educational Review as well as in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and Chronicle of Higher Education.

Gonzales is an associate editor for the journal Social Problems and a research affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also participates in a transition to adulthood research network. Prior to his faculty position at Harvard, Gonzales held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and at the University of Washington. He received his B.A. from the Colorado College, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California Irvine. His research is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WT Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation.