Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Can the Border Wall be Photographed? Public Anthropology and National Security

Miguel Diaz-Barriga (Brooklyn College) and Margaret E Dorsey (Brooklyn College)

This paper examines the ethics of visual representations of the U.S. Mexico Border both in terms of photography of border security (including walls and checkpoints) and our own attempts to create an alternative visual imaginary of the border. We explore the ethics of visual representations at three levels:

  1. Media representations that reinforce understandings of the border as a desolate war zone while portraying the border wall as another worldly intrusion, part of the rust and dust of the region.
  2. Our engagement with state agents and policies that limit what can be photographed and what cannot, focusing on a policy discussion on whether or not the border wall itself can be photographed.
  3. The legal and moral dimensions of obtaining informed consent while creating a public digital archive on border walls and security (see here).

This paper explores the ethical dilemmas of visual anthropology as it engages issues of border militarization and surveillance while proposing a broader public anthropology of securitization.

View Miguel and Margaret’s discussion online. Tune in from 10.15am-10.30am EST Saturday 6 December for the live-stream.

View further details on Miguel, Margeret and their collaborators’ research:

A Nation Divided: the Border Wall, Immigration and Citizenship on the U.S. Mexico Border 

Border Wall and Border Security – The University of Texas-Pan American

Beyond Surveillance and Moonscapes: An Alternative Imaginary of the US Mexico Border Wall

Return to the Ethics Homepage

 Mitali Thakor Sabra Thorner Migual Diaz Barriga Thet Win Brent Luvaas el-Sayed el-Aswad Barbara Hoffman Jessika Tremblay Kendall Roark Aaron Thornburg 

Submit a Comment

Follow us to get the latest updates.

twitter facebook rss