Jennifer L. Burrell
Latin America/Central America and the diaspora, the Maya
Political economy, structural and political violence, in/security, gender, generation, the state,
Human rights, development, humanitarianism
Migration, transnationalism, globalization, indigeneity
Health and immigrant healthcare access
I’m a sociocultural political anthropologist broadly interested in questions of power, structural and political violence, political economy, and the construction of inequalities. I conduct research in Guatemala, Mexico and the United States, on migration, security, human rights and the state.
My monograph, Maya After War: Conflict, Power and Politics (University of Texas Press 2013), is based on two decades of fieldwork in Guatemala. From the back cover: Guatemala’s thirty-six-year civil war culminated in peace accords in 1996, but the postwar transition has been marked by continued violence, including lynchings and the rise of gangs, as well as massive wage-labor exodus to the United States. For the Mam Maya municipality of Todos Santos Cuchumatán, inhabited by a predominantly indigenous peasant population, the aftermath of war and genocide resonates with a long-standing tension between state techniques of governance and ancient community-level power structures that incorporated concepts of kinship, gender, and generation. Showing the ways in which these complex histories are interlinked with wartime and enduring family/class conflicts, Maya After War provides a nuanced account of a unique transitional postwar situation, including the complex influence of neoliberal intervention.
My current research examines the nexus of migration and security-making practices and considerations among migrants in the US and the communities from which they hail in Central America and Mexico, and how concepts of rights and generation figure in these. Another research interest is the contemporary state and modes of belonging and citizenship.
Since 2007, I've worked with colleagues from UAlbany and at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico, DF researching Mexican and Central American migration to the New York State capital region, and the issue of health care access.
I provide expert testimony for asylum and immigration cases, and consult for NGOs and international organizations, including the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (since 2001.)
My research has received external support from Fulbright, Wenner Gren, Programa de Investigación de Migración y Salud (PIMSA) and the Gerda Henkel Foundation.