Program of Events


April 12-16, 2021



Available Monday through Friday

11:00am to 4:00pm

Hostile Terrain 94 (HT94): Interactive Art Installation




















Where: OSU Hopkins Hall Gallery

**Pre-Register for Your Visit:

Concept of the HT94 installation: Jason De León (Professor of Anthropology and Chicana, Chicano, and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and director of the Undocumented Migration Project)

CuratorLuke Stettner (Lecturer, Department of Art, The Ohio State University)

Assistant CuratorBryan Ortiz (Graduate Student, Department of Art, The Ohio State University)                            

Description: Located 2000 miles away from Columbus, Ohio, the violence of the U.S.-Mexico border may feel distant from the daily realities of most Columbus residents. While we currently live in a world in which transnational human mobility is at its highest levels in history, restrictive immigration laws and the militarization of national borders have become more drastic and vigilant. Meanwhile, global inequities and the radicalization of violence have led to a large increase in the flow of refugees and undocumented immigrants at these borders. In their transit through Mexico, Central Americans face extreme levels of violence, such as mass kidnappings, rapes, and massacres. The US-Mexico border has claimed thousands of lives. Deterrence policies forced people to migrate to cross the border illegally through the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona. Between just 2000 and 2014, the bodies of 2,721 migrants were recovered in the Arizona desert.

This interactive exhibition invites visitors to engage and think about the role of art in creating awareness of violence at the US-Mexico borderlands. A core element of this exhibition is the installation in process of Hostile Terrain 94, a participatory art project sponsored and conceptualized by the Undocumented Migration Project. The final installation will be composed of 3,200 toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019. These tags will be geolocated on a wall map of the desert, which is included in this exhibition, showing the exact locations where remains were found.

Because of the limitations imposed by the pandemic, this participatory artistic installation is being developed in two stages. Visitors are encouraged to help building this artistic display by filling out several toe tags with the information we have on 3,200 migrant bodies found at the border with Arizona. The completed installation, with all the tags, will form part of a larger exhibition on art and migration planned for the next academic year.

**Pre-registration is required as part of COVID guidelines. Before your visit, please review the safety guidelines in place at the HHG here.


Border South (2019) – Stream Documentary Film for FREE

Stream English:

Stream Spanish:

Password for both: HT94@OSU

Documentary Team: Raúl O. Paz Pastrana (Director, Producer, Cinematographer), Jason De Leon (Producer, Advisor), Cecilia Girón Pérez (Producer), Ellen Knechel (Editor, Co-Producer)

Description: To stem the immigration tide, Mexico and the U.S. collaborate to crack down on migrants, forcing them into ever more dangerous territory.

Every year hundreds of thousands of migrants make their way along the trail running from southern Mexico to the US border. Gustavo’s gunshot wounds from Mexican police, which have achieved abundant press attention, might just earn him a ticket out of Nicaragua. Meanwhile anthropologist Jason painstakingly collects the trail’s remains, which have their own stories to tell. Fragmented stories from Hondurans crossing through southern Mexico assemble a vivid portrait of the thousands of immigrants who disappear along the trail. Border South reveals the immigrants’ resilience, ingenuity, and humor as it exposes a global migration system that renders human beings invisible in life as well as death. – 


Monday, April 12








1:30pm to  3:00pm

Opening Event: Coffee and Conversation

To Watch Visit: Our website’s archive page

*Facilitated by Paloma Martinez-Cruz (Associate Professor Latino/a Cultural and Literary Studies, The Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University)

Description: Program participants will gather for introductions and an Opening Ceremony with Paloma Martinez-Cruz. Although this event is invitation only, the recording will be shared on our website on Monday at noon. Please watch this video to guide you through our program of events and get to know our presenters.



On Board(hers) Goes Global: Presentation and Workshop

Register for Meeting:


Gloria Alejandra Flores (Associate Facilitator for On Board(hers) – Mexico and Ph.D. Candidate at The University of Arizona)

Lucille Toth (Founder of On Board(hers) and Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University-Newark)

Flor Turiace (Independent Dance Teacher and Associate Facilitator for On Board(hers) – Germany)

*Introduction by Merijn van der Heijden, Director, OSU Urban Arts Space

Description: Started in 2018 in Columbus, OH, On Board(hers) is a series of contemporary dance workshops and performances based on the experiences and testimonies of female immigrants, using movement, language, and trauma-informed techniques to show the healing and therapeutic dimension of community dancing. By collecting testimonies and facilitating the transformation of traumas into movement forms, we seek to model best practices for transformational community engagement through storytelling and show how global mobility is part of contemporary national and global history. Today, On Board(hers) welcomes participants in France, Germany, Mexico and the US.

Our three-headed presentation will offer an overview of our work, outcomes, and kinesthetic testimonies we collected over time. Addressing the different challenges each country encounter and the digital techniques we had to develop to ensure the safety of our participants, we will share images, videos and stories before facilitating a 20-minute workshop with the attendees of the symposium.


Tuesday, April 13

12:30pm to 2:30pm

Borderlands in Columbus: Sanctuary Roundtable and Fundraiser

Register for Meeting:


Edith Espinal with Team Edith and Miriam Vargas with Team Miriam (Spanish-English Interpretation by Carrie Vereide)

Sydney Silverstein (Assistant Professor, Center for Interventions, Treatment, and Addictions Research/Department of Population & Public Health Sciences, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine)

Jeremy Hollon (Associate Director of Community Partnerships, Community Refugee & Immigration Services)

*Introduction by Jan Phillips (Board Member of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus and Facilitator of the Racial and Immigration Justice Group)

Description: Bring your lunch and listen to a conversation about the sanctuary movement and the impact of U.S. – Mexico border policies on our neighbors here in Columbus, Ohio. An open discussion will follow the presentations.

Dr. Silverstein will screen one of her short ethnographic films (approx. 8 minutes) made with a family living in sanctuary in a church in Columbus, OH. It discusses some of the challenges facing collaborative work with people living in precarious circumstances. Here, techniques of participatory collage were employed to protect the anonymity of the film’s subjects, while still grounding their story in the particulars of their experience.

Jeremy Hollon will discuss the work that CRIS does with immigrants in Columbus, OH, particularly secondary Latin American migrants coming into their programming through asylum cases.

Jan Phillips will discuss the larger Sanctuary movement and the need for immigration reform, including DACA, help for people living in the shadows, workers’ rights, etc., and their intersectionality. Team Miriam and Team Edith will have a roundtable discussion about their experiences in sanctuary here in Columbus.

Donation Links:

Miriam’s GoFundMe

Edith’s PayPal and GoFundMe

CRIS Donate button on homepage 


Wednesday, April 14

10:00am to 11:30am

Workshop in Creative Self Care for Community Leaders









2:00pm to 3:30pm











4:00pm to 5:15pm


Register for Meeting:


Moriah Flagler (Artistic Director of Be the Street, The Ohio State University)

*Introduction by Katherine Borland (Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Studies, Director, Center for Folklore Studies, The Ohio State University)

Description: As community leaders, workers, artists, and organizers, this pandemic has taken a specific toll on our work as well as our nervous systems.  The communities we work with all have unique challenges and needs that are often disproportionately affected by the circumstances of the crisis. In this session, we will share creative tools (including check ins, brave spaces, and play) that you can directly adapt to support yourself and the communities you serve.


The Human Cost of Immigration Policy: A Conversation with Douglas S. Massey

Register for Webinar:


Douglas S. Massey (Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs)

*Moderated by Inés Valdez (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Director, Latina/o Studies Program, The Ohio State University)

Description: For the last three decades, politicians in the United States have declared a symbolic and concrete war on immigrants, with profound consequences for vulnerable segments of populations here and in Latin America. Inside the United States, the combination of an immigration enforcement regime and the process of racialization of immigrants as a threat has produced a new Latino underclass. The repressive and punitive character of U.S. immigration laws and the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border have had a very high human cost. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 7,216 people have died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between 1998 and 2017. Between 2000 and 2014, 2,721 bodies of people trying to cross the border were recovered in the Arizona desert. In a conversation moderated by Inés Valdez, Douglas Massey will discuss the effects or supposedly unintended consequences of forces of exclusion, punitive immigration laws, and a nation’s war against immigrants.


Borderlands: Embodied Futurism and Surrealism 

A performance, short presentation, and lush offering to engage in conversation and movement

Register for Meeting:


LROD (Lecturer in Theater, Dance and Media, Harvard University)

*Introduction by Norah Zuniga-Shaw (Professor, Department of Dance, The Ohio State University)

Description: Let us convene around the embodied and visual intersections of performance, dance, and technology where futurism and surrealism fold and unfold around US-MX border politics.


Thursday, April 15

11:00am to 12:15pm

Book Talk: “Undocumented Americans”- A Conversation with Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Register for Webinar:


Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (Author of The Undocumented Americans, PhD Candidate in American Studies, Yale University)

*Moderated by Reanne Frank (Professor, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University) and

Melissa Rodriguez (LASER mentor, Graduate Student, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University)

Description: A conversation with Karla Cornejo Villavicencio about her groundbreaking book The Undocumented Americans.

About The Undocumented Americans:

At a time when the fabled American Dream is turning into a nightmare for so many, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s searing debut, The Undocumented Americans, is an incandescent and fearless indictment against the dark systemic forces of racism and immigration injustice. Part memoir, part journalism, part testimonio, The Undocumented Americans looks well beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the Dreamers, and allows the individuals profiled to be seen more fully and felt more compassionately as vibrant, complex, and dignified human beings. In her relentlessly probing voice, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio combines sensitive reporting with her own experiences as an undocumented writer to show the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse the day-to-day lives of housekeepers in Miami, Ground Zero cleanup workers in New York City, day laborers in Staten Island, families facing deportation in Ohio and Connecticut, and immigrants in Flint, Michigan who struggle to access life-saving clean water.


Shortlisted for a National Book Award and a National Book Critics’ Circle Award


3:00pm to 4:30pm

Art and Activism on the Border: A Conversation with Tanya Aguiñiga and Jackie Amezquita

Please note: time was changed from 2pm to 3pm due to scheduling conflicts

Register for Webinar:


Tanya Aguiñiga (Contemporary artist, designer, and craftsperson based in Tijuana and Los Angeles, California)

Jackie Amezquita (Contemporary artist based in Los Angeles, California)

*Introduction by Luke Stettner (Lecturer, Department of Art, The Ohio State University)

*Moderated by Guisela Latorre (Professor, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and History of Art, The Ohio State University)

Description: A conversation about the role of art in activism.

Donation Link for Asylum Families Stuck at US-Mexico Border



Friday, April 16

1:00pm to 2:30pm








Performing Ourselves, Performing Our Histories: Latinx Stories of a Pandemia

Register for Meeting:


PerformancerUS – Elena Foulis (Senior Lecturer in Spanish, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University) with OSU students Paloma Pinillos Chávez, Lidia Garcia Berrelleza, Manuel Bautista, Heder Ubaldo, Micah Unzueta, Liz Morales

*Introduction by Anna Babel (Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University)

Description: This performance piece engages with the Oral Narratives of Latin@s in Ohio (ONLO) archive and finds common ground on the stories/histories of other Latina/o/x by creatively devising a piece that is centered on our collective experiences during Covid-19, as it relates to language, culture, and mental health.  The performance uncovers and provides greater insights into the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio. It seeks to present a collective voice that reflects Latinas/os/x unique impacts of social distancing, social and economic lock down, and illness on their daily lives.


4:30pm to 6:00pm










Keynote: Re-Membering the Missing and Dead Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

Register for Webinar:


Robin Reineke (Assistant Research Social Scientist in Anthropology at the Southwest Center, The University of Arizona)

*Introduction by Kenneth Madsen (Associate Professor, Department of Geography, The Ohio State University Newark)

Description: Throughout the past two decades, thousands of people have died or disappeared in the U.S. desert borderlands north of the U.S.-Mexico international border. Meanwhile, families of the missing and dead have had to fight for the inclusion of their loved ones as legitimate members of society with rights to forensic services, care, and remembrance. While being personally committed to caring for their loved ones or ending the anguish of not knowing, families also confront state authorities and demand attention to their case in highly political, but largely invisible ways. They contest state processes of illegalization and invisibilization and have become key actors in forensic work along the border. Drawing on over 14 years of participant observation and forensic humanitarian action in southern Arizona among families and forensic scientists, in this talk I focus on the invisible labor of families of the missing and dead and the impact it has had on the social memory of racialized state violence in the borderlands. Finally, I invite collective recognition of some of the border’s dead and missing whose families have requested they be publicly named and remembered.