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Department of Social Anthropology



Prior to PhD study, I completed an MPhil in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (2022) and a BA in Anthropology and English (2018) at Bowdoin College. My MPhil research examined the way U.S. and Canadian immigration law focused on undocumented transnational movement attributes personhood to undocumented persons, and how this influences immigration legal enforcement among legal aid providers. This dissertation also outlined the history of Latino movement in the Detroit-Windsor region and the development of policy for undocumented transnational movement in that region. My undergraduate research in Anthropology explored reciprocal storytelling as a facilitator of cross-cultural communication.

I am a 2021 & 2022 Gates Cambridge Scholar and a Graduate Member of the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement at the University of Cambridge. 


Migration; undocumented; Latinos; Detroit-Windsor; legal consciousness; affect; hope; futures; post-industrial; space-time; urban; borderlands; community; sensory & embodied methodologies; decolonising methodologies


My PhD research considers ‘undocumented’ Latino migration in borderlands, hope and futures as analytical categories, legal consciousness, the state, and post-industrial urbanity to piece together a view of the sociopolitical landscape that ‘undocumented’ Latinos in the Detroit-Windsor transborder area must recognise while negotiating their own relationship to this place. Within this study, anthropological considerations of citizenship are tied to the state and how it informs and appears in everyday life; that is, how notions of place as well as ways of being or becoming in relation to the self and to community are related to, though not singularly reliant upon, the state and its power. Through the study of articulations of ‘hope’ and ‘futures’ alongside the development of ‘legal consciousness’, I aim to understand processes of community building and place-making among undocumented Latinos living and border-crossing in the Detroit-Windsor transborder area. Ultimately, I endeavour to illustrate nuanced practices and renegotiation of citizenship and community self-determination in relation to power exercised by the ‘state’ and state actors made possible by this unique borderland.

Research title: Undocumented Latinos & Community Building: Hope, Futures, and Legal Consciousness in an Urban Borderland
Supervisor: Professor Yael Navaro
Adaiah Hudgins-Lopez

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