University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

September 23-27, 2019

Led by anthropologist Jason De León, Hostile Terrain draws attention to America’s immigration enforcement policy since 1994, “Prevention Through Deterrence.” Six million people have tried to migrate through the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona since 2000—at least 3,199 of them have died.

Billed as Philadelphia’s most powerful pop-up this year, this participatory installation pairs more than 600 volunteers from the Philadelphia area with staff from the Undocumented Migration Project to write the names of the deceased and other information on color-coded “toe tags.”

As they are completed, the “toe tags” will be affixed to a large-scale map of the Arizona-Mexico border in the exact locations where the corresponding bodies were found, providing a visual representation of the lives lost.

This special exhibition is in collaboration with the Wolf Humanities Center, as a part of its 2019-2020 Forum on Kinship.

Open to the public, Hostile Terrain is included with Penn Museum admission. For volunteers who register online and show proof of registration, it’s free.


Monday & Tuesday, September 23-24 Volunteers will gather at the Penn Museum to write names on the tags. Although it’s usually closed on Mondays, the Museum will allow entry to volunteers from 10:00 am-5:00 pm, so that they are able to participate.
Wednesday, September 25 The tags will be affixed to the map by noon and the finished installation will be on display through Thursday, September 26 at 5:00 pm.
Friday, September 27 The project will be de-installed; open for viewing.

© Penn Museum 2019 Sitemap | Report Web Accessibility Issues and Get Help | Contact | Copyright | Disclaimer | Privacy |