A public lecture with Dr Ieva Jusionyte (Harvard University)
Guns and Mosquitoes: How Media Makes Emergency and Routine on the Argentine Border
Drawing from ethnographic research with news journalists in the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, this talk will examine the role of the media in producing, circulating, and contesting conspiracy narratives. From the 1990s, when securitization and militarization went hand-in-hand with sensationalist portrayals of the region as a haven of organized crime and terrorism, to the panics caused by the spread of tropical disease–first yellow fever, then dengue–over a decade later, local journalists in towns along the Argentina’s northern edge have remained mostly silent. Off the record, the media in the Province of Misiones has been fiercely criticizing the complicity of major Argentine news outlets in vilifying the border area–a process, which they saw as being driven by the interests of political and economic elites in Buenos Aires as well as in Washington, D.C. In this talk, I will discuss the disagreements about the events and their interpretations between local, national, and global media as a lens through which to understand social anxieties and insecurities in a historically marginalized and criminalized border region.
Ieva Jusionyte is a social anthropologist of Latin America, with a joint appointment as assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies. Before coming to Harvard, she was assistant professor of anthropology and Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. She holds a PhD and an MA in Anthropology from Brandeis University.
Jusionyte’s research focuses on security, crime, statecraft and the media. Her first book, Savage Frontier: Making News and Security on the Argentine Border (University of California Press, 2015), examines politics and ethics of representation and knowledge production in ethnography and in journalism. Articles based on her fieldwork in the tri-border area between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay also appeared in a number of scholarly journals, including Cultural Anthropology and American Ethnologist.
In 2015, Jusionyte received a Senior Research Award from the National Science Foundation and a Post PhD research grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation to support her second project on security infrastructures and emergency services along the U.S.-Mexico border. She is currently working on her new book, tentatively entitled Threshold, which has been selected as the finalist for the 2016 Public Anthropology competition.