The 2018 J.I. Staley Prize Committee is pleased to announce that Jason De Leon, author of The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail is the winner of the 2018 J.I. Staley Book Prize presented by the School of Advanced Research.
The J.I. Staley Book Prize carries a cash award of $7,500 and seeks to recognize groundbreaking works and authors in the field of anthropology.
“Through an examination of the experience of undocumented migrants moving across the U.S.-Mexican border, Jason De León’s The Land of Open Graves integrates archaeological and ethnographic techniques to expose a central tragedy of border-protection policies that turn the harsh Sonoran desert environment into a zone of death. His prose, by turns clinical and intimate, draws readers into a politicized landscape and offers the vivid testimony of people who have survived their desert crossing. Using forensic techniques and the photographs of Michael Wells and others, De León also reconstructs the stories of those who perished, in the process inventing an experimental archaeology of the present. A powerful work of witnessing, The Land of Open Graves has profound relevance in an era of vast social displacement and global migration.” – 2018 J.I. Staley Prize Committee