John Chamblee, research chair for Humane Borders, will present "A Borderlands Transformation: Reflections on Migrant Death Maps Since 2002," tonight, 6 p.m. at Grace St. Paul Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St.
Chamblee, research chair for Humane Borders, heads the organization's mapping project. While not about Chamblee's work, Margaret Regan wrote this interesting piece in 2007 on Ed McCullough, a retired UA geosciences professor, regarding the mapping of migrant trails.
From the press release for tonight's event, co-sponsored by Humane Borders and the Border Action Network:
For centuries, present-day Arizona’s desert borderlands have been corridors connecting northern and southern peoples. These passages themselves have undergone transformations — cycles that included times of lesser and greater violence. In this presentation, Dr. John F. Chamblee, a long-time Humane Borders volunteer and head of their mapping project, will discuss a most recent borderlands transformation by providing a historical view of the migrant death mapping project’s data. By looking at changes in death rates and locations, he will explore connections between globalization, border policy, drug trafficking and increasing mortality rates over the last decade within Arizona’s undocumented migrant travel corridors.
John (Chamblee) became involved with Humane Borders in 2003 when his wife, Ruby, then a volunteer, recognized that the organization needed a geographic information system (a type of electronic mapping software) database to manage their migrant death maps and encouraged him to develop one for the organization. He has managed the migrant death mapping program ever since.
The results of these efforts have been more accurate maps of deaths, a model of the potential benefits of additional cell phone towers in the western Sonoran Desert, and warning posters that inform potential migrants of the dangers associated with undocumented border crossings.
These maps and posters have raised awareness about risks to migrants through their distribution in Latin America and by being featured in many news outlets.