Ieva Jusionyte

Watson Family University Associate Professor of International Security and Anthropology
111 Thayer St, Room 209
Areas of Expertise Global Health, Human Rights, Immigration, Displacement & Borders, Law Enforcement & Policing, Race, Identity & Ethnicity, State & Municipal Policy
Areas of Interest US-Mexico border, security, migration, emergency medical services, crime, violence, gun policy and gun trafficking


Ieva Jusionyte is the Watson Family University Associate Professor of International Security and Anthropology at Brown University. A legal and medical anthropologist who studies, teaches and writes about violence and security, she is the author of three books, including multiple award-winning ethnography, Threshold: Emergency Responders on the US-Mexico Border (2018) and Exit Wounds: How America’s Guns Fuel Violence Across the Border (April 2024). Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and fellowships from the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, the Fulbright Program and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, among others. In addition to academic journals, such as American AnthropologistCultural Anthropology, and Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Jusionyte has written for The Atlanticthe Los Angeles TimesThe Boston Globe, and The Guardian, and discussed her research broadly in the media, including on BBC and NPR. Jusionyte is the editor of the California Series in Public Anthropology, and she is a member of the Advisory Committee of Global Action on Gun Violence and the Research Network to Prevent Gun Violence in the Americas. 


Dr. Jusionyte’s scholarship explores the conceptual and material relationship between the state and various forms of violence. She uses ethnography as a method and a form of storytelling to examine the narratives, aesthetics, and practices that underlie security. Based on fieldwork with Argentine news journalists and with Mexican and American emergency responders, her first two books examined the power asymmetries that underlie the legal and political construction of threats and the manifold social effects these discourses, policies, and practices have in communities where they are applied. While the first one, Savage Frontier: Making News and Security on the Argentine Border (University of California Press 2015) focused on the production of knowledge about crime and representation of security as a process that is scalar and contested, in which journalists play a role in defining the meanings of both crime and security, the attention in the second book, Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border (University of California Press, 2018), shifted to the materiality of security, particularly the importance of terrain, both the built environment and natural topography, in facilitating social and physical injury as two braided modalities of state violence. Both books approached state violence through the ethnographic and analytic focus on work – that of journalists and that of emergency responders – and the ethical, political and legal dilemmas that workers grapple with because of their professional mandates. Her latest book, Exit Wounds: How America's Guns Fuel Violence Across the Border (University of California Press 2024), follows firearms that circulate in the binational space between the United States and Mexico, both as policy objects and cultural artifacts. It is as much a cultural history of guns in two neighboring countries that share the legacies of colonialism and frontier violence, as an analysis of the politics and economics that perpetuate the vicious circle of violence on the U.S.-Mexico border. 


2021. Jusionyte, Ieva. “Violence Exchange.” In Anthropology Now 13(1): 49-54.

2020. Jusionyte, Ieva. "Writing in and from the Field." In Writing Anthropology: Essays on Craft and Commitment, C. McGranahan, ed. Durham: Duke University Press. 

2020. Jusionyte, Ieva. "’We All Have the Same Red Blood’: Security Aesthetics and Rescue Ethics on the Arizona-Sonora Border." In Futureproof: Security Aesthetics and the Urban Imaginary, D. A. Ghertner, D. M. Goldstein, and H. McFann, eds. Durham: Duke University Press. Pp. 87-113.

2018. Jusionyte, Ieva. Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. 296 p.

2018. Jusionyte, Ieva. "Injured by the Border: Security Buildup, Migrant Bodies and Emergency Response in Southern Arizona." In Bodies as Evidence: Security, Knowledge and, Power, M. Maguire, U. Rao and N. Zurawski, eds. Durham: Duke University Press. Pp. 43-66.

2018. Jusionyte, Ieva. "Called to “Ankle Alley": Migrant Injuries and Emergency Medical Services on the U.S.-Mexico Border.” American Anthropologist 120(1): 89-101.

2016. Jusionyte, Ieva and Daniel M. Goldstein. "In/visible–In/secure: Optics of regulation and control." An introduction to the special issue "In/visible–In/secure." Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 75(2): 3-13.


Ethnographic Research Methods

Violence, Governance, and Transnationalism

Ethnography and Social Critique

Senior Seminar: (Re)making Anthropology

Recent News

In an interview with Action on Armed Violence, Ieva Jusionyte discussed her latest book, "Exit Wounds".
Read Article
Ieva Jusionyte comments for WKOW, "We cannot get ourselves out of this problem without also thinking about the demand. Why is there a demand for American guns in Mexico?"
Read Article
In an interview on Scheer Intelligence podcast, Ieva Jusionyte discusses how the crisis on the U.S. southern border is driven not by invading migrants, as commonly portrayed, but by the unregulated flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico.
Read Article