Beyond Social Death: Migrant Ontologies in the Digital Narrative

Honduran Migrant Family

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Speaker: Brooke Kipling, PhD Candidate, Spanish and Portuguese, UC Davis


Brooke Kipling (she/they) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Spanish & Portuguese department at UC Davis. A member of the project Humanizing Deportation and a 2021 Mellon Public Scholar, Brooke’s research is informed by her experiences on the ground, whether in Chiapas or Tijuana, where theory is produced by migrants themselves. Working with the digital narrative form, Brooke tends to the ways in which Central American migrants narrate their existences outside of liberal frameworks.


Brooke Kipling theorizes a digital narrative of a Honduran migrant. Kipling illuminates possibilities of migrant being and world-making that exist outside of narrative frameworks that center migrant pain and suffering within a timeline of repair, where experiences of racialized violence dissipate through the promise of inclusion. Kipling thinks with and through theorizations of the flesh and its ontological possibilities that emerge from Black studies to consider how Central American migrants articulate other ontological possibilities from the site of their disposable existence. Kipling offers insight into how scholars, organizers, writers, etc., can not only validate, but also be accomplices to the world-making presented to us in Central American migrant cultural productions.

Discussant: Maria Jose Gutierrez Jimenez (PhD candidate, Spanish and Portuguese)

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