Project DirectorDSCF3179 Jason De León is Professor of Anthropology and Chicana/o Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and Executive Director of the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP) inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit. He is the author of the award-winning book “The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail” and Head Curator of the global 2020 exhibition Hostile Terrain 94. He is currently President of the Board of Directors for the Colibrí Center for Human Rights and on the Academic Board for the Institute for Field Research, a nonprofit organization operating over 42 field schools in 25 countries across the globe.  He received his Ph.D. from Penn State University and B.A. from UCLA. His CV can be found here DELEON_CV_5-2019. Jason is  also a singer-songwriter who has recorded and released several albums with the Long Beach, California  based hardcore-reggae group Youth In Asia in the 1990s and with the Central Pennsylvania based group The Wilcox Hotel. He also records and performs as a solo artist and has toured extensively in the U.S. and Mexico. Jason once hosted a short-lived television show on the Discovery Channel called American Treasures, which allowed him to hang out with Mardi Gras Indians and the Drive-By Truckers.


Dr. Cameron Gokee  is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University. In addition to his work with the UMP, he  directs the Central Falémé Archaeological Project in Senegal, a long-term archaeological research program that examines how local communities participated in a variety of historical processes—including the shift from mobile hunting and herding to sedentary village life, the rise and fall of medieval empires, the violence of the Atlantic slave trade, the spread of Islam, and ultimately, the imposition of colonialism. Additional information on Cameron’s work can be found here.



Michael Wells has served as primary photographer for the Undocumented Migration Project since its inception in 2009 and is Co-Curator of Hostile Terrain 94. He has photographed the project’s ethnographic and archaeological fieldwork in Arizona, New York, Mexico, and Ecuador. A Los Angeles-based photographer, he has created photography projects on post-Katrina New Orleans, the physicality of the US Mexico border in Arizona and California, and Latino communities in the American a Los Angeles based photographer who has worked on the UMP since 2009. His photos can be viewed here and galleries related to the UMP can be found here.




Lucy Cahill is Co-Curator of Hostile Terrain 94. She is a Detroit-based visual artist with a background in curation and art history. She is interested in methods of curation that shape the larger conversation about issues in the current political landscape, and bear witness to underrepresented issues and populations. Her personal work uses an illustrative approach to explore ideas of femininity and feminism, power and the body.







Daniel López is Communications Director for Hostile Terrain 94. He recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Sociology. He has been involved with the Undocumented Migration Project since 2017. He is particularly interested in researching how DACA recipients going straight into the workforce after their high school graduation make sense of their future.






Amelia Frank-Vitale is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Michigan, focused on Central American migration and violence. After years in Mexico studying transit migration, her current project focuses on life in and around San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Using ethnography and participatory photography, she documents how deportees reconfigure their lives and reimagine their futures after being sent back to some of the world’s most dangerous neighborhoods.






John Doering-White is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Social Work at the University of South Carolina. He received his BA from Earlham College in Richmond, IN. John’s research focuses on intersections of violence and care surrounding humanitarian migrant shelters, train hopping, and Central American migration through Mexico. When pretending to sleep, John ponders outboard boat motors, Stroh’s beer, and hot meals enjoyed under highway overpasses.




HaedenPicHaeden Stewart is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UMass Amherst. He received a BA in archaeology from the University of Toronto and an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago.  His research focus is on historical and contemporary archaeology in Western Canada.  His only real discernible talent is identifying people and things that come from Canada.









Wanda Quintanilla Duran is a first year doctoral student in Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her BA in Linguistics and Latin American Studies from Rutgers University. She was initially introduced to the Undocumented Immigration Project in 2017. Since, she has been working with individuals and families facing the effects of detention and deportation in the nonprofit sector in New Jersey. She is now interested in using ethnography to explore Central American migration.






Nicole Smith is Exhibition Coordinator for Hostile Terrain 94. She holds  B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan.

Gabe Canter is Exhibition Coordinator for Hostile Terrain 94He holds  B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan.


Aissa Cabrales is Exhibition Liaison for Hostile Terrain 94 for our Midwest Partners. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan pursuing a double major in Psychology and Spanish with a minor in Anthropology. She has been involved with the Undocumented Migration Project since 2018 and is interested in researching the effects of deportation on children.






Maeve Skelly is Exhibition Liaison for Hostile Terrain 94 for our Midwest Partners. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan.

Faith Williams is Exhibition Liaison for Hostile Terrain 94 for our Midwest Partners. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan.