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Deniz Daser, Tulane University

Deniz Daser

Global South Fellowship 2022

Deniz Daser holds a PhD in anthropology from Rutgers University. Based on 22 months of long-term ethnographic research in New Orleans, her research focuses on worksite inequalities, insurgent citizenship movements, and Central American undocumented migration. She currently serves as External Lecturer of Sociology at University of St. Gallen (HSG) in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Public Anthropologist, Southern Cultures, and NACLA (a NACLA editors’ highlight of 2020). You can see more about her work at and follow her on twitter at @dddaser.


Several decades into the Anthropocene, or human-driven climate change, the increase of disasters affecting densely populated cities has led to reliance on flexible, mobile workforces to clean up and rebuild. Similarly, Hurricane Katrina reconstruction employed many Latinx migrants hailing from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. This research project builds upon 20 months of ethnographic study (2011 to 2016) into how these mostly undocumented Latinx migrants have leveraged work injury, wage theft, and potential detainment and deportation by immigration enforcement into a grassroots political movement asserting affective claims to a city that they have come to call home.

The support of the Global South Fellowship will allow me to conduct a month of follow-up research in summer 2022 into how New Orleans continues to attract Central Americans fleeing economic struggles, extortion and crime, political corruption, and climate-influenced food shortages through the following questions: What are the long-term effects of post-Katrina rebuilding on migrant health, urban (re)development, and political organizing? What is the state of construction in the city now? Who has left the area and who has stayed? What is the status of recent in-migration? How have the city and its residents weathered more recent storms, the Trump era, and now Covid-19? In so doing, this study contributes to the mission of the NOCGS to examine the intersecting, globalizing, and transnational factors that comprise the rich context of the Gulf South.