Juan De Lara’s current research project examines how efforts to modernize the southern U.S. border represent new socio-technical attempts to produce and manage racial difference. De Lara uses state procurement of new border technologies — machines, data networks, and human agents — to discuss how the work of racialization is performed within algorithmic border systems. Rather than focusing on the material technologies of border enforcement, De Lara’s reading of computational border strategies emphasizes the human touch that is required to produce, make sense of and deploy the work that machines do. In short, De Lara’s research asks, “what is the epistemic and physical work that humans must perform in order to reproduce data-driven border systems?”
Juan de Lara
Juan de Lara is a human geographer who works at the intersections of race, space, and power. His interdisciplinary research focuses on three broad themes. The first centers on urban political economy, racialization, and the politics of space. A second set of research interests focuses on the use of data science and technology to reorganize how various state agencies are restructuring the social relations of race, immigration, and labor. A third set of projects focus on public-facing research that support community-based organizations in their efforts to resolve social disparities. His first book, Inland Shift: Race, Space, and Capital in Inland Southern California is now available from University of California Press. The book uses logistics and commodity chains to unpack the black box of globalization by showing how the scientific management of bodies, space, and time produced new racialized labor regimes that facilitated a more complex and extended system of global production, distribution, and consumption.