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Mario Bruzzone

Graduate student (Ph.D.)

Photo of Mario Bruzzone

Past Education

M.Sc., Geography, University of Wisconsin–Madison (2012)
B.A., Oberlin College (2004)

Research Areas

Migration; labor geographies; feminist geographies; social movements and activism; violence


My dissertation work, based in interior Mexico, exposes the productive operation of the US border regime. Ethnographic fieldwork has revealed that migrants are delayed, diverted, and detained by conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border that extend into spaces far from the line of demarcation.

I argue that the US-Mexico border regime has, among others, the following effects:

(a) economically, the conversion of transit migrants into sources of labor-power;
(b) politically, a systematic but anexact production of migrant detention and delay, for state purposes;
(c) socio-culturally, a subjectification of migrants as they are progressively forced to confront their difference; and
(d) for migration studies, that migration routes are more important than ever in the constitution of local space.

Via participant observation at two Mexican migrant shelters over 10 months in 2015 and 2016, more than 100 migrant interviews, surveys with more than 300 transit migrants, and readings of Border Patrol operational documents, I offer up a series of contributions to scholarship and public discourse. First, using economic geography, I propose that state borders may congeal "migration economies" along and adjacent to overland migration routes. Drawing on political geography, I argue for an expansive view of borders' effects, far beyond the borderlands. Thinking with social and cultural geography, I chart how migrants find their inner worlds, and even their dreams, configured by state borders. Finally, I contend that migration routes are crucial to, inextricable from, but often overlooked in studies of migration processes.

My Master's research concerned "Las Patronas," a group of activists in rural Veracruz, Mexico. In one aspect, this work looked to ways that the group tried was forced to both engage with and evade the clientelistic tendencies of the Mexican state. In its second aspect, my work took their action-they give food, water, and clothing to migrants who they will never meet, because the trains are moving-as exemplary of feminist care ethics. I have several manuscripts in progress based on this research and subsequent visits. A brief sketch of some of the Patronas' practices is available from the Favelas@LSE blog at the London School of Economics here (también en español, páginas 51-53.)

In 2013, subsequent to my time with them, Las Patronas were awarded the Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Prize) by Mexico's Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Commission) and are recently the subjects of the film Llévate Mis Amores (2015).


Bruzzone, Mario. Accepted. Respatializing the Domestic: Gender, Extensive Domesticity, and Activist Kitchenspace in Mexican Migration Politics. Cultural Geographies.

Bruzzone, Mario. 2016. "On Exterior and Interior Detention Regimes: Governing, Bordering, and Economy in Transit Migration across Mexico." In Intimate Economies of Immigrant Detention: Critical Perspectives, N. Hiemstra and D. Conlon, eds. London: Routledge.
Google Books link.

Woodward, Keith and Mario Bruzzone. 2015. Touching Like a State. Antipode. Abstract

Bruzzone, Mario. 2013. In La Patrona. you are here: the journal of creative geography XVI: 29-33.

Bruzzone, Mario. 2012. "Putting the 'Critical' in Critical Mass: Patriarchy, Radical Feminism, and Radical Inclusiveness." In Carlsson, Chris, LisaRuth Elliott, and Adriana Camarena, eds., SHIFT HAPPENS! Critical Mass at 20, San Francisco: Full Enjoyment Press.

Bruzzone, M., Neely, A., Peterson, S. and Woodward, K. 2012. "The 2011 Wisconsin Protests." In Knox, P.L. and S.A. Marston, Human Geography: Places and Regions in Global Context, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Awards and Honors

Whitbeck Graduate Dissertator Award, Fall 2016
Mellon-Wisconsin Fellowship, Summer 2016
University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate Student Research Award, Spring 2016
Trewartha/Odebolt Travel Grant, Spring 2016
Trewartha Graduate Research Award, Spring 2015
Association of Pacific Coast Geographers Student Travel Grant, Fall 2014
Trewartha Graduate Travel Grant, Spring 2014
Trewartha Graduate Travel Grant, Spring 2013
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Spring 2013
Trewartha Graduate Travel Grant, Fall 2011
Trewartha Graduate Research Award, Spring 2011

Contact Information

Email: : bruzzone@wisc.edu

On Twitter: @Mario_Bruzzone