Humanities Institute

Hostile Terrain 94

Hostile Terrain 94 (HT94) is an international participatory exhibit commemorating the thousands of people who have died or disappeared attempting to cross the U.S./Mexico border, due to the U.S Border Patrol policy of Prevention Through Deterrence. Organized by the Undocumented Migrant Project, the exhibit grew from the work of anthropologist Jason DeLeon, one of the Humanities Institute’s 2019 Distinguished Visiting Lecturers.

Hostile Terrain 94: Installation and Workshops Hostile Terrain Exhibit









The Hostile Terrain exhibit consists of approximately 3,200 individually handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona from the mid 1990s to the present. The tags are affixed to a wall-sized map depicting the region at the exact location where the remains were found. hand holding a pen completing a toe tag

The tags are completed by volunteers. For the Austin installation, slated for April 2022, tags will be completed at workshops hosted by the Humanities Institute both on campus and in the community. Workshops will be scheduled beginning in Fall 2021. 

Hostile Terrain 94 Activities

Fall 2021

November 1: Toe tag completion workshop as part of MALS Día de los Muertos commemoration, with a link to the Event page.

Spring 2021

Poetry Reading by Texas Poet Laureate Emmy Pérez, February 16 7:00-8:00PM CST, register HERE.

Fall 2020

Controversy & Conversation Film: "Border South" with Director Raúl Paz Pastrana, December 3, 2020. More information HERE.

"Incarceration and Detention During COVID-19": A Difficult Dialogues Public Forum with Virginia Raymond and Gabriel Solis, October 22, 2020. More information HERE.

A Moment of Global Remembrance

In advance of the exhibit, the Undocumented Migrant Project is hosting “A Moment of Global Remembrance.” The Project invites members of the public to record themselves reading aloud the name of a person who has died while crossing into the United States through the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The recording also includes details of the person’s death. While it might be difficult to speak these details aloud, the project provides one way to remember those who have died and to bear witness to the results of U.S. policies.



Ronald Rael Hostile Terrain 94 Flyer

Our colleagues at Texas State University mounted their HT94 exhibit this Fall. In addition to the Ronald Rael talk cosponsored by the Humanities Institute, Texas State is hosting a number of exciting virtual and in-person events. Find out more about Texas State's Hostile Terrain events here. 


Hostile Terrain 94 Nationally

Anthropologist and HT94 Curator Jason De León introduces the HT 94 exhibit at the opening of the HT94 exhibit at the School for advanced Research in Santa Fe, NM.

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