“Violence and Torture in U.S.-Mexico Border Horror: The Spectacle of Migrant Pain in Undocumented” by Lucia Palmer
In this paper, I use a performance lens to examine issues of spectatorship of violence and torture in the independent horror film Undocumented (directed by Chris Peckover, 2010). I argue that this film performs a complex scenario of U.S. nation building built on colonialism, migrant labor exploitation, and the abjection of Mexican bodies. I draw primarily from Saidiya Hartman’s work on the violence of empathy, Achille Mbembe’s necropolitics, and Jacqueline Goldsby’s ideas on spectacular suffering and cultural logic.
Please watch the following preview for the film:
Issues I’d like to address as I write:
1) I’m worried about conflating violence against black bodies with violence against Mexican migrant bodies, and would appreciate feedback on this issue.
2) I’m also worried that I’m trying to do too much and use too many ideas/theorists from class. I’d like feedback on how to narrow my focus, and which elements of the paper are the most salient.