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The Border Tech Lab (BTL) is a hands-on pedagogical and interdisciplinary research site where members explore material and symbolic sociotechnical relations. Of chief concern to us is the making of boundaries (understood as conceptual, epistemological, political demarcations) through practices of encounter, difference, and signification. Our work studies a range of phenomena, from the regulation and ordering of labor and the construction of classifications to the making and meanings of human-machine configurations. Primarily focused on the US-México borderlands, we also conduct research in other geographical areas.

The BTL currently works in three areas: information technologies and border enforcement; computing in the Américas; and the future of work. These areas are studied through team-based research using a variety of methods that include archival research, oral history, critical inquiry, and discourse analysis. Our work draws together critical analytical frames and methods from American and ethnic studies, science & technology studies, digital studies, history, anthropology, and sociology.

Want to learn more about the BTL? Visit our website and/or email Professor Chaar López at ichaar (at) utexas (dot) edu for more information.

Meet the BTL Team

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Iván Chaar López

Principal Investigator

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Odalis Garcia Gorra

Graduate Researcher

Odalis Garcia Gorra is an American Studies doctoral student at UT Austin. She has a BA from The New School in Journalism with a concentration in Religious Studies, and an MA in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School. Her research explores diasporic Latinx and Caribbean identities. She's specifically interested in how Latinx digital communities become pathways for innovative cultural expression, identity formation, and how Latinidad is commodified.

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Emma Li

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emma Li is a Junior at the University of Texas at Austin studying Race, Indigeneity and Migration along with Marketing. She’s interested in research at the intersection of art and design, critical race theory and social movements. In her free time Emma enjoys making pastries, messing around with watercolors and exploring all the coffee shops in Austin.


Victoria Sánchez

Visiting Scholar

Victoria Sánchez obtained her B.A. in Gender Studies from Carleton College and her M.A. in Latin American & Latina/o Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interests include feminist science and technology studies, ethics in AI, inclusive data, Latinx Studies, and speculative art and design. Outside of the lab, you can find her supporting outstanding young leaders or the “future of work” as a Career Program Manager at the Posse Foundation in San Francisco, CA.

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