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Researching the Relationship Between Technology and Borders

headshot of Michelle Pfeifer

Doctoral student Michelle Pfeifer has received a dissertation fieldwork grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. The award will support her research into how media technologies are being utilized for border policing and control.

Of specific interest to Pfeifer is the contentious use of automated voice recognition and sound technologies by state entities processing asylum cases. One of the driving questions for Pfeifer is how difference is inscribed onto migrant voices and bodies in attempting to authenticate an applicant's place of origin. Her project takes her to Germany, where she's analyzing the work of policy makers, computational linguists, software developers, and caseworkers involved in developing and utilizing this technology.