Robin Reineke

About Robin Reineke

Robin Reineke is from Seattle, Washington. She received her BA in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College, where she began her longterm interest in mass mourning, human rights, and the sciences and technologies of human identification. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the School of Anthropology writing her dissertation, “Naming the Dead: Identification and Ambiguity along the U.S.-Mexico Border,” which is about the scientific, political, and social processes involved in identifying the bodies of deceased migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Her ethnographic research includes interviews and participant observation with forensic scientists and families of missing and deceased migrants in Mexico, Guatemala, and various parts of the U.S. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Colibri Center for Human Rights ( which seeks to assist families in their search for missing loved ones, and inform the public of an ongoing human rights crisis on the border. Her work has been featured in the BBC, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Economist, and The Nation.

Selected Publications

Will Immigration Reform Mean More Deaths on the Border?

Arizona: Naming the Dead from the Desert

A Continued Humanitarian Crisis at the Border: Undocumented Border Crosser Deaths Recorded by the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, 1990 - 2012


Media and Press:

Film: “Who is Dayani Cristal?”, Directed by Marc Silver, to be released Fall 2013., “South Texas overtaking Arizona as place where more border crossers die.” Mark Collette, February 23, 2013.

Arizona Daily Star, Discoveries of crossers’ bodies now at lowest level in 10 years. Perla Treviso, February 21, 2013

Public Radio International’s The World, “Identifying the Migrants Who Die Crossing the US/Mexico Border,” January 24, 2013

BBC News Magazine, “Arizona: Naming the Dead from the Desert.” January 16, 2013.

BBC World Service, Outlook Program, Naming the Dead on the Mexican Border,, December 24, 2012

KVOA News Tucson, Migrants killed by the elements identified by the personal items left behind,, November 5, 2012

Los Angeles Times, “Arizona county's grim lost and found,”, October 17, 2012

National Public Radio’s State of the Reunion, “Tucson: Borderlands,”, September 17, 2012

Arizona Daily Star, Nearly 1,700 bodies, each one a mystery, 24, 2010

Courses Taught

Many Ways of Being Human

Human Rights Action-Research Seminar: Identifying Missing Migrants on the US Mexico Border (Internship coordinator)


Areas of Study

United States

US - Mexico Border

Mexico & Mesoamerica

Latin America & the Caribbean


Research Interests

Science and Technology Studies, Forensic Anthropology, Human Rights, Immigration, Death and the Dead Body, Surveillance, Modern Material Culture

Robin Reineke's picture

Contact Information

Executive Director, Colibrí Center for Human Rights


2009 -- MA, Cultural Anthropology, University of Arizona

2004 -- BA, Cultural Anthropology, Bryn Mawr College