Smugglers, migrants, and demons

Cosmographies of mobility in the northern Caribbean

by JEFFREY S. KAHN

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Haitian sea migration and US maritime policing have emerged in tandem since the 1980s. During this time, many Haitians have begun to assume that migration voyages succeed only because of ritual exchanges—in particular, transactions between migrants and sea‐traversing, other‐than‐human beings. These ritual payments, along with other activities of border crossing and control, have placed ships, routes, and offshore detention centers in an interconnected constellation that spans the northern Caribbean. These cosmographically deep spatial configurations exceed concepts like “region” or “sociocultural area.” Cosmographic depth, while not unique to these spaces, is made visible in the array of entities, forces, and moral sensibilities that compose them. Seeing cosmographically highlights this depth, which is often rendered inconsequential by dominant bureaucratic registers of border securitization.