Torn Apart is part of our Mobilized Humanities interventions. MH brings together digital tools to equip broad social awareness and help in global critical situations. We mobilize humanities faculties, libraries, and students with relevant language, archival, technical, and social expertise to nimbly produce curated and applied knowledge. MH sits away from state and non-governmental organizations and is scholarly activism in a global context.

Torn Apart began with an intense 6-day collaboration between xpMethod (Manan Ahmed, Alex Gil, Moacir P. de Sá Pereira, Roopika Risam), Borderlands Archives Cartography (Maira E. Álvarez, Sylvia A. Fernández), Linda Rodriguez, and Merisa Martinez. We operate on a journal-model with new collaborators and contributors for each issue, as acknowledged below. Moacir P. de Sá Pereira is the Lead Developer for Torn Apart and has hand-cranked the code for most of what you see here.

We envision Torn Apart as a scholarly journal— one led by an editorial board, but with different thematics, issues, and authors for each volume. This modal approach to digital projects comes out of our long-standing commitment to building sustainable infrastructures that will grow as authors, topics, and interests grow. With that principle, we have structurally organized Torn Apart on Git as modular and volumable (as it were). Scholars, activists, and digital creators are welcome to pitch future volumes.

Volume One



Gaiutra Bahadur, Maria Sachiko Cecire, Cole D Crawford, Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández, Anna Kijas, Durba Mitra, Bethany Nowviskie, Erik Simpson, Bharat Jayram Venkat

Volume Two



Alex Ahmed, Hannah Alpert-Abrams, Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Gaiutra Bahadur, Christina Bell, Christina Boyles, Isis Campos, Cathy Davidson, Emily Esten, Noreen Farooqui, Alex Galarza, Lorena Gauthereau, Erin Glass, Tassie Gniady, Elizabeth Grumbach, Juliet Louise Hardesty, Kathi Inman Berens, Patrick Juola, Clément Lévy, Purdom Lindblad, Brandon Locke, Kathryn McDonald, Kristen Mapes, Vinicius Marquet, Jodi Mikesell, Chelsea Miya, Meghana V. Nayak, Gregory Palermo, Dimitris Papadopoulos, Andrew Petersen, Rubria Rocha, Brian Rosenblum, Danica Savonick, Megan Finn Senseney, Juan Steyn, Zachariah Stern, Angelika Strohmayer, Lisa Tagliaferri, Toniesha L. Taylor, Paola Verhaert, Carolina Villarroel, Jacqueline Wernimont, Vika Zafrin, Annette Zapata


After Volume 1 we asked for volunteer peer reviewers. Many in our scholarly and librarian community shared their reviews with us. We hope to have addressed most of their suggestions and concerns. Whenever we did not follow those suggestions, we did so after serious deliberation. We thank our reviewers for taking the time to help us improve the project.

We thank HASTAC for their generous support during DH2018 in Mexico City. Volume 2 is a result of the design and prototyping sprints we held there. The Digital Library Federation has already extended a partnering hand to work on abstracting our model of research and help expand the Nimble Tents Toolkit, a resource clearinghouse for mobilized scholarship and librarianship.

We owe a special debt of gratitude to Jacqueline Wernimont and friends for the DIY Feminist Cybersecurity they offered us, so we could focus on the work at hand without having to worry about doxxers, trolls, and other critters.

And to anyone who shared our project with those for whom it would be most useful, who volunteered, but didn’t get a chance to contribute, who debated it at home, who retweeted it, who wrote about it for their publics, we thank you.


For Volume 1, we began with ICE/CBP websites and got the public geo-data that they serve. We then began looking into business records, federal records, and news records culling data about locations used by federal, state, and private for-profit agencies. Simultaneously, we were assembling data about “Allies”– those working to resist, assist, or alleviate this crisis. However, our largest data tranche came via our discovery of the “November 2017 ICE Detention Facility Lists”, which exists because of the FOIA efforts of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and the National Immigrant Justice Center. Volume 2 relies on government contracting data scraped from Our visualizations thus combine these sets of data. We are extremely grateful to ILRC and NIJC for making the ICE data publicly available. Our full sources of data are in the bibliography.

Most of our datasets are available on GitHub. If you have any questions, please email


We want to acknowledge the work of Josh Begley’s Prison Map: What does the geography of incarceration for United States look like? for inspiring our “The Eye.”

The website is based on @muziejus/leaflet-quickstart, a GitHub repository that lets learners build much, much simpler maps online quickly. But it would not be possible without the efforts of everyone who has ever written a tutorial or answered a question about programming online. It makes use of the following open technologies:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (2018).