Dr. Susan Terrio holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Anthropology and French of Georgetown University. She teaches courses in English and French on social class, cultural systems, national identity, race, ethnicity, migration, and the anthropology of food. Her areas of expertise include migration, ethnicity, human rights, juvenile and immigration law in cross-cultural perspective, food, and cultural systems in Western Europe and the United States.

Susan is the author of Judging Mohammed: Juvenile Delinquency, Immigration, and Exclusion at the Paris Juvenile Court (2009) and Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate (2000). Her numerous articles have appeared in many scholarly journals, including: American Anthropologist, Anthropological Quarterly, and French Cultural Studies. Her essays have appeared in several collections by multiple publishers. Susan has been the recipient of a number of fellowships and research grants including the Chateaubriand Fellowship, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and many others. She was awarded the Georgetown College Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001.

Dr. Terrio is a member of the executive board of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology and of the editorial boards of the journals Anthropological Quarterly and Contemporary French Civilization.


Project Summary

This project centers on the children who migrate to the US in search of family, work, education or refuge. They risk their lives crossing the border, endure abuse by smugglers or gangs, experience coercive arrests, are prosecuted for immigration violations, and wage an up-hill battle to obtain legal status. After their apprehension at the U.S. border or within the country, federal authorities designate them as “unaccompanied” and transfer them to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement where they are held pending release to approved sponsors.

In contrast to the media coverage of adult immigration detention, little is known about the facilities where thousands of children are held every year. The study sheds light on the conflicting methods of identifying unaccompanied children, on their treatment in custody, on the inconsistencies that govern their release from custody, and on the consequences of inadequate follow-up services.


Major Publications

Judging Mohammed. Juvenile Delinquency, Immigration and Exclusion at the Paris Palace of Justice. (Stanford University Press, 2009).

“Young Men, Trouble, and the Law: A French Case” (Berghahn Books, 2011) in The Trouble with Young Men: Predicaments in Coming of Age.

“The Production of Criminal Migrant Children: Surveillance, Detention, and Deportation in France” (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2010) in Children and Migration. At the Crossroads of Resiliency and Vulnerability.

“New Barbarians at the Gates of Paris? Prosecuting Undocumented Minors at the Juvenile Court” (2008) in Anthropological Quarterly.

“Youth, (Im)migration and Juvenile Law at the Paris Palace of Justice”  (Stanford University Press, 2007) in Youth, Globalization, and the Law.

 “Zacarias Moussaoui: Moroccan Muslim? French Terrorist? Benighted Zealot? War Criminal? Serial Migrant? All of the Above?” (Lexington Books, 2007) in Places We Share. Migration, Subjectivity and Global Mobility.