Cultural Anthropology (CITE) program
Graduate Co-Advisors: Ulla Berg
Research interests: The politics of place and identity in Latin America; political ecology, spatial analysis, state-formation, transnational legal regimes, Race and ethnicity, governance and subjectification
Project summary:My doctoral research focuses on the intersection between official multiculturalism, violence and development in Colombia. Particularly, I am interested in Afro-Colombian populations living amidst sugar cane plantations, industrial areas, and development plans in the Cauca Valley. Since colonial times these groups have been engaged in an ongoing struggle over land, access to resources and mainly over securing life and building autonomy. Today they maneuver between framing their claims under the ethical, political, and juridical categories of the multicultural state, and building alternative ways that can exploit politically the tensions within neoliberal governance.
What is particular about the Colombian case is that this eruption of rights has ironically coincided with the intensification of the armed conflict, along with the appearance of paramilitary groups, processes of displacement and new security practices and regimes of resource governance. By approaching these groups and discourses as complex cultural processes that are constituted through makeshift alliances and articulations, I hope to understand how this region and its long-marginalized populations are positioned vis-à-vis and incorporated into larger projects of modernity.