I’m an ethnographer of contemporary Colombia interested in researching (de)militarized rural landscapes, post-conflict politics and economics, and multispecies relations of aid and care.
I’m also an assistant professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at George Washington University.
My book manuscript, Landscapes of Suspicion: Making Peace in Rural Colombia’s Minefields is an ethnography about a “peace laboratory”: The Pilot Project of Humanitarian Demining. Framed by the recent peace negotiation process between the Colombian State and the left-wing FARC-EP guerrilla, this was an initiative where Army and guerrilla soldiers lived and worked together to clear two remote villages: El Orejón and Santa Helena.
Grounded in eighteen months (2015-2016) of multi-sited ethnographic research, the book follows military deminers, rebel soldiers, war-affected peasants, and humanitarian practitioners in their experimental efforts to demilitarize landscapes and forge relationships of trust and reconciliation in spaces where war is provisionally suspended.
Throughout my research, I pay special attention to the material-affective impacts of the presence and absence of improvised landmines and framed them in terms of “non-explosive events.” I argue that landmines have the power to activate and orchestrate the emergence and consolidation of certain conditions of life (as well of death, disability, and debility) in the Colombian countryside, even when they do not explode or are physically absent, which this is the case of recently demined and so-called released rural areas. This capacity, I show, relies on the production of “landscapes of suspicion,” an environmental and political reality that characterizes the ambivalent times of armed conflict, violence-laden postwar and peace in Colombia.
My work is inspired by diverse scholarly fields, especially ethnographic theory, feminist science and technology studies, critical humanitarian studies, and political ecology.
My research has been supported by grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the University of California President’s Office, the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), and the Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies Dean’s office at UC Davis.