Dr. Max Counter is a human geographer with an interest in forced displacement, critical disability studies, conflict reparations, and human rights legal systems in Latin America. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2019. His work focuses on reparation and land restitution programs for displaced populations in Colombia, arguing that these human rights projects fundamentally arbitrate the epistemic frames through which the history of Colombia's conflict is officially sanctioned. His ethnographic research spans Colombia's political spectrum, illuminating how both grassroots victims' organizations as well as conservative agrarian elites differentially engage with the socio-legal notion of "human rights" to frame the causes and consequences of armed conflict. Additionally, he has an engaged scholar-activist research agenda concerning disabled landmine victims' efforts to demand reparations under Colombia's currently unfolding transitional justice paradigm. 

Postdoctoral Research Overview: 

The emerging subfield of "critical geographies of human rights" brings nuanced attention to the manner in which space and human rights law are mutually constitutive. This field extends foundational insights within "legal geography" writ large concerning the reciprocal relationship between space and law throughout precise consideration of how human rights law informs spatial politics and practice. This particular focus on human rights is a welcome addition to geographic scholarship given that it grounds "human rights" as a specific legal venue as opposed to a generic descriptive term for social justice.

With these insights in mind, however, this research proposal seeks to expand philosophical engagement with the very concept of "human rights" to contribute to emerging critical geographies of human rights scholarship. Whereas "human rights" does refer to a specific legal field (with its own historical and geographic evolution), the term also refers to a particular epistemic of violence. That is, to call something a "human rights violation" is to place it within a particular framing of violence. How does human rights mobilization across Latin America make violence politically legible, and with what consequences? 

Email Dr. Counter: max.counter@colorado.edu