Please join us for a talk by Dr. Winifred Tate (Department of Anthropology, Colby College)
Paramilitary Politics in Colombia
Friday, September 22nd
4:00 - 5:15 p.m.
“The judgment of history will recognize the goodness and nobility of our cause,” indicted drug trafficker and paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso told assembled legislators in the Colombian Congress in 2004. This talk examines the social life of this claim, considering the origins of paramilitary violence, the production of history about this violence, and its legacies in contemporary Colombian politics. Rather than being the result of state absence, I argue contemporary forms of Colombian paramilitarism emerged from settler colonialism throughout the early years of the 20th century. Popular histories of these groups, including elite oral histories and narconovela television dramas, portray paramilitaries as heroic saviors who won the country’s counterinsurgency war. I conclude by tracing the resonance of these claims in emergent violence in opposition to state-sponsored land restitution programs and current peace talks with the guerrillas.
Sponsored by: Department of Anthropology, United Government of Graduate Students, Latin American Studies Center, Department of Women and Gender Studies, and the Peace, Conflict, and Security Studies Certificate Program.