A Fresh Look at the Colombian Conflict

On October 9th, we were pleased to host The Colombian Conflict: A Symposium on History, Geography and Politics. The event organized by CLACS faculty member Edgardo Perez Morales, offered a cross-disciplinary and fresh conversation on Colombia and its internal conflict. Participants in this symposium presented specific research insights into the the process of early state-formation, the emergence of the “nature state” and territorial conflict affecting Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, and the links between the overheating economy and the current peace process. The symposium was attended by 75 people, and was co-sponsored with the Urban Democracy Lab at NYU.

The speakers featured included academics from Colombia and based in the U.S. Given the complexity of such a long standing conflict in the South American country, the speakers represented various areas of focus such as migration, environmentalism, and state-formation. Its participants were:

Claudia Leal León received her PhD in geography at the University of Berkeley, and teaches at the History and Geography programs at Universidad de los Andes, in Bogotá. Her research concentrates on theIMG_1148 intersections of geography, politics and ethnicity, specializing on Afro-Colombian populations of the Pacific lowlands over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Dr. Leal León is the co-author of Unos bosques sembrados de aserríos (2003), the first work to assess the historical and social impact of logging in the Chocó region. She has published extensively in British, Canadian, American and Colombian professional journals, and is the editor of dossiers in environmental history and race. She is currently at work on a book on the emergence of the “nature state” in Colombia.

Daniel Gutiérrez Ardila received his doctoral degree from the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and teaches for the center for historical studies at Universidad Externado de Colombia. His research concentrates on the political and diplomatic history of early independent Colombia, specializing in the issues of sovereignty and legitimacy faced by the early IMG_1112pro-independence polities and Bolívar’s Republic of Colombia. Dr. Gutiérrez Ardila has published several books, including Un Nuevo Reino (2010), acclaimed as a tour de force in the history of early national Colombia. He has published articles in France, Mexico and Colombia, and is now working on a new book on the State of Antioquia during the early independence period.

Nazih Richani received his PhD in Political Science from George Washington University, and teaches political science and Latin American studies at Kean University. His research concentrates on political violence IMG_1134and organized crime, specializing in comparative approaches to ongoing conflicts in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. He has published Dilemmas of Democracy and Political Parties in Sectarian Societies: Lebanon  1949-1996 (1998), and the acclaimed Systems of Violence: The Political Economy of War and Peace in Colombia (2002), which has seen three editions, including one in Spanish. He is currently at work on a book on The Political Economy of Organized Crime in Latin America.

Mary Roldan is Dorothy Epstein Professor in Latin American History, and chair of the History Department at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research interests are 19th and 20th century Latin American History; Colombia, social and political history, violence, state IMG_1137formation, and regional politics. Her publications include: Poltiical Cultures in the Andes, 1750-1950 (Duke University Press); Violent Democracies in Latin America (Duke University Press), among others.

Here is the full discussion:



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