This article shows the grassroots development apparatus—its discourses of political participation, environmental conservation, and ethnic empowerment—became a conduit for paramilitary-backed state formation and land-grabbing in northwest Colombia.
How has state formation developed in a region where relations of land, labor, and capital have been violently contested and in which the government has never been the sole nor the most powerful source of political authority?
The re-election of Bolivian President Evo Morales to a third term is a stark reminder of Washington’s self-inflicted irrelevance south of the border. His life history is itself a story about U.S. policy blunders in Latin America.
Washington stood on the wrong side of history when it overthrew Guatemala's democratically elected president on June 27, 1954. To this day, the U.S. government has failed to learn the lessons of its Cold War interventions in Latin America.
Amid racing into the final months of my dissertation research (my plan is to wrap up in December or January), I managed to rattle off an op-ed last week focusing on the NSA diplomatic spying scandal. Published through the McClatchy-Tribune … Continue reading
My article “Grassroots Masquerades: Development, Paramilitaries, and Land Laundering” was just published by Geoforum. The article will be out in hardcopy in Volume 50 (December 2013), but it’s already available online. The first version of the article was presented at the … Continue reading
Stuart Elden has announced the publication of his much anticipated book, The Birth of Territory. At this blog—not least because of its name—we’ve followed the progress of this work very closely. As I said back then: “We’ve admired this work—the royal … Continue reading
After Colombia's 2-1 victory over the Ivory Coast, I spoke with Meleiza Figueroa of KPFA's "The People's Game," a show about politics and society during the 2014 World Cup. We discussed Colombia's history in the World Cup, its current winning streak, and how soccer in the country has crossed paths with the drug trade, the armed conflict, and today's political conjuncture.
This podcast produced by the Social Science Research Council's Drugs, Security, and Democracy (DSD) program features Winifred Tate and myself talking about our research projects on paramilitaries, land conflicts, and drug trafficking in Colombia.
I'm an Assistant Professor in Peace & Conflict Studies and Geography at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. Before completing my PhD in Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, my professional background was in journalism, covering Latin American affairs and U.S. policy toward the region. Although I'm focused full-time on my academic work, I continue doing journalism on the side as a way of sharing my research with broader audiences.
My research is about the political ecology of violent conflict and development in Latin America with a special interest in the role of natural resources and illicit political-economic networks. My current book project, tentatively titled In the Absence of the State, examines how outlaw combatant groups funded by the drug trade engage in unexpected forms of state-building in a violent frontier zone of northwest Colombia. I have also begun research on a new project in Colombia about the ways the environment is being used as both a weapon of war and a tool for peace. Read More »