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The Colombian Studies: Past, Present and Futures initiative presents , Legacies of War: Violence, Ecologies and Kin , by Kimberly Theidon, Henry J. Leir Professor in International Humanitarian Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. Moderated by Lina Cespedes, Professor at the Law School, Rosario University. This event is part of the Faculty Working Group series hosted at CLACS in Collaboration with NYU Wagner, and Universidad del Rosario, Colombia
According to professor Theidon, war can get under the skin and into the land, rivers and mountains that are more than a mute backdrop to humanly-authored devastation. It is clear that armed conflict can contribute to an environment that is toxic to human health and well-being, but to leave the argument there is to reduce more-than-human entities to mere resources that exist to satisfy human needs and desires, and to measure their destruction as unfortunate but collateral damage. Professor Theidon moves beyond this instrumentalized concern for the more-than-human to consider the interspecies entanglements that make life possible in the best and the worst of times. She considers the multiple environments in which conception, pregnancy and childbirth unfold, environments that may lie far beyond the control of any one woman. From toxic chemicals to land mines, from rivers tinged with blood to angry mountains, there are multiple environments and actors that play a role in reproduction and post-war reconstruction. To capture these assemblages, she takes her audience to the Atrato River, Colombia’s longest and most-polluted waterway. On this river, lifeways and waterways converge; as the Atrato winds through the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities of Urabá, the river gives and is life. In recognition of the multiple forms of violence that have convulsed the region and muddied the river’s waters, in 2016 the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled that the Atrato both is a victim of the armed conflict and a river with rights. For Theidon, surely it is time to consider the human and more-than-human wages of war, and to foreground the articulation of environmental and post-humanist conceptions of justice.
About the Speaker:
Kimberly Theidon is the Henry J. Leir Professor in International Humanitarian Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. She is the author of many articles, commissioned reports, and three books. Entre Prójimos: El conflicto armado interno y la política de la reconciliación en el Perú was awarded the Latin American Studies Association 2006 Premio Iberoamericano Book Award Honorable Mention for outstanding book in the social sciences published in Spanish or Portuguese. Her second book, Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru was awarded the 2013 Honorable Mention from the Washington Office on Latin America-Duke University Libraries Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America, and the 2013 Honorable Mention for the Eileen Basker Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology for research on gender and health. Legacies of War: Violence, Ecologies and Kin is under contract with Duke University Press.
Lina Cespedes is a Colombian Lawyer graduated from Universidad del Rosario. She holds a specialized degree in Tax Law from this university, a Master in Gender Studies from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, a Master of Laws (LL.M.) with concentration in international law from Cardozo School of Law (Yeshiva University, NYC), and a Doctorate in Juridical Science (S.J.D.) from Temple University (Philadelphia). She was a Fulbright Scholar to pursue her doctoral studies in 2012-2014 and Residential Fellow at the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) of Harvard University’s Law School. Currently she is a Full-Time Professor (Profesora Titular) of Universidad del Rosario’s Law School, where she is a member of the Private Law Research Group. She has been an UNESCO Chair for Gender Equality. Her scholarship has been focused on gender, property theories, armed conflict, and international law, among other topics. She has practiced law since the year 2000 as a litigant and consultant. She was the Vice-Dean of Universidad del Rosario’s Law School from 2015 until 2019 and Acting Dean in 2019.
This event is organized by the Colombian Studies Initiative: Past, Present and Futures, a collaboration between New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and Universidad del Rosario. The Initiative aims to create an Inter-American hub for research, multidisciplinary conversations and exchange of knowledge concerning Colombia. It supports dialogue, inquiry, and research for US, Colombian, and international scholars, students, NGOs practitioners, and the general public interested in Colombia.