A Troubling Proposal: Slowing Down the Humanitarian Ethical Response to Landmines

Department: Gender and Sexuality Studies

Date and Time: November 19, 2019 | 4:00 PM-5:30 PM

Event Location: HIB 135

Event Details

This talk considers the ethical challenge and political proposal of Ana, a local peasant woman from a remote rural village in Colombia, El Orejón. Like her fellow villagers, she has learned to endure and live with and despite landmines. I reflect on her decisive rejection of humanitarian demining, which I see as an explosive ethnographic moment through the concept of ethical disconcertment: a moment where contrasting ethical reasonings circulate across heterogenous ethical communities and practices.

Ana's rural life is not (only) occupied by these improvised explosive devices (as landmines are technically known in Colombia), but also by a complex world of relations preempted by the historical abandonment of the state, the ongoing war between multiple and faceless armed and unarmed forces, and violent occupations. Slowing down the construction of an ethical common sense —a liberal humanitarian world— I contend Ana embodies and enacts what I call politics of troublemaking: a call to stay with the trouble of living and dying in blasted and paradoxically abandoned and occupied landscapes.

Diana Pardo Pedraza is a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Gender and Sexualities Studies at UC Irvine. Her ethnographic research, based in rural Colombia, considers (de)militarized rural landscapes, post-conflict politics and economics, and multispecies relations of aid and care.

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