Department of English

University of Toronto

A Concrete Peace: Magical Materiality in Colomiba

Event date: Thursday, April 25, 2019, from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Location: JHB318, Jackman Humanities Building

The Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies presents

Professor Austin Zeiderman

Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics

“A Concrete Peace: Magical Materiality in Colombia”

Public and scholarly debates in Colombia frequently gloss the work required to achieve peace as la construcción del posconflicto, which translates rather awkwardly to “the construction of the post-conflict.” These debates usually surround the question of how to build the social and political institutions necessary for transcending a half-century of violence. Less attention is being given, however, to the work of constructing post-conflict Colombia in a material sense. Taking inspiration from a felicitous phrase coined by the Ministry of Transport’s Twitter account, #PazEnConcreto, I focus on the real-and-imaginary work that goes into building a “concrete peace” through the construction of things like roads, buildings, and bridges. How are certain materials endowed with the power to create a safe and secure future? Through what practices are specific objects made to produce such an effect? By examining peacebuilding projects expected to symbolize and inaugurate a new stage of history, I aim to shed light on the magical materiality underpinning dominant paradigms of security and development.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For further information, contact the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at (416) 946-8464.

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