I am a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. My research interrogates the relationship between state formation, rural development, and peace processes in the countryside of Colombia. For decades, the isolated village of Briceño was under the control of warring armed groups, with an economy based on the cultivation of coca, the raw material of cocaine. In the context of a landmark 2016 peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, however, Briceño has come under the gaze of state power as Colombia’s Peace Laboratory. My research follows the village’s wholesale transformation as the site of a pilot coca substitution program negotiated in the peace agreement, unprecedented levels of state investment, and Colombia’s largest hydroelectric dam.
My work has appeared in Qualitative Sociology, Contexts, El Espectador, the North American Congress on Latin America, Jacobin, and Ethnographic Marginalia, among others. Along with written articles, I draw heavily on photography and am the co-director of the in-progress documentary film, “An Uncomfortable Peace.” I am also co-founder and co-editor of the website and podcast Ethnographic Marginalia, which provides a space for reflection on and discussion of ethnographic methods and experiences. I am currently continuing my fieldwork while working on my dissertation, titled “‘Don’t talk to me about peace when the people are starving’: everyday state formation in Colombia’s Peace Laboratory.”