UBC Lectures, Seminars, and Symposia

Memory Traces of Ethnic and Gender Violence in Columbia’s Armed Conflict Riaño‐Alcala, Pilar


Women are untouchable according to the customary laws of the Wayuu indigenous peoples of the Guajira region in Colombia. The massacre of six Wayuu, four of them women, and the forced displacement of the entire community from their ancestral territory in April of 2004 radically dislocated these principles and the sense of the everyday life in a warrior society that have resisted military, religious or educational occupations of their land since colonial times. In this presentation, I examine the living memories of this massacre, the forms of sexual violence exercised and, the resistance strategies and memory and memorialisation work led mostly by Wayuu women. The aim is to discuss the ethnic and gender dimensions of armed conflicts and the relevance of exploring variations in sexual, ethnic and regional violence as observed in the Colombian case.

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