FASA Colloquium April 4

Published: March 31st, 2014

Category: Department Events, FASA

This Week’s FASA Colloquium

Semblance in terrain: river crossings of a post-war landscape

by Dr. Richard Kernaghan
Fri. April 4
3pm* in 1208 Turlington Hall

* change from usual time
In this presentation I will dwell on the historicity of spatial prohibitions in a Amazonian region of Central Peru where for over thirty years a Maoist insurgency and a cocaine economy confronted the territorial controls of the Peruvian state. Throughout that past, unwritten rules admonishing who could move and how radiated tremendous affective force. They also acquired specific topographic expressions. Here I focus on one crucial geographic site which became infused with interdictions: a river known as the Huallaga or more precisely, particular points where that river flowed aside two towns north of the city of Tingo María. Throughout the 1980s and much of the 1990s, to gaze across the river, while standing in the main boat landings of either town, was to look out onto territories of the Shining Path but also towards coca fields least accessible to police raids. From across the river, meanwhile, rural life faced towns that were besieged outposts of the Peruvian state and its laws. Crossing the river from either side was an intensely charged political act—one which raised basic existential questions about one’s sympathies, allegiances and intentions. Now though that the times of war have chronologically receded, evidence of their demise can be sensed in the absence of prohibitions, which formerly weighed upon everyday passage from one bank to the other.

 

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