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LAII Lecture Series Begins with Talk on National Security State

The UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute is pleased to announce the first presentation in its Fall 2014 Lecture Series. On Thursday, October 16, 2014, Dr. Les Field will present on "In Colombia, Peace Will Never Come: The Transnationality of the National Security State." The presentation will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the LAII Conference Room. Please see the event flyer for reference.

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Field received his PhD from Duke University in 1987 and is a Full Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico (UNM), as well as a faculty affiliate of the UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute. His first book, The Grimace of Macho Ratón: Artisans, Identity and Nation in Late Twentieth Century Western Nicaragua (1999: Duke University Press) derived from work in that country in both the 1980s and '90s. From 1989 to 1991, Field carried out post-doctoral research with indigenous farmers in Colombia and Ecuador, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Field's research with Native peoples in California has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and resulted in the 2008 publication of Abalone Tales: Collaborative Explorations of California Indian Sovereignty and Identity (Duke University Press). Field's current research in Colombia, which focuses upon archaeology, illicit excavation, indigenous communities, and museums, has been funded by a Fulbright Fellowship and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. In South, Central, and North America, Field's research has hinged upon establishing relations of collaboration with communities concerning the goals, methods, agendas and products of anthropological work, and is reflected in his co-edited volume (with Richard Fox), entitled Anthropology Put to Work. (2007, Berg Publishers). Field is the Director of UNM's Peace Studies Program and in that capacity co-organized (with Alexander Lubin, UNM American Studies) a field school of seventeen UNM undergraduates and graduate students in the occupied West Bank in 2011.

In this presentation, Field draws upon his research in Latin America and in Israel/Occupied Palestine. In Colombia, on the one hand, and in Israel/Occupied Palestine on the other, two apparently distinct sets of phenomena co-exist in extensive contemporary time: peace talks, national reconciliation, restorative justice, and mediation workshops compose one set; waves of intensive violence, displacement of communities and minority populations, unaccountability for human rights violations, and exacerbated polarization of political and ideological positions compose the other set. This is the scenario for the National Security State (NSS), a global feature that has become the most "developed" in Colombia and Israel, although many of the characteristic traits of the NSS also permeate everyday life in the United States. What are the substantive links between the development of the NSS in Israel and Colombia- i.e. what corporate, technological, and foreign policy relationships have co-created the NSS in the two countries? What are the ideological innovations that resonate in the two? The paradigm of the never-ending peace talks that never produce peace, but instead produce and re-produce the conditions for an ever more powerful NSS in the two countries lies at the center of this paper's descriptive analysis.

Image: Photograph of mural in Medellín, Colombia, 2014. Reprinted Attribution-ShareAlike © from Flickr user Deúniti, colectivo creative.

--Posted October 13, 2014.