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Magical Dispossessions: Nature, Capital and Conflict in Colombia

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Alison Richard Building

7 West Road

Cambridge

CB3 9DT

United Kingdom

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Magical Dispossessions: Nature, Capital and Conflict in Colombia is a conference organised by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in collaboration with the Centre of Latin American Studies (CLAS) as part of the Norman MacColl Lecture 2017.

If dispossession can signal the limits of our self-sufficiency as subjects, it also names the condition of precarity on which many populations rest today. Subjects can be “dispossessed” of themselves by virtue of being moved or disconcerted by an encounter with alterity; and yet dispossession is also what occurs when populations lose their land, their citizenship, their means of livelihood. The aim of this one-day symposium is to explore these meanings of dispossession, and in an interdisciplinary manner that addresses the ways in which processes of capital extraction and territorial reorganization currently mediate interlocking forms of political, social, economic and symbolic violence in Colombia. It is also to reflect on the historical continuities between imperial forms of “primitive accumulation” and neo-imperial forms of “accumulation by dispossession”.

Subsidiary questions might include: How do experiences of dispossession demand that we question the sovereignty and self-sufficiency of individual or group identity? How do they highlight continuities between the territorializing and deterritorializing processes upon which nationhood rests? And how are these questions registered as questions of representation? How do extractive practices (understood broadly) both undergird and destabilise foundational representations of territoriality or space? Can the aesthetics of the “marvellous real”, once deployed to articulate the ambivalences at the heart of colonial “possession” in the Americas, still illuminate the “marvellous dispossessions” underpinning contemporary capitalism? Or is a new set of idioms required to contest today’s possessions and dispossessions, and their destabilisation of the very ground upon which cultures rest?

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Alison Richard Building

7 West Road

Cambridge

CB3 9DT

United Kingdom

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