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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Containing Minefields: From Matters of Fear to Matters of Fact

February 29 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Within Colombia’s decades-long armed conflict, improvised landmines have sown suspicion in the countryside. Deployed irregularly by rebel groups, these explosive devices have not only turned rural areas into “explosive fields” but also into unsettling “landscapes of suspicion.” This presentation delves into the widely adopted demining approach of Land Release, focusing particularly on its pivotal initial step—the Non-Technical Survey (NTS). I examine the technical processes and inscriptional devices through which a rather odd group of demining collaborators attempts to contain landmine-related suspicions by creating landscapes of certainty. These are spaces where the presence or absence of explosive devices is established as a fact, not as a “matter of fear,” as a demining technician put it. Diana Pardo Pedraza is an assistant professor of anthropology and international affairs at the George Washington University. Her ethnographic research focuses on improvised explosive devices and mine clearance and explores (de)militarized landscapes, humanitarian relations of care, and post-conflict politics.