In biomedicine, the word “leishmaniasis” refers to a broad spectrum of diseases involving microscopic Leishmania parasites transmitted through the bite of female sandflies. The most common of its manifestations, cutaneous leishmaniasis, is neither deadly nor contagious and only affects the skin by producing growing lesions of varying size and shape. In Colombia, the insect vector of leishmaniasis is native to the same forested environments that have served as the main stage for the armed conflict—el conflicto armado, one of the longest and most violent civil wars in Latin American history. As a result, members of the state army and non-state armed groups are the populations most affected by this disease in Colombia. In this talk, I will use the sandfly as an entry point to highlight various aspects of the entanglement between the Colombian armed conflict and leishmaniasis. I will explore three main questions: In what ways are sandflies the stuff of war in Colombia? How has the persistence of these tiny insects shaped the course of the Colombian armed conflict? In what sense are sandflies good to think with about the conflict and other events of political, social, and historical significance? Finally, I will discuss the potential of an ethnographic project focusing on sandflies and leishmaniasis to inform policy recommendations in the transition context marked by the November 2016 signing of a peace agreement between the Colombian government and the oldest and largest guerrilla movement in the Americas—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Departmental Seminar Series Hilary 2023
3.15pm, Fridays of Weeks 1-8. On Teams only in Weeks 2, 4 and 5, otherwise in 64 Banbury Road and on Teams.
The Seminar is replaced in Week 6 by the Geoffrey Harrison Prize Lecture which takes place at 3.15pm on 24 February in 64 Banbury Road.
Convened by Javier Lezaun and Eben Kirksey