Emma Shaw Crane

Social and Cultural AnalysisNew York University (NYU)

Award Information

2017 IDRF Program

Social and Cultural AnalysisNew York University (NYU)

The Urban Afterlives of War: Governing Post-Conflict Bogotá

Rural warfare has profoundly shaped urban development in Colombia. Former combatants and displaced people flee to cities, rapidly urbanizing the peripheries. Since 2003, over 57,000 former combatants—both paramilitary and guerrilla—have demobilized from armed groups, primarily to peripheral urban neighborhoods. My dissertation project explores how the aftermath of warfare shapes urban life in Bogotá, and how post-conflict neighborhoods are imagined and governed through demobilization programs. Colombia has long been a site of U.S. intervention, and is a crucial node in both the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. The demobilization of guerrilla and paramilitary combatants is a priority for American military and development aid. Through ethnographic interviews and participant observation with demobilized combatants and their families as well as development, city planning, and military aid experts, I ask how people live on with war in ostensibly post-conflict urban spaces. Drawing on urban studies, anthropology, and American Studies, I explore how experiences of violence and displacement shape modes of urban life, and how post-conflict urban spaces are governed transnationally. By paying attention to demobilization at multiple sites and scales—from the neighborhood to international development and military aid expertise—my research investigates the urban afterlife of counterinsurgency in a post-conflict city.