Colloquium Series: The Impossibility of Violence: Bone Dust, Visitations, and Grievance in the Drug Market

When and Where

Friday, April 05, 2024 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Anthropology Building
19 Ursula Franklin Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2S2


Dr. Andrés Romero


In May 2016, the Colombian Special Forces seized the biggest olla or drug market at the time, known as “La L.” Situated in downtown Bogotá, La L, a two-and-a-half-block semi-enclosure, was home to 2,000 people living on the streets; to various paramilitary affiliated crime bands controlling the city’s drug trade; and to forms of the dead who pulsed through its atmosphere. This talk thinks with the undulating intensities of place—with the dead that refuse to be dead. The past that refuses to pass. With violence as the atmospheric state of things in “impossible” places like La L, where things seem to always turn on their head. I’m concerned with the aporetic qualities of violence, how it disrupts the logical, temporal, and categorical order of things. La L hosts worlds where the dead haunt, visit, protect, and become lively forces. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Bogotá between 2012 and 2018, this narrative-driven talk foregrounds the lives and after lives of people from La L, and how—through the ingestion of drugs, minor visitations, and states of grievance—the dead and the alive breach contact with one another, gesturing more broadly towards the imbrications of life and death.


19 Ursula Franklin Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2S2