My research examines the central role that the media plays in Colombia's armed conflict. I am interested in the shifting techniques of warfare in the twenty-first century and the ways strategies, tactics, and practices of representation have come to occupy increasingly important roles in asymmetrical conflicts.
Questions of temporality, surveillance, the role of the market in counterinsurgency, and the relationship between war and non-war motivate my research. These are concerns that are at once ethnographic, theoretical, and political; registers that I interweave in my writing.
My fieldwork in Colombia dates back to 2001 and includes two years of intensive research between 2011 and 2013 with ex-combatants, military officers, and the publicists they contract.
I complement my abiding interest in media politics and the Colombian conflict with an intellectual commitment to parsing the continuities and ruptures presented by social media, as well as keen attention to the changing modes of documentary practice. This latter topic I take up both as a scholar and as a documentary artist.
I was a Mellon post-doctoral fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard in 2014-15.
In 2014, I completed my PhD in Social Anthropology at Harvard University. I also received a secondary field in Critical Media Practice (2014) and an MA (2008) from Harvard. I graduated from Duke University with a BA (2001) and a double major in Comparative Area Studies (interdisciplinary), and Spanish. The Center for Documentary Studies played a pivotal role in my personal and professional development.
My work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council (IDRF and DSD programs), the National Science Foundation (GRFP program), the Wenner-Gren Foundation (DFG and EAG programs), the Fulbright IIE, among others.
Here is a list of some of my (future and past) publications. Also see my page on Academia.edu.
Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia (University of Chicago Press, Nov. 2018). Winner, Sharon Stephens Prize by the American Ethnological Society; Honorable Mention, Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology; Reviewed by: New Yorker, Revista: Harvard Review of Latin America, Cultural Anthropology’s Visual and New Media Review
Guerrilla Marketing: Contrainsurgencia y Capitalismo en Colombia (Editorial Universidad del Rosario, 2019, translation by María Clemencia Ramírez and Andy Klatt)
Shooting Cameras for Peace: Youth, Photography, and the Colombian Armed Conflict / Disparando Cámaras para la Paz: Juventud, fotografía y el conflicto armado colombiano (Harvard University Press, 2020, translation by María Clemencia Ramírez and Andy Klatt), afterword by Doris Sommer
Limbo (2019, 25 mins, Marvin & Wayne). Premiere: Sheffield Doc/Fest
Trees Tropiques (2009, 30 mins, Berkeley Media). Premiere: Cannes Short Film Corner
Target Intimacy: Notes on the Convergence of the Militarization and Marketization of Love in Colombia, Current Anthropology, 2019
Uploading the News after Coming Down from the Mountain: The FARC's Uncanny Experiment with Online Television, in Cuba, International Journal of Communication, 2017
Hostile Remixes on YouTube, A New Constraint on Pro-FARC Counterpublics, American Ethnologist, 2014
Reinventing Documentary, Public Books, 2013
Facebook: Corporate Hackers, A Billion Users, and the Geo-Politics of the "Social Graph", Anthropological Quarterly, 2012