The Political Violence and its Legacies workshop presents:
Dr. Richard Kernaghan, University of Florida: “Between Twilights: on the political prehistory of counter-insurgency efforts in Peru’s Upper Huallaga Valley.”
Dr. Richard Kernaghan is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida. He is an ethnographer of political-legal communities and events. Dr. Kernaghan’s research examines aftermaths of war and the everyday experience of law in state frontiers where (counter)insurgency and illicit economies overlap. His first book Coca’s Gone (Stanford, 2009) is an ethnography of a post-cocaine boom in a region of Central Peru known as the Upper Huallaga Valley; it reflects on how local narratives of a violent past bear the traces of law-making processes at the margins of the state. It also explores the potential of ethnographic writing to convey the visceral ambience of threat-laden worlds. Currently, he is working on a second, companion monograph—titled Semblance in Terrain: legal topographies and aftermaths of war—which draws on oral histories, photographs, video, storytelling as well as fieldwork encounters to document shifting patterns of rural mobility following the defeat of the Maoist Shining Path. Rural landscapes of the Upper Huallaga have been materially refigured but also affectively transformed in the wake of war. This project asks how the transition to that postwar era can be grasped aesthetically through the subtle but deliberate ways people mark off territory as they craft everyday itineraries between town and country.