Institut des Hautes Etudes de l'Amérique latine
Centre de recherche et de documentation sur les Amériques

Cultures of Paramilitarism in Latin America

Joshua Lund

What is paramilitarism? What is its relation to the political and ideological formation of the modern world? And what is its historical role in forging a basic cultural politics of Latin America? This course pursues these questions, and problematizes possible answers, along three methodological lines.  First we will read and discuss a short corpus that will introduce us to some of the conceptual work implied by paramilitarism, namely by focusing on the political-philosophical problems that reside at the center of paramilitary practice: the quadrangular relation between sovereign right, violent force, political space and free-market democracy. Second, we will read a selection of case studies from various disciplines and forms of representation—e.g. journalism, political science, critical theory, film, etc—that deal with aspects of the history and aesthetics of paramilitarism in the Americas.  Finally, the students will take charge of the course by introducing the ways in which paramilitary discourse inhabits their own work.