Kroc Institute Visiting Research Fellow
The 2016 peace accords between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government are among the most gender-conscious in the world, the result of years of concerted efforts by women and feminist activists. But how are those activists experiencing the accord's implementation in their everyday lives, and how do their visions of peace diverge from the vision evinced by even this most gender-inclusive agreement? As the accords are implemented and women peacebuilders join the task of constructing a new society, what direction will the women’s and feminist movement take? How will it be influenced by the demobilization of thousands of women combatants, and to what extent will its vision of a holistic, comprehensive peace be heard by Colombian society as it struggles to free itself from conflict?
Paarlberg-Kvam's work at the Kroc Institute and this lecture will be based on her 2016 doctoral dissertation, a multi-method feminist ethnography of three networks of women’s peace organizations founded in Colombia in the mid-1990s: Ruta Pacífica de Mujeres, the Movimiento Social de Mujeres Contra la Guerra y Por la Paz, and the Red de Mujeres del Caribe Colombiano. In the dissertation, Paarlberg-Kvam shows that by directing both material and symbolic claims at the structural foundations of armed conflict, women’s peace activism has cultivated a unifying, counterhegemonic social movement voice in the country. As peace is challenged from the right, women peace activists are poised to critically affect the direction of the post-accords society as they move into the aperture in public discourse opened by the demobilization of the FARC-EP.