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4 Field Colloquium Series: "What There is to Fear: Reflections on work with Colombians in Ecuador"

Lisa Stevenson
Monday, March 27, 2017
3:00-5:00 PM
411 West Hall Map
Our 4 Field Colloquium series presents speakers from the four fields of anthropology on new and topical interests in the field.

"What there is to fear” is how a taxi driver friend put it. That is, in different worlds “what there is to fear” shifts. It’s a dark definition of a world—a universe of possible/shared fears. For instance, in Ecuador’s Amazon, snakes are one thing there is to fear, and travelling by canoe to a community three hours down the Bobonaza river, I watched every stick to see if it would turn into a boa. But in metropolitan Quito, among Colombian refugees, other Colombians are what there is to fear: paramilitaries, decommissioned guerillas or extortionists that cross the border to exact a price—in blood, pain or money. Yet, in therapeutic encounters several refugees I know were told they suffered from persecution anxiety and that the face of the killer they saw across the market stall was most probably just another Ecuadorean face. “Do you think I could forget the face of the man who killed my brother?” a Colombian refugee asks me accusingly. It’s as if the therapist is calling her world, a world, delineated by fear, into question. How does fear work to create and break human kinship--or what Sahlins has called the mutuality of being--and what I am calling a world? How do we understand the communicability of fear and its potential to create unliveable worlds, or worlds where there is very little mutuality of being? How do we maintain any sense of the mutuality of being in the face of great fear?"
Building: West Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: AEM Featured, Anthropology
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of Anthropology