Following Dammed Rivers: A multi-sited ethnography of rivers with large dams in Colombia

PhD Project

I am researching human-river relations, rural occupations, and inequalities in the friction of multiple crises such as biodiversity decline, armed violence, and water grabbing. At the same time, my research portrays the persistence of ribereños (riverine dwellers) in working, dreaming, and transforming their rivers and realities in Colombia.

I am one of the 7 PhD positions granted by the Water Security for Whom? (W4W) project. W4W investigates in/equalities in water security across the water-energy-food nexus focusing on the case of multipurpose reservoirs in Colombia. For that purpose, I was set with the mission to develop an ethnography of everyday life in rivers with large dams.

I have carried out ethnographic work in the Magdalena River Basin in Colombia, considered the country’s most important basin. I navigate the basin at two points: The Alto Magdalena region in southern Colombia, and up north in the Sogamoso River, one tributary stream of the Magdalena River.

There, I follow artisanal fishers, boat drivers, fish farmers, fish rescuers, and peasants, among others. Together with them, I am learning about transformations in local environmental knowledge and livelihood practices in regions dominated by extractivist development and armed conflict legacies.

For my research, I closely collaborate with colleagues from different disciplines at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia) and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil). Overall, W4W is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation as part of the initiative “Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives on Social Inequality”.



Los pescadores del río Magdalena ‘navegan’ olas de amenazas y atentados

A free translation of the title: “The fishermen of the Magdalena River ‘navigate’ waves of threats and attacks”

Research Insights: Women Defenders of Rivers raised their Voices in Colombia

First co-organized a public event for this initiative to highlight the role of riverine women in Colombia.