Western Washington University Associate Professor of History A. Ricardo López-Pedreros will provide an overview of his new book on the changing nature of democracy in 20th-Century Colombia at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 9 in Western Libraries Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th Floor).
This event is free and open to the public.
During his talk, López-Pedreros will trace the ways in which a thriving middle class was understood to be a foundational marker of democracy in Colombia during the second half of the twentieth century. He will show how the Colombian middle class created a model of democracy based on free-market ideologies, private property rights, material inequality, and an emphasis on a masculine work culture.
This model, which naturalized class and gender hierarchies, provided the groundwork for Colombia's later adoption of neoliberalism and inspired the emergence of alternate models of democracy and social hierarchies in the 1960s and 1970s that helped foment political radicalization.
By highlighting the contested relationships between class, gender, economics, and politics, López-Pedreros theorizes democracy as a historically unstable practice that exacerbated multiple forms of domination, thereby prompting a rethinking of the formation of democracies throughout the Americas.
López-Pedreros is the author of "Makers of Democracy: A Transnational History of the Middle Classes in Colombia" (Duke University Press) and coeditor of "The Making of the Middle Class: Toward a Transnational History," also published by Duke. He is currently vice president for the United Faculty of Western Washington (UFWW).
This special talk is offered as part of the Western Libraries Reading Series, which is dedicated to showcasing the scholarly and creative work of faculty and staff who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching at Western. For more information about this event, please contact Michael Taylor, Michael.Taylor@wwu.edu, 360-650-3097.