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As part of a transnational politicization of everyday life during the 1960s and 1970s in Colombia, many professionals and white-collar employees experienced a radical political change and social awakening in their lives. Although connected with developmental programs such as the Alliance for Progress, they began to question their political identifications as middle-class in an effort to redefine what they thought their role should be in a revolutionary society. This presentation discusses these experiences as a question of memory. It shows how professionals and white-collar workers sought—consciously and unconsciously—to remember a radicalized past in order to define themselves as a gendered petit bourgeoisie in the present. It also traces a political genealogy for those memories within the Left to show how such a genealogy played a pivotal yet forgotten role in the political execution of José Raquel Mercado, a working-class Black leader, by the guerrilla M-19 in 1976. 

A.Ricardo López-Pedreros is Professor of History at Western Washington University (USA). He is currently Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at the Institute of the Americas--UCL. He the author of Makers of Democracy: A Transnational History of the Middle Classes in Colombia (Duke University Press, 2019). He is coeditor of The Making of the Middle Class: Toward a Transnational History (Duke University Press, 2012) and The Middle Classes in Latin America: Subjectivities, Practices, and Genealogies (Routledge, Forthcoming). Professor López-Pedreros is the editor of Social Movements in the Americas series (Rowman &Littlefield/Lexington books). He is currently working on two book monographs, a biography of the Colombian sociologist Gabriel Restrepo and a history of domination in Colombia during the second half of the twentieth century.


All welcome – This event is free, but booking is required.

Details on how to join this session will be sent to all registered attendees 24 hours in advance.  Booking will therefore close the day before the scheduled date.