Daniel Ruiz-Serna

Faculty Lecturer

Ph.D. McGill University, 2019

Office: Leacock 837

I am an anthropologist trained in three different countries (Colombia, Belgium, and Canada) currently working at the intersection of Indigenous ontologies, peace and conflict studies, and environmental justice. Ethnographically grounded in two of the most biodiverse places in the world –Northwest Amazon and the Chocó biogeographical region of Colombia– my research explores how war is an experience wherein suffering extends beyond the people, provoking a form of collective harm that is embodied by the other-than-human beings and the sentient places that compose the traditional territories of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples. Following the premise that war, just as everyday human life, is always a multispecies effort, I explore what justice means and how it can be achieved in regions where colonialism, state violence, and militarism entangle human and other-than-human lives in a shared vulnerability.

I am the author of When Forests Run Amok. War and its Afterlives in Afro-Colombian Territories, published in 2023 by Duke University Press. Drawing from more than eight years of partnership with grassroots organizations, the book describes the afterlives of war in Bajo Atrato, attending to armed conflict as an experience that resounds in the lives and deaths of people, animals, trees, rivers, and spirits.

I’m also the co-editor of Belicopedia (from Latin bellicus, meaning war; and Greek paideia, “education” or “learning”), an illustrated treatise that elucidates some violent episodes of the Colombian armed conflict through the standpoint of animals, plants, and infrastructures. This is an interdisciplinary project in which lawyers, geographers, biologists, and human rights activists discuss particular instances in which mud, avocado trees, mosquitoes, dogs, and landmines, to name a few, become simultaneously objects and agents of violence.

Other Representative Publications

2023. “Inside a Jaguar’s Jaws. On the Hybrid Afterlives of Warfare.” American Ethnologist 50 (3)

2023. “Indigenous Cosmopolitics and the Realm of Law. Indigenizing Transitional Justice in Colombia.” Cultural Politics 19 (1): 57-76

2015. “Threads of Life and Death: a photo essay on hunting and fishing in Northwest Amazonia.” Visual Anthropology Review 31 (1): 67-79

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