CANCELLED: Borderland Battles: Violence, Crime, and Governance at the Edges of Colombia's War

Annette Idler

Visiting Scholar, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

March 18, 2020 12:00PM E40-496 (Pye Room)


Annette Idler will discuss the findings of her timely new book, Borderland Battles: Violence, Crime, and Governance at the Edges of Colombia’s War, published by Oxford University Press in 2019. The post-cold war era has seen an unmistakable trend toward the proliferation of violent non-state groups-variously labeled terrorists, rebels, paramilitaries, gangs, and criminals-near borders in unstable regions especially. Applying a "borderland lens" to security dynamics, in Borderland Battles, Annette Idler examines the micro-dynamics among violent non-state groups and finds striking patterns: borderland spaces consistently intensify the security impacts of how these groups compete for territorial control, cooperate in illicit cross-border activities, and replace the state in exerting governance functions. Drawing on extensive fieldwork with more than 600 interviews in and on the shared borderlands of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, where conflict is ripe and crime thriving, Idler reveals how dynamic interactions among violent non-state groups produce a complex security landscape with ramifications for order and governance, both locally and beyond.


Dr Annette Idler is Visiting Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. She is also the Director of Studies of the Changing Character of War Centre, Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, and at the Department of Politics and International Relations, all University of Oxford. Dr Idler’s work focuses on the interface of conflict, security, and transnational organized crime. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in and on conflict-affected regions (Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Somalia, Myanmar), including more than 600 interviews with local stakeholders. Dr Idler is Principal Investigator of the Conflict Platform Project and of CONPEACE. Dr Idler is the author of Borderland Battles: Violence, Crime, and Governance at the Edges of Colombia’s War (Oxford University Press, 2019), and co-editor of Transforming the War on Drugs: Warriors, Victims, and Vulnerable Regions (Hurst, forthcoming). She has published numerous articles in the field of conflict and organised crime. Dr Idler advises governments and international organizations, she is a regular expert for internationally renowned media outlets. She holds a doctorate from the Department of International Development and St Antony's College, University of Oxford, an MA in International Relations from King’s College London’s Department of War Studies, and a double BA in German-Spanish Studies/International Politics from Complutense University Madrid, Spain, and Regensburg University, Germany.