Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Joe Rollins

Committee Members

Alyson Cole

Paisley Currah

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | Gender and Sexuality | Latin American Studies | Political Theory


gender, queer, Colombia, Latin America, law, indigenous


In a study of Colombian politics, I use a queer theoretical lens to explore the relationship between the state and two specific indigenous groups from Northern Colombia to better understand the state and power relations embedded in it. I look for queer temporalities, spaces, and nonnormative practices that arise out of how the law interrogates and interacts with indigenous people using a queer theoretical lens as a critical methodology. I argue that the Colombian state's interactions with indigenous groups create queer spaces/conceptual borders, particularly with regard to law and the state's ability to biopolitically regulate its citizens. It is within these spaces, where the state fails to capture its own people or where it chooses not to, or where contemporary law clashes with cultural practices, that there is a wealth of political information that helps us to understand better the Colombian state and the power relations embedded in it. I study two specific and regionally-based indigenous groups located on the Northern Caribbean coast of Colombia: descendants of the Tayrona located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and their neighbors, the Wayuu, from the La Guajira region. As I queer these groups’ interactions with the Colombian state as a way to understand Colombian state politics better, I narrow my study of the interaction to three specific facets: indigenous concepts of time and modernity, population/identity accounting, and regulation and interpretation of sexual events.

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