Guest Lecture: Dr. Carwil Bjork James

The Sovereign Street: How Bolivian Protesters Carried out a Revolution

Thursday, September 14, 2023
Event Time 01:00 p.m. - 03:00 p.m. PT
Cost Free
Location LIB 286
Contact Email


Anthropology Department Presents a Guest Lecture

The Sovereign Street: How Bolivian Protesters Carried Out a Revolution

Dr. Carwil Bjork-James

This talk offers an inside story of Bolivia's twenty-first century revolution, in which hundreds of thousands of people acted together to turn back neoliberal policies, overthrow two presidents, and reclaim spaces of the city and parts of the state for Bolivia's indigenous majority.

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My focus is on campaigns on mass protest that disrupted the economy while bringing massive numbers of people into the streets. I look inside urban and rural strikes, road blockades, hunger strike campaigns, and mass protests that claimed urban squares and ask how and why they had such a dramatic impact.

The talk introduces The Sovereign Street, an ethnography of urban protest based on the year of interviewing protest participants, attending mass protests, and engaging with grassroots movements.

Carwil Bjork-James is a cultural anthropologist who conducts immersive and historical research on disruptive protest, environmental struggles, state violence, and indigenous collective rights. He is the principal investigator of Ultimate Consequences, a digital archive on death in Bolivian political conflict, and author of The Sovereign Street: Making Revolution in Urban Bolivia. He is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and of Law at Vanderbilt University.

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