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The Changing Nature of Democracy in 20th-century Colombia


Professor A. Ricardo López-Pedreros of WWU’s History Department will provide an overview of his new book on the changing nature of democracy in 20th-century Colombia. He will explore how the Colombian middle class created a model of democracy based on free-market ideologies, private property rights, material inequality, and an emphasis on a masculine work culture. This model, which naturalized class and gender hierarchies, provided the groundwork for Colombia's later adoption of neoliberalism and inspired the emergence of alternate models of democracy and social hierarchies in the 1960s and 1970s that helped foment political radicalization. By highlighting the contested relationships between class, gender, economics, and politics, López-Pedreros theorizes democracy as a historically unstable practice that exacerbated multiple forms of domination, thereby prompting a rethinking of the formation of democracies throughout the Americas. López-Pedreros is Associate Professor of History at WWU. He is author of "Makers of Democracy: A Transnational History of the Middle Classes in Colombia." This talk is offered as part of the Western Libraries Reading Series, dedicated to showcasing the scholarly and creative work of faculty and staff who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching at Western. For more information, please contact Michael Taylor,, 360-650-3097.