University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
March 7, 2011
Contact: Joy Crawford-Washington, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6211

USA Presents 2011 Howard F. Mahan Lecture

Dr. Mary Roldan Dr. Mary Roldan, The Dorothy Epstein Professor of Latin American History at Hunter College, City University of New York, will be the guest lecturer for the 2011 University of South Alabama Howard F. Mahan Lecture Series to be held on Thursday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“Professor Roldan’s research makes it clear that the nexus between violence and authoritarian rule is not unique to the modern Middle East,” said USA History Chair Dr. Clarence Mohr. “Her work on Colombia calls attention to the importance of human rights in our own hemisphere. For those interested in the problem of public authority in developing societies, this year’s Mahan Lecture should prove both timely and relevant.”

Roldan will lecture at USA on “Mobilizing the Airwaves: Radio, Violence, and Persuasion in Colombia, 1944-1962.”
                       Dr. Mary Roldan

Roldan earned her doctorate from Harvard and came to Hunter College from Cornell University.

“My research and publications have focused on issues of violence, state formation, regional politics, drug trafficking, the rise of illicit armed groups, grassroots peace initiatives and citizen activism in Colombia,” Roldan said.

Her book “Blood and Fire: La Violencia in Antioquia, Colombia,” examined the mid-twentieth century civil war known as “La Violencia,” in which an estimated 200,000 Colombians died and between one and two million people suffered internal displacement and/or loss of property.

Roldan has examined the emergence and impact of urban violence related to industrial decline, the political and social exclusion of slum communities, and the rise of the drug trade in Medellin. She has also done research on the Colombian state’s response to non-violent citizen activism and grassroots initiatives aimed at arriving at a negotiated solution to violence in areas characterized by the long-standing presence of illicit armed groups.

Roldan is currently working on a book manuscript “Broadcast Nation: Radio, Politics and Culture in Colombia, 1930-1962,” which examines the role of commercial and state-run radio in shaping public opinion, politics, debates about national culture, and citizen activism in twentieth century Colombia.

She has presented conference papers and published essays in Colombia and the United States. In addition, Roldan is a member of the editorial board of “Historia Critica,” “The History Journal of the Universidad de los Andes” and the publications and research project evaluation committees of the Banco De la Republica in Bogota, Colombia.

Roldan has written about Colombia and Antioquia. She has also been interviewed about Colombian events by National Public Radio, The Associated Press, The Miami Herald, Community Radio of Ithaca, New York, The San Francisco Chronicle, World News BBC, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post and numerous other international broadcast and print mediums.

She also provides pro-bono testimony on contemporary Colombian conditions for Human Rights violations and political asylum cases.


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