Skip to main content

Diana Valencia Duarte


Diana M. Valencia-Duarte (she/her) has an MSc in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture and is currently concluding a PhD in History at the University of Exeter, UK. Her current research is centred on the environmental history of food sovereignty in Colombian peasantries, reviewing impacts on food culture and agroecosystems resulting from the practical resolution of Agrarian Reforms and counter-reforms in Los Montes de Maria, the Coffee Axis, and Santurbán moorlands. Her work aims to be decolonial and of practical impact, being inspired by ‘histories from below’ and Critical Agrarian Studies, and has been built bottom-up with peoples in their territories.


Project webpage


We Are All Peasants by Nature: Depeasantising Experiences and Repeasantisation Strategies in Los Montes de María and the Santurbán páramo, Colombia


The Caribbean montemariano and High Andean paramuno peasantries of Colombia, despite their cultural and geographical disparit ies, have shared similar resistance strategies against similar forms of depeasantisation since the middle of the twentieth century. This paper compares these two differing peasantries for the first time to cross-analyse both the nature of depeasantisations in these regions and the re-peasantising potential of community-based resistance approaches and narratives. Common re-peasantising strategy narratives include recovering historical memories, rebuilding relationships with ancestral lands and traditions, and adopting/developing origin-based identities. Methodologically, this research draws from Environmental History with an emphasis on oral history, not only by taking the peasant landscape as an historical subject but also by highlighting the co-evolution of peoples and their territories through both conservation and agrarian production. Peasants’ oral testimonies form the primary evidential body; however, depeasantisation has additionally been traced through other historical sources that shed light on the re al impacts on the territory, confirming or clarifying the origin of collective memories. This also revealed understandings of what makes a ‘peasant’ and when/how ‘peasantness’ could be lost or recovered – in the peasantries’ own terms and based on their own practices. Thus, the findings presented in this paper contribute to a better understanding of depeasantisation and repeasantisation from the peasant historical memory and the environmental and social impacts of agrarian policies. It also speaks to the potential for research leading to closer exchanges of saberes (ancestral wisdom knowledges) and know-hows between montemariano and paramuno peasantries, aiming to address common problematics.


Affiliation: University of Exeter, UK