Diseased Landscapes: Exploring the Entanglements between Leishmaniasis and Coca Cultivation in (Post)Conflict Rural Colombia

Project status


This project brings together interdisciplinary expertise from the UK and Colombia to explore how the nexus of agricultural extractivism and political conflict affect environmental and human health. Specifically, it addresses the relationship between illegal coca cultivation and the unsteady state of post(conflict) in Colombia through an examination of the political geographies of cutaneous leishmaniasis — a skin disease transmitted by sandflies that thrive in areas of coca production. By investigating how coca growers, harvesters and eradicators experience leishmaniasis, this seeks to do two things. First, it explores the material, sociopolitical and biological conditions of disease in areas characterised by (post)conflict, illicit economies, irregular mobility and extreme inequality. Second, it uses leishmaniasis as an entry point to develop community-specific policy recommendations to address environmental and human health as conditions for a sustainable transition from war to peace.

Research team

Dr Javier Lezaun, University of Oxford; Dr Ann Horton Kelly, King's College London; Professor Diana Ojeda, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

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