Pilar Riaño-Alcalá (PhD in Anthropology) is a professor at the School of Social Work and the Institute for Social Justice, and faculty fellow in residence at the Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Canada. She is also a researcher with the Colombian Commission of Historical Memory, working for the last four years in documenting emblematic cases of war related to violence in Colombia (gender violence, forced displacement, massacres, land grabbing). Pilar has also led the development of a methodological strategy and resource material for the documentation of historical memory in zones of armed conflict and from a victim-centred perspective. She has trained memory workers, researchers and academics on these methodologies in Colombia, Uganda and Canada.
Pilar’s scholarly work is primarily concerned with three broad themes: the lived experience of violence and displacement, the politics of memory, and the ethnography of social repair. Pilar’s work also explores how ideas of community are negotiated and contested in contemporary societies, and how individuals construct their memberships as citizens, community members, refugees, immigrants or across transnational borders through social struggles and creative processes. She is the author of Dwellers of Memory. Youth and Violence in Medellin, Colombia (Transaction Publishers, 2006), among many others articles and co-authored books and reports.