|Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict (Umbrage, 2012) documents Colombia’s internal armed conflict. This book focuses on human rights and on the struggle of Colombian civilians to resist the violence, often at great risk to their own lives.
The title Violentology refers to the brilliant school of Colombian sociologists known as ‘los Violentologos’, who study political violence and civil war. The historian Dr. Gonzalo Sánchez writes the introduction. María Teresa Ronderos, columnist of Semana and founder of the ground-breaking investigative site, verdadabierta.com, contributes a closing essay about the possibility of peace in her country. Text by the author is based on interviews and observation; and on research by Colombian journalists and prosecutors, and by Human Rights Watch. Max Schoening contributed valuable assistance as an investigator.
This tabloid-size book is designed to engage the sense of touch as well as sight, in reference to the act of reading a newspaper. Violentology was printed on the rotary press of the legendary Bogotá daily, El Espectador, which became world-famous after Pablo Escobar bombed the newspaper’s offices in 1989. This press uses a prize-winning “heat-set” process, which bakes soy-based ink hard onto the page. The paper is 70 gram weight “Bulky” newspaper stock. The presence of several images by Colombian news photographers further grounds this work in the tradition of press photography.
The production of this book is supported by the Tim Hetherington Grant, awarded by World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch in honor of Tim Hetherington, a brilliant documentary photographer killed in 2011 while covering the Libyan revolution. Distribution of the work is supported by an Audience Engagement Grant from the Open Society Institute.
The LightBox site of TIME.com produced a video that speaks to the material dimension of Violentology, as a physical product printed on a heavy porous paper and sewn by hand.
Many thanks to Neil Harris and the team at TIME.com for such an elegant and careful work.