The Borders of Tropicality


  • Julián Gutiérrez Castaño York University



Internally Displaced Persons, Colombia, race, racialization, racialized geography, forced displacement, tropicality, critical race studies, rural vs urban


This article argues that the discourse of tropicality in Colombia creates boundaries and binaries between racialized and normative territories, rural peripheral areas and urban centres, and spaces that have been constructed as darker “barbaric” regions closer to sea level and whiter “civilized” regions in temperate altitudes. Nevertheless, there is nuance to the geographies of tropicality, because race is difficult to contain within urban/rural spaces. Additionally, race as a social construct that is permanently in the making, presents changes in space and time, challenging any static ideas of race in intersection with geography. In supporting the argument that the discourse of tropicality produces racialized spaces, this article addresses forced displacement and the racialization that takes place along with displacement, which implies the crossing of the “border” between the “tropics” and the cities; and how Afro-Colombians, Indigenous, and Mestiza campesinas challenge the ideas of tropicality by creating new geographies as they settle after displacement.


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Author Biography

Julián Gutiérrez Castaño, York University

PhD candidate in Human Geography and Teaching Assistant.



How to Cite

Gutiérrez Castaño, J. (2019). The Borders of Tropicality. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 35(1), 18–31.

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