European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 109, january-june 2020.
Elusive justice. Women, land rights, and Colombia’s transition to peace,
by Donny Meertens, The University of Wisconsin Press, 2019.
Imagine yourself as a female victim of violence in rural Colombia: Your hus- band or
father murdered, you and your family displaced by armed actors and dispossessed of the
land you cultivated for a living. Imagine yourself as a young widow having to move with
your children to a foreign urban setting af- ter such a displacement or being forced to sell
your plot of land because the judges gave you a land title with a long-gone partner in an
area without social support networks. Those are the experiences Donny Meertens describes
in her important book on gender equity, land rights and war reparations in rural Co- lombia.
She wonderfully sheds light on the often invisible role of peasant women and land
ownership and succeeds in highlighting the legacies of war and possible trajectories
towards the future.