Lilian Paola Ovalle

Lilian Paola Ovalle (Doctor in Global Development Studies from the UABC) is a full-time professor-researcher, in the career of Psychology (FCAYS) at the Autonomous University of Baja California. She has specialized in the analysis of the social damage caused by anti-drug policies. Scholar of narco-culture and social violence associated with drug trafficking networks. Since 2013, she has been part of the collective project "RECO: memory and social forgetfulness in places of extermination", a project that had the support of the CONACYT 2015-2018 Basic Science call. She is currently studying memory processes of narco-violence and community pacification experiences managed by victims' collectives in Mexico. She belongs to the National System of Researchers, Level 1.

Personal website:

 Publications and audiovisual pieces

In co-authorship with Alfonso Diaz Tovar, she has published the books “Premature Memory. A decade of war in Mexico and the commemoration of its victims ” (UABC, 2019. In press); "RECO. Community art in a place of Memory ”. (UABC, 2016). Author of the books Fatten the vein. Practices and speeches of injection drug users in Mexicali. (UABC, UPN 2009), Between Indifference and demonization. University students and their representation of drug trafficking (UABC, 2007) and “Muros: restricted codes. Graffiti in Mexicali (UABC, 2005).

She has also published the book chapters Ellipsis: Collaborative Construction of a Memory Artifact? In online book: "Urgent Looks: Subjects, Aesthetics, and Memories in Contemporary Latin American Documentary". Eds. Gordillo, Claudia and Mejía, Afra. Barcelona: Editorial Foc. RevLat. Latin American Visual Studies Network and Kunst in Zeitendes Terrors. Erfahrungen am Ort eines Narco- Massengrabs. In: “Terror Zones. Gewalt und Gegenwehr in Lateinamerika ”. Coordinated by Huffschmid, Anne, et al. Berlin: Assoziation A. pp. 102-118. 2015 And the refereed article Thinking memory from the border. Memory, reconstruction, and reconciliation in the case of the pozolero. Vol. 12, No. 1, Fall 2014, 278-300. University of North Carolina. USES.

Products of her research work are the short documentaries that she has directed together with Alfonso Díaz Tovar: “Ellipsis” (2015), which received, among others, the recognition as the best Mexican documentary short at the ZANATE festival and Footnote (2014), which received recognition as the best documentary short at the DOCS DF festival. With Ellipsis she also won first place in the National VideoFest 2016 Experimental Video Contest and first place in the LASA 2017 documentary film festival.


Research project as a fellow of CALAS

Title: Premature memory. Remembrance and reparation in contexts of social violence

Abstract: In Mexico, the relatives of the victims, in a self-managed, horizontal, reticular way, with no or little mediation from the State and with little academic support, have been the main actors of memory, peace, and collective reparation. Based on this premise, in this project, 10 cases of memory recovery and construction of peaceful forms of coexistence are analyzed and monitored, which are being configured as a community based on the trauma of the massacre and/or disappearance, throughout the Mexican territory.

In this project, I designate the process of incipient configuration of these places of memory and social mourning, in the midst of conflict and horror, as premature experiences of memory recovery and I propose a project with a creative and horizontal methodological approach, in which side by side with the families of the victims and members of the communities affected by narco-violence, a fundamental knowledge can be built for its consolidation and strengthening. Are these places living archives of the traumatic experience of this violent period in Mexico? Through what visual and aesthetic narratives do these groups represent and communicate horror? What are the meanings of resistance and reparation that victims' groups give to commemoration practices? What is the affective genealogy of these self-managed and reticular experiences of peacebuilding and reparation managed by the victims? These are the questions that are intended to be answered in this project.