Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Latin American Studies Program


Jennifer A. Yoder

Second Advisor

Saul Sandoval

Third Advisor

Liv Stone


Graffiti in Latin America is often political. This thesis considers the political graffiti found at la Universidad Nacional (UNAL) in Bogotá, Colombia. Unlike many other nations in the region, Colombia has not experienced the same political history of repressive dictatorships. As a result, the current literature on political graffiti does not cover the outlier case of Colombia. This research uses survey responses from and interviews with students at UNAL in order to better understand what the graffiti says and how it impacts students at the university. Moreover, this thesis seeks to answer why political graffiti persists at UNAL despite attempts by the Colombian government to open up the political system to new actors. There are three categories of graffiti – radical, nationalist, and reformist – that are the most dominant on campus. While institutional reforms from 1985 to 2003 serve as a partial explanation for why political graffiti persists, it seems that other explanations such as student culture, public space, protest politics, and identity production are also important to consider.


graffiti, protest, students

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