Gender, memory and violence in Peru – 1

Salazar_Peru_071709, originally uploaded by CLACS – NYU.

Between the years of 1980 and 2000 more than 60,000 Peruvians were murdered and/or disappeared as a result of a bloody internal war started by the guerrilla movement Shining Path. My current research is focused on the testimonials collected by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission given by women affected by the conflict. The main objective of my research project is to explore the crossings between gender and violence in the personal narratives of Peruvian women after those years of terror.
Since my arrival to Lima, I have conducted research at the holdings of Centro de Documentación para la memoria colectiva (Lima, Peru) consulting the transcriptions of thousands of testimonials given to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This Archive holds more than 16,000 testimonials and is organized by geographical location, so I decided to focus on the areas most affected by the conflict as Ayacucho, Apurimac and Huancavelica.

This part of my research has revealed some perverted gender relations during the conflict. The bodies of the Peruvian women were used as a battle camp not just by the Shining Path but also by the Peruvian Army which was supposed to protect the population. In my final report, I will present some of the techniques used by the Shining Path and the Army to develop a strategy of terror.

The next weeks I will continue the research at the Centro de Información, visit the photographic exhibition Yuyanapaq located at the National Museum, and also research some periodical publications at the National Library. The objective of this section will be to explore the configuration of the politics of memory in Peru.

Claudia Salazar
PhD Candidate, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

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