Professor Beatriz Manz was born in rural southern Chile. She obtained her university studies in the United States. The ethnographic research for her PhD in Social Anthropology was based on fieldwork in the highlands of Guatemala. Her Latin American roots have shaped much of her framework and research interest in rural communities. The focus of her research has remained contemporary Mayan communities in Guatemala. Her book Refugees of a Hidden War: the Aftermath of Counterinsurgency in Guatemala examined the displacement and human rights abuses committed by the Guatemalan military against indigenous rural communities in the highlands and rainforest, as well as in the refugee camps in the Mexican Lacandón region. Her latest book, Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror and Hope (University of California Press, 2004) details the experiences of a village deep in the northern rainforest of Guatemala next to Chiapas, Mexico.
Prof. Manz has had a long-term interest in human rights and justice and has been involved with several international, governmental and non-governmental institutions, such as the UNHCR, UNDP, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Center for Justice and Accountability. She testified before the U.S. Congress about human rights abuses in Guatemala, and has written opinion pieces for the New York Times and other publications. She has been involved in court asylum cases as an expert witness. She appeared at the Audiencia Nacional (Spain’s National Court) to provide expert testimony in the Guatemala Genocide case in 2008.
She was the Chair of Berkeley’s Center for Latin American Studies from 1993-1998, where she remains active. Prof. Manz was Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies from 2006-2009.
Human rights, Latin America, migrations, peasantry, political/social/ethnic conflict, social movements.