When Words Fail: Exploring Embodied Memory in Peru


My dissertation examines state-sponsored memory spaces in Peru as well as vernacular or “unofficial” memorials that commemorate the internal armed conflict (1980-2000), paying special attention to remembrance practices outside of the capital. With the support of a Tinker Research Grant, I was able to return to Peru after several years away and perform in-person interviews with activists, artists, academics, and family members of the disappeared as well as participant observation at several events, archives, and museums. My visit was divided between Ayacucho and Lima. Although my time there was relatively brief, I was reminded of the importance of situated experiences and conversations, especially as they facilitate ongoing collaborations (both in-person and virtual). This preliminary research provided valuable insight into contemporary debates surrounding sites of commemoration, leading me to focus on a particular coalition of human rights organizations that are working to convert a mass grave into a sanctuary for the disappeared.

Publication date: 
November 16, 2021
Publication type: 
Student Research