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The Aftermath of the Shining Path: Memory, Violence, and Politics in Peru

10:00 AM to 5:00 PM // Thursday, February 11, 2016 // 3201 Hart Hall
When Feb 11, 2016
from 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Where 3201 Hart Hall
Contact Name
Contact Phone 530-752-3046
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International Conference on the Aftermath of the Shining Path: Memory, Violence, and Politics in Peru

The UC Davis Hemispheric Institute on the Americas will hold an all-day conference on the Shining Path guerrilla movement in Peru on February 11.

The conference brings together renowned scholars, archivists, and journalists to discuss the vicious war that stretched from 1980 to 1992 and its aftermath. Led by Abimael Guzmán or Presidente Gonzalo, the Maoist Shining Path began in Ayacucho in the highlands and spread throughout much of the country. Both their tactics as well as the response by the Peruvian military were brutal, resulting in over 70,000 dead and hundreds of thousands forced to flee. Indigenous peasants bore the brunt of this violence and displacement.

Building on the 2003 report of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, analysts have begun to piece together how this movement emerged and why the violence escalated. Recent memoirs, local analyses, and explorations in "memory studies" have enriched this process and fostered much debate. The conference features the authors of many of these key works.

The conflict still casts a long shadow on Peru and the nation remains divided. For example, many have celebrated the recent inauguration of the commemoration site, the Lugar de la Memoria, la Tolerancia y la Inclusión Social (The Place for Memory, Tolerance, and Social Inclusion), while others have demanded its closing. This conference seeks to contribute to the passionate discussions taking place in Peru and beyond about violence, memory, and justice. 


List of presenters:

Gustavo Gorriti, an investigative journalist whose work on the Shining Path, drug trafficking, and corruption have earned him honors which include a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University; the Maria Moors Cabot Prize of Columbia University; and the International Press Freedom Award of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Lurgio Gavilán, whose recently published memoirs, When Rains Became Floods (Memorias de un soldado desconocido), retells his fascinating life as a child soldier for the Shining Path. Subsequently, he became a soldier, a Franciscan priest, and anthropologist. When Rains Became Floods (Duke University Press) is currently being made into a movie.

José Carlos Agüero, recently published Los rendidos, which explores his childhood as the son of two Shining Path members, both killed. It has been very well received in Peru, prompting broad discussions about the period, memory, and tolerance. Available as an ebook from the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.

Ruth Borja, the former director of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Archive, she is also a professor of history at San Marcos University. She has conducted extensive research in Ayacucho and has been a consultant on truth commissions and archives.

Ricardo Caro, a researcher at the Catholic University in Lima, Caro has published widely on the Shining Path, particularly in the Huancavelica region. He edited the 2014 dossier published by IFEA, Los Claroscuros del Conflicto Armado y sus representaciones en Perú.

Renzo Aroni, a Ph.D. student in history at UC Davis, Aroni has written on violence and its aftermath in Peru. He has edited No hay mañana sin ayer. Batallas por la memoria y consolidación democrática en el Perú and De Víctimas a Ciudadanos: Memorias de la Violencia Política en Comunidades de la Cuenca del Río Pampas.


List of moderators:

  • Stefano Varese, Emeriti Faculty of Native American Studies, UC Davs
  • Zoila Mendoza, Professor and Chair of Native American Studies
  • Chuck Walker, Professor of History and Director of Hemispheric Institute on the Americas



Gustavo Gorriti's 3 p.m. keynote address, "Ultra-Capitalists and Crypto-Communists: Drug Trafficking and the Shining Path since the 1990s" will be in English. The other presentations will be in Spanish with discussion in English and Spanish. This conference is open to the public--no registration is required.

Download the Conference Poster & Schedule


The Conference was featured by:

  • Davis Humanities Institute: read here.
  • Institute for Social Sciences: read here.


The Hemispheric Institute greatly appreciates the generous support for this conference from:

                The Davis Humanities Institute

                Institute for Social Sciences

                Department of History

                Native American Studies Department

                Department of Political Science

                Department of Spanish & Portuguese

                Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas

                The Human Rights Program

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The Hemispheric Institute on the Americas is an interdisciplinary group bringing together faculty and graduate students that focus on the study of transnational processes in the American Hemisphere.

Our Goal includes promoting research to challenge the boundaries of disciplinary specialization and culture area studies, exploring the connections throughout the social, cultural, and economic landscape of the Western Hemisphere from an array of perspective and redirecting and redefining the study of Latin America from a broadly hemispheric viewpoint.

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Contact Us

Robert Irwin, Interim Director Stephanie L. Ivory, Program Coordinator 

Phone: 530-752-3046
Fax: 530-752-5655 

Undergraduate Advising

Schedule your appointment with a staff advisor today! Be sure to select "Latin Amer & Hemispheric Std (Minor) (Economics, History, EAS)" 

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