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Week 10: Transitional Justice and Memory

Transitional Justice and Memory

Primary Sources:

Peru: Abbreviated Truth Commission Report, Hatun Willakuy and Quipu Project

Argentina: Nunca Mas, 1984

Chile: Rettig Commission Report, 1990

Guatemalan Peace Accords, 1996

Torture in Brazil: A Shocking Report on the Pervasive Use of Torture by Brazilian Military Governments, 1964-1979 (ILAS Special Publication: Catholic Church Archdiocese of Sao Paulo et al, 1998)

Core readings:

Greg Grandin, “The Instruction of Great Catastrophe: Truth Commissions, National History and State Formation in Chile, Argentina and Guatemala,” American Historical Review, 110:1, 2005, 46-67.

Paige Arthur, 'How "Transitions" Reshaped Human Rights: A Conceptual History of Transitional Justice", Human Rights Quarterly 31:2 (2009), 321-367.


Cath Collins, Jemima Garcia Godos and Erin Sarkar, Transitional Justice in Latin America: The Uneven Road toward Accountability. London: Routeledge, 2016. (Introduction, Conclusion and a chapter on the country that interests you.)

Primary source activity:

Look at the MRC catalogue for the Amnesty archives on Guatemala and Argentina. Think about a potential essay title on the subject of transitional justice. How would you go about planning an archive visit to research for the essay?

Amnesty International Archive on Guatemala, 1999-2009. MRC.

Amnesty International Archive on Argentina, 2000-2011. MRC.

Thinking about public history (Practical Written Assignment):

Watch the 2017 film about the Peace Festival with activists from Peru and Colombia. How effective is it as a piece of public history?

Further Reading:

Roddy Brett. The Politics of Victimhood in Post-Conflict Societies. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Cath Collins, Jemima Garcia Godos and Erin Sarkar, Transitional Justice in Latin America: The Uneven Road toward Accountability. London: Routeledge, 2016.

Cath Collins. Post-Transitional Justice: Legal Strategies and Human Rights Trials in Chile and El Salvador. (University Park: PA: Pennsylvania State University, 2010)

Nina Schneider and Marcia Esparza (eds.) Legacies of State Violence and Transitional Justice in Latin America : A Janus-Faced Paradigm? Marcia Esparza, Lexington Books, 2015.

Rachel Sieder. Impunity in Latin America. 1996.


Laplante, Lisa J. "Memory Battles: Guatemala's Public Debates and the Genocide Trial of Jose Efrain Rios Montt." Quinnipiac Law Review (QLR), vol. 32, no. 3, 2014, pp. 621-674.

The Southern Cone:

Rebecca Atencio, Memory's Turn: Reckoning with Dictatorship in Brazil. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014.

Naomi Roht Arriaza, The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

Leigh A. Payne. Unsettling Accounts: Neither Truth Nor Reconciliation in Confessions of State Violence. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2008. Introduction and conclusion (Chapter Scan)

Roniger, Luis, and Mario Sznajder. The Legacy of Human-Rights Violations in the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Steve J. Stern. Reckoning with Pinochet: The Memory Question in Democratic Chile 1989-2006. Duke University Press, 2010.

Jose Zalaquett. “Balancing Ethical Imperatives and Political Constraints: The Dilemma of New Democracies Confronting Past Human Rights Violations.Hastings Law Journal, no. Issue 6, 1991, p. 1425.


Francine A’ness, “Resisting Amnesia: Yuyachkani, Performance, and the Postwar Reconstruction of Peru,” Theatre Journal 56 (2004): 395–414

Matthew Brown and Karen M. Tucker, 2017, ‘Unconsented Sterilisation, Participatory Story-Telling, and Digital Counter-Memory in Peru’. Antipode, vol 49., pp. 1186-1203.

Edward Chauca, “Mental Illness in Peruvian Narratives of Violence after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Latin American Research Review 51, no. 2 (2016): 67–85.

Joseph P. Feldman, “Exhibiting Conflict: History and Politics at the Museo de la Memoria de ANFASEP in Ayacucho,” Anthropological Quarterly 85, no. 2 (2012): 492-

Jocelyn Getgen, “Untold Truths: The Exclusion of the Enforced Sterilizations from the Peruvian Truth Commission’s Final Report,” Boston College Third World Law Journal 29, no. 1 (Winter 2009)

Eduardo González Cueva, “The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Challenge of Impunity,” in Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century, Beyond Truth Versus Justice, ed. Naomi Roht-Arriaza and Javier Mariezcurrena. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Anne Lambright, Andean Truths: Transitional Justice, Ethnicity, and Cultural Production in Post-Shining Path Peru. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2015.

Lisa Laplante, “The Peruvian Truth Commission’s Historical Memory Project: Empowering Truth-Tellers to Confront Truth Deniers,” Journal of Human Rights 6 (2007): 435.

Laplante, Lisa J., and Kimberly Theidon. '"Commissioning Truth, Constructing Silences: The Peruvian Truth Commission and the Other Truths of "Terrorists".' Mirrors of Justice: Law and Power in the Post-Cold War Era, edited by Kamari Maxine Clarke and Mark Goodale, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009, pp. 291–315.

Cynthia Milton, “At the Edge of the Peruvian Truth Commission: Alternative Paths to Recounting the Past,”Radical History Review 98 (Spring 2007): 14;

Cynthia Milton, “Defacing memory: (Un)tying Peru’s memory knots,” Memory Studies 4, no. 2: 190–205.

Thomas Pegram, “Accountability in Hostile Times: The Case of the Peruvian Human Rights Ombudsman 1996–2001,” Journal of Latin American Studies 40, no. 1 (2008): 51–82

Rebecca Root. Transitional Justice in Peru. 2012.

Margarita Saona. Memory Matters in Transitional Peru. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.

Kimberly Theidon, Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.

Some films and podcasts:

The Secret in Their Eyes. Dir. Juan José Campanella Argentina, 2009.

Nostalgia for the Light. Dir. Patricio Guzmán. Chile, 2010.