Personal Statement:

“The heavier the burden of the concrete, the more likely it is to be bypassed by theory”.

Michel-Rolph Trouillot. Silencing the Past, Power and the Production of History (1995).

I am a Peruvian historian specialized in the social and political history of the Andean region. After graduating as a historian in Lima, I took a teaching position at the Universidad Nacional  de Huamanga, in Ayacucho, where I lived from 1986 to 1987.  In the 1980s, Ayacucho’s mostly rural and Quechua-speaking hinterland had become the epicenter of the political violence unleashed by Shining Path’s (Sendero Luminoso’s) insurgency. Deemed the biggest insurrection in the history of Peru, and the bloodiest in modern Latin America, the inner war, which spanned from 1980 to 2000, claimed nearly 70,000 lives, most of them Quechua-speaking peasants. My experience in Ayacucho, which was prior to my pursual of postgraduate studies in the U.S., turned out to be decisive in my professional choices. The largest part of my research has been henceforth devoted to the study of Andean peasant society in the transition from colonial to republican rule.

My work calls the attention on the importance of late eighteenth-century, and nineteenth-century political developments in shaping modern conceptions nationhood, citizenship, and  “race.” I have also investigated the historical relationship between the peasants and the militaries, and the role of war and the army in the construction of the state. I have published widely on these and other subjects concerning contemporary politics. My book The Plebeian Republic: The Huanta Rebellion and the Making of the Peruvian State (2005), won the Howard F. Cline Award for “the best book on indigenous history in a Latin America.” Its Spanish revised and expanded version, La República Plebeya (2014) was voted  “the best book of History of 2014”  according to an international survey of historians specialized in Peru. You can watch the video of the book presentation here.

Currently, I am working on two major research projects. “The Wars Within: Civil Strife, National Imaginings, and the Rural Basis of the Peruvian State” is a study of nineteenth-century civil wars, local governance, and state formation, which draws inspiration in Peru’s most recent armed conflict. This book project was awarded fellowships form the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Center for Historical Studies at UT-Austin.

My second ongoing project, “The Proscribed Heroe: Historiography and memory of Tupac Amaru II”  explores the long-term legacies of the insurgency of Tupac Amaru II (1780-1781) in the historiography and in the official and popular memory of Peru, from its aftermath to the present.

I welcome graduate students who are interested in studying any of the subjects related to my specialization and who can surprise me with original questions and projects.

Advisor to:

Research and Teaching Interests:

  • Latin America/ The Andean Region, 18th-21st centuries.
  • Civil wars,  citizenship, the peasants and the army. 
  • The state, race and ethnicity, nationalism, world history.
  • Historical anthropology, theory of history and historiography.
  • “Violence, Terrorism, and Human Rights. Learning History Through Film.” Freshmen Seminar. Revolutions and guerrillas sparked in various Latin America countries between the 1950s and 1980s, but Peru and Colombia are peculiar in that guerrillas rose up there to fight democratic governments, not military juntas.

Current Projects:

  • “The Wars Within: Civil Strife, National Imaginings, and the Rural Bases of the Peruvian State, 21st to 19th century.” A study on nineteenth-century civil wars, local governance, and state formation which draws inspiration in Peru`s most recent civil war (1980-1999), when peasants banded together with the army to the defeat the Shining Path terrorist insurgency.
  • “The Proscribed Heroe: Historiography and memory of Tupac Amaru II.” This book-lenght project explores the long term legacies of the insurgency of Tupac Amaru II (1780-1781) in the historiography and in the official and popular memory of Peru, from its aftermath to the present.

Selected Publications:

  • “De Indio a Serrano: Nociones de raza y geografía en el Perú, siglos XVIII-XXI” (From Indian to Highlander: Notions of Race and Geography in Peru). Histórica vol. XXXV, 1, 2011: 53-103  [2012]. During the time of the Spaniards, indians could be found everywhere. However, at some point closer to our era, indians became “serranos”  and “serrano”, in turn, became an insult in Peru. When and why did this happen?
  • “Militares Populistas: Ejército, Ciudadanía y Etnicidad en el Perú.” (Populist Militaries, the Army, Citizenship, and Ethnicity in Peru). In Pablo Sandoval, editor, Repensando la Subalternidad. Lima: IEP, 2009. This article analyzes the long term relationship between the peasants and the army in order to understand popular appeal of civilian and military dictatorships.
  • “Una vez más La Pena de Muerte” (The Death Penalty, Once again). Crónicas de Historia del Derecho, 1994: 51-63. A critical overview of the legislation concerning death penalty since the nineteenth century, in light of the political violence Peru experienced in the 1980s.  Revised and expanded from “Penalidad y Muerte en el Perú” Márgenes No 1. Lima: Casa de Estudios del Socialismo, 1987.

Honors and Professional Activities:

Fellowships

  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) 2012-2013 Research project “The Wars Within: Civil Strife, National Imaginings, and the Rural Bases of the Peruvian State”
  • Stanford Humanities Center Fellowship 2010-211. Research
    project: “The Wars Within: Civil Strife, National Imaginings, and the Rural Bases of the Peruvian State.”
  • University of Texas-Austin, Institute for Historical Studies Fellowship 2010-2011. “Research project: “The Wars Within: Civil Strife, National Imaginings, and the Rural Bases of the Peruvian State.” (declined)
  • Yale University Program in Agrarian Studie Fellowship 1996-1997
    Research project: “Peasant Justice and State Rule in Huanta 1830-1879”
  • Governmnet of Spain Fellowship for “Foreign Hispanists”, 1994.  Project: “Rebellion without resistance”. Doctoral dissertation research in the Archive of Indies, Seville, Spain.
  • Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Doctoral Fellow 1993-1994.
    Fellowship to write up dissertation.
  • Social Science Research Council Doctoral Fellow 1991-1992.
    Dissertation: “Rebellion Without Resistance: Huanta’s Monarchist Peasants and the Making of the Peruvian State.”
  • Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Doctoral Fellow 1991-1992 Dissertation: “Rebellion Without Resistance: Huanta’s Monarchist Peasants and the Making of the Peruvian State.”

Teaching Abroad

Reviews, Videos, Interviews