Personal Statement:

“The fact that history is also produced outside academia has largely been ignored in theories of history.” 
– 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 and I currently direct the the Program in Latin American and Iberian Studies at UCSB. After graduating as a historian in Lima, I took a teaching position at the Universidad Nacional  de Huamanga, in Ayacucho, where I lived for one year in the late 1980s. During that decade, 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 graduate studies in the U.S., turned out to be decisive in my professional choices. Henceforth, the largest part of my research has been devoted to the study of the role of Andean peasant society in Peru’s national life.

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 Latin America.” Its Spanish revised and expanded version, La República Plebeya (2014) was voted  “the best book of History of 2014”  by international survey of historians specialized in Peru. This interview interview (in Spanish) with anthropologist Javier Torres Seoane condenses some of the main ideas of the book.

Currently, I am working on two major research projects. The first one, “The Proscribed Hero: 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.  As part of this project I wrote the essay  “Violencias fundacionales: silencios, memoria y fratricidio en las narrativas historiográficas del Perú (Foundational Violences: Silences, Memory and Fratricide in the Historiographical Narratives of Peru), forthcoming with La Siniestra Ensayos, in Lima, as part of a compilation of my essays.

My second ongoing project, “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 yearlong fellowships form the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Center for Historical Studies at UT-Austin. Offsprings of this project include the essays “La Guerra que no cesa” (Ceaseless war) published in France, in 2013 (see Publications, below) and  “The Paths of Terrorism in Peru,”  forthcoming with The Cambridge Global History of Terrorism (edited by Richard English),  2021

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.

Research and Teaching Interests:

  •  Latin America/ The Andean Region, Peru, 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 centuries.” 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:

BOOKS (as author)

  • Violencias Fundacionales [Foundational Violences].  Lima: La Siniestra Ensayos. Forthcoming, 2020
  •  La República Plebeya. Huanta y la formación del Estado Peruano, 1820-1850. Lima: IEP, 2014.  Revised, expanded and translated, from the The Plebeian Republic (2005). Voted “the best book of History of 2014” in Peru.
  • The Plebeian Republic: The Huanta Rebellion and the Making of the Peruvian State, 1820-1850Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2005. Winner of the 2007 CLAH Howard F. Cline award for the best book on indigenous history in a Latin America. Download the introduction here

BOOKS (as editor)

ESSAYS IN ANTHOLOGIES

ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS (selected)

  • “The Paths of Terrorism in Peru”  forthcoming with The Cambridge Global History of Terrorism, edited by Richard English,  2021.
  • La Guerra que no cesa: Guerras civiles, imaginario nacional y la formación del estado en el Perú”  (Ceaseless War: Civil Wars, National Imaginings, and the formation of the state in Peru). In Clément Thibaud (et. al), L’ Atlantique Révolutionnaire. Bécherel: Editions Les Perséides (France), 2013: 379-420 (Notice the name of this article is mistaken in the table of contents).
  • “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.

OPINION, CURRENT AFFAIRS (Selected)

Courses Taught:

History 202, the Historical Methods course required for all incoming students to the M.A/Phd Program; In Winter 2019, as the current Director of the Latin American and Iberian Studies Program, I offered LAIS 200, “Introduction to Latin American and Iberian Studies” .

At the undergraduate level I teach History 8, Introduction to the History of Latin America; and upper division courses such as History 151B and History 151C, Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, respectively; History 154LB, Andean History in the National Period; History 151FQ, Latin American History Through Film; and the seminars History 151P, and History 151R, where students develop their own research projects. More recently, I have  taught the upper division lecture course  History of Cuba (History 151CU).

Honors and Professional Activities:

  • 2014. La República Plebeya: La rebelión de Huanta y la formación del Estado Peruano (IEP, 2014) selected “the best book of History” in Peru.
  • 2010 Latin American and Iberian Studies Program Faculty Award for Exemplary Mentorship to Graduate and Undergraduate Students.
  • 2007 Howard Cline Memorial Prize for the book “The Plebeian Republic” awarded by the Conference on Latin American History.
  • 1995 Mildred and Herbert Weisinger Dissertation Prize for the Best Doctoral Dissertation in Progress, SUNY at Stony Brook.
  • 1986 B.A. Thesis “Los Trabajadores Guaneros del Perú” approved as “outstanding” with “mention for publication” (published in 1987).

Fellowships

  • University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), Fall 2020 Residential Fellowship to work on Civil wars and terrorism in Peru. 
  • 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

  • Invited Professor at  l’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris (May-June, 2019).
  • Invited professor at the Summer course “Visiones de lo Colonial: usos y abusos de un concepto”. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (September 2018).
  • Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, Lima 
    Workshop on “Alternative Methodologies” for Latin American Doctoral Students, Sponsored by SEPHIS (2009), and various workshops on the militaries and the peasants, civil wars and the state, and the production of silences in historiographical narratives (2010, 2011, 2012).
  • University of the Philippines, Quezon City, 2008.
    Workshop on “Alternative Methodologies” for Doctoral Students of the “Global South”, Sponsored by SEPHIS
  • Universidad Nacional de San Cristobal de Huamanga, Ayacucho, PeruVarious workshops for history students

Videos, Interviews (Highlights)