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M.A. Mercedes Figueroa

Mercedes Figueroa

Freie Universität Berlin

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut

Doktorandin

Altamerikanistik/Kulturanthropologie

Adresse
Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56
14197 Berlin

Education

2019  Phd Student in Cultural and Social Anthropology

           Institute for Latin American Studies

           Freie Universität Berlin     

2012  Master degree in Visual Anthropology

           Posgraduate School

           Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP)

2008 Professional Title in Social Sciences with Mention in Anthropology

         Faculty of Social Sciences

         Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP)

2015  Bachelor (BA) in Anthropology

           Faculty of Social Sciences

          Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP)

 

Scholarships and Awards

October 2019-September 2020

Scholarship holder of German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

2015

Winner of the II Competitive Fund in Academic Innovation 2015, organized by the Academic Direction of the Professoriate (PUCP). With the project “Ethnography and interactive platforms for the course Research Methodology for anthropologists and visual anthropologists”. To see more information: http://puntoedu.pucp.edu.pe/noticias/resultados-de-losganadores-del-ii-fondoconcursable-en-la-innovacionacademica/

LEHRE

Academic experience

March 2014 – July 2019 Professor in Master's Degree in Anthropology and Master's Degree in Visual. Postgraduate School PUCP.

  • Methodology: Ethnography and Audiovisual Methodology
  • Topics in Visual Anthropology 2: Visibilities and invisibilities of the memory of violence

March 2013 – July 2019 Professor in Specialty of Anthropology, Faculty in Social Sciences (PUCP)

  • Methods and Techniques of Anthropological Research 1
  • Methods and Techniques of Anthropological Research 2
  • Fieldwork practice 1

July 2018 Professor in Center for Sociological, Economic, Political and Anthropological Research (CISEPA PUCP)

  • Workshop on Designs and Techniques of Research in Qualitative Studies

October 2017 – June 2018 Professor in Degree Course in Anthropology, Center for Continuing Education (CEC PUCP), where I taught a Module in Visual Anthropology and a Module in Qualitative Methodologies.

March 2017 – June 2019 Professor of the Diploma in Visual Anthropology at Center of the Image. Photography is analyzed from its ethnographic production, as a methodological tool, field of study and document, and as a mechanism of public intervention, with a prior background on anthropological theory and methodology.

November 2016 – March 2018 Pro Academic Secretary in Social Sciences Faculty, PUCP.

Doctoral Thesis Proyect

Institutional and Family Memories in Dispute: The Negotiation of Images and Imaginaries about the "Victimizer" around the Internal Armed Conflict in Peru

Description

The present research seeks to problematize, from a visual anthropological approach, the notions of "victim" and "victimizer" that circulate around the Peruvian memory about the internal armed conflict[1] (1980-2000[2]), as well as the images and imaginaries that were constructed during that period and that are still being discussed and disputed today. With images, I refer to visual representations such as family and newspaper photos, museum scripts, for example; while for imaginary, to the narratives associated with these images, to the construction of the discourses that these images seek to represent. This, taking into account the participation of state representatives on duty (congressmen and ministers, mainly), the media (pro-government and non-pro-government) and the work carried out by the Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación (Truth and Reconciliation Commission - CVR), as well as the participation of organizations related to human rights (NGOs, civil associations of victims, among others) and unofficial initiatives (art collectives, photographic exhibitions, etc.) in this construction.

In that sense, the research questions I am proposing are: What institutional memories are in dispute around the internal conflict and how do these memories manifest today? What memories and their representation predominate in the public sphere? And what memories are made invisible in this process? Finally, to what reasons do these processes respond? The CVR, for example, has been a decisive actor in defining the “victims” of the internal armed conflict up to now. It has done the most important research work of the Peruvian State, collecting the testimonies of Peruvians who did not count in our history. The CVR brought them to the fore of the present and built with their testimonies and other sources (economic, statistical, academics) a report that accounts for the historically dense roots of years of centralism, racism and discrimination, as well as the serious consequences that these entailed. It also gives an account of the distances between the State and its citizens, between citizens themselves and the ways in which some forms were built to avoid seeing what was evident: the horror of war (Ulfe, 2018)[3].

The CVR Final Report recognizes as victims the individuals or groups of people who suffered the violation of their human rights during the years of violence. As well as, family members of the deceased or disappeared victims, their partners, parents and children. These definitions are closely related to the possibilities of reparation, both economic and symbolic (public recognition, mainly) offered by the Peruvian State. It has generated a series of discourses about the way victims or their relatives seek to represent themselves, using a series of discursive, visual and material repertoires. It is worth mentioning that members of subversive organizations are not considered victims, for the specific effects considered for Registro Úniico de Víctimas[4] (Registry of Victims of Violence - RUV).

This entails, among other things, the construction of an innocent victim in opposition to that of “perpetrator”, regularly represented as a member of terrorist groups or as members of the Armed Forces. It should also be pointed out that emblematic cases such as La Cantuta and Barrios Altos[5], which obtained sentences against Peruvian State from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH), led to the imprisonment of former President Alberto Fujimori, his advisor Vladimiro Montesinos and several military members of different rank and origin (National Police of Peru (PNP), Peruvian Army and Navy). Furthermore, in such sentences, the innocence of the dead and disappeared victims was indicated, contributing to the confirmation of both: i) the innocent image of the victim and ii) the image of military members as "perpetrators", in a similar way as the terrorists groups were considered. The CVR also offers an understanding of the past supported by the testimony of civilian victims as its main input for its investigation, which is in dispute with other versions of the recent past.

Finally, these disputes about the past make some memories less visible than others, such as those related to the families of terrorist members or policemen killed during subversive attacks, and even those of the force members that were victims of forced disappearance by terrorist agents or by their own comrades in arms. Even the CVR does not mention them clearly in its Final Report and their consideration as subjects of economic reparation entails a complicated and lengthy process. In this thesis, I propose to address the latter, recognizing and giving an account of the discursive, visual and material repertoires that the military institutions and their own families have been shaping over the years.

Research groups

May 2015 - present: Research Group in Visual Anthropology (PUCP).

December 2015 - present: Interdisciplinary Group on emory and Democracy (PUCP).


[1] At the beginning of the 1980's, terrorist groups Sendero Luminoso (SL) and Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru (MRTA) declared war on the Peruvian State, whose response in the hands of its armed forces, unleashed in an armed conflict which resulted in an unprecedented violence in the country. As the balance of this confrontation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) estimated 69 280 victims approximately, between dead and missing, over a period of 20 years (1980-2000). The vast majority of these victims were peasants, who were Quechua speakers and almost invisible to the national official interests. This internal violence was not only considered the conflict of longer duration, impact and higher cost, both human and economic in the history of Peru, but that put into evidence the indifference of the center of Peruvian power towards most remote and poor populations in the country, as well as the racism and exclusion rooted in Peruvian society as a whole..

[2] According to Informe Final de la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación (Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - CVR): http://www.cverdad.org.pe/ifinal/

[3] María Eugenia Ulfe, 2018. Defender la memoria y nuestro derecho a la verdad y a la justicia Available at: http://www.noticiasser.pe/opinion/defender-la-memoria-y-nuestro-derecho-la-verdad-y-la-justicia

[4] See: http://www.ruv.gob.pe/registro.html

[5] See: http://lum.cultura.pe/cdi/documento/sentencia-del-proceso-judicial-por-los-casos-de-barrios-altos-y-la-cantuta

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Articles

“Archivos fotográficos y memorias familiares: representaciones de estudiantes universitarios y policías fallecidos durante el conflicto armado interno en el Perú” (Photographic archives and family memories: representations of university students and policemen who died during the internal armed conflict in Peru). Appeared in: Antropología y archivos en la era digital (Anthropology and Archive in the digital era). Lima: IEP, 2019 (in press).

Graffiti limeño: ¿arte urbano o transgresión callejera? (Graffiti in Lima: urban art or street transgression?) In: Intercambio, Revista del Apostolado Social de la Compañía de Jesús en el Perú (Magazine of the Social Apostolate of the Society of Jesus in Peru). Edición 45. Available in: http://intercambio.pe/graffiti-limeno-arte-o-transgresion/

“Miradas y rostros de la ausencia. Significaciones y resignificaciones de las fotos de familia de estudiantes universitarios desaparecidos en el Perú” (Gazing at the Face of Absence. Signification and Re-signification of Family Photographs of Disappeared University Students in Peru). Appeared in: Gisela Canepa Koch; Ingrid Kummels (Eds.) Fotografía en América Latina: imágenes e identidades a través del tiempo y el espacio (Photography in Latin America: Images and Identities across Time and Space). IEP, Lima 2018.

“Fue así como se fue”. Álbum fotográfico familiar como espacio para representar y reconocer a las víctimas de la violencia en el Perú (And he/she was gone: A photo album as a place to represent and recognise violence victims in Peru). Appeared in: Maguaré N ° 30-2, Journal of Anthropology of the National University of Colombia. UNC, Bogotá 2017.

"Gazing at the Face of Absence. Signification and Re-signification of Family Photographs of Disappeared University Students in Peru". Appeared in: Gisela Canepa and Ingrid Kummels (Eds.). Photography in Latin America: Images and Identities across Time and Space. Transcript-Verlag: Bielefeld 2016.

“Graffiti limeño: una forma juvenil de transitar y conocer la ciudad” (Graffiti of Lima: a youthful way of knowing, recognising and becoming known in the city). Appeared in: Gisela Cánepa (ed). Imaginación visual y cultura en el Perú. Fondo Editorial PUCP, Lima 2012.

“Miradas íntimas: álbum fotográfico como espacio de humanización simbólica para las víctimas del conflicto armado interno en el Perú”. In: Memorias del VII Congreso Internacional Red Latinoamericana de Antropología Jurídica – RELAJU, “Un reto para nuestras sociedades: identidades, interculturalidad, pluralismo jurídico y derechos colectivos” ("Intimate looks: photo album as a symbolic humanization space for the victims of the internal armed conflict in Peru". In: Proceedings of the VII International Congress Latin American Network of Legal Anthropology - RELAJU, "A challenge for our societies: identities, interculturality, legal pluralism and collective rights"). Lima, 2010.

Memoir

46 años de la Maestría en Antropología (46 years of the Master's Degree in Anthropology). Escuela de Posgrado PUCP, Lima 2018.

Seminars and Congresses

Organizer and speaker at the Conference “Memoria Fotográfica. El uso de la fotografía familiar en la visibilización de las víctima de desaparición forzada” (“Photographic Memory. The use of the family photographic archive in the visibilization of the victims by forced disappearance”), that took place at PUCP on May 15, 2018, with the participation of the Argentine photographer Gustavo Germano as main lecturer and curator Mayu Mohanna. The conference sought to reflect on the scope of family photographic archives and the expository implications of these images and others related to the violence and pain suffered by the families of victims.

Speaker at the Seminario Internacional “Antropología y Archivos en la era Digital: Usos emergentes de lo audiovisual” (International Seminar “Anthropology and Archives in the Digital Age: emerging uses of the audiovisual”); that took place at the PUCP from November 15 to 17, 2017; with the presentation: Photographic archives and family memories: representations of university students and policemen who died during the internal armed conflict in Peru.

Speaker at the International Seminar “La ciudad desde la antropología: actores, prácticas, imaginarios e identidades” (“The city from an anthropological perspective: actors, practices, imaginaries and identities”), that took place at the PUCP from September 4 to 8, 2017; with the lecture: Other circuits of contemporary Lima graffiti: an ethnographic look in retrospect and new reflections.

Speaker at the XXXV International Congress of the Association of Latin American Studies, “Diálogo de Saberes” (“Dialogue of Knowledge”), which took place at the PUCP from April 29 to May 1, 2017; with the presentation: Deconstructing the "victimizer": family photograph and representation of police officers who died during the internal armed conflict.

Moderator at a lecture in the I Congreso Internacional de Prácticas y Nuevas Perspectivas en el Cine Documental Peruano y Latinoamericano. De Miradas Sociales a Formas Contemporáneas en la No-Ficción (1st International Congress of Practices and New Perspectives in the Peruvian and Latin American Documentary Cinema. From Social Looks to Contemporary Forms in Non-Fiction), that took place in the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, from November 9 to 13, 2016. I guided the following discussion: Methodological approaches: ethnographic practices and documentary production.

Speaker at a lecture in the “VII Congreso Nacional de Investigaciones en Antropología del Perú” (7th National Congress of Anthropology Research in Peru), that took place in the National University of Trujillo, from September 21 to 25, 2015 in Trujillo. The lecture given was: Rostros de la ausencia. Foto carnet como artefacto de memoria y denuncia para familiares de estudiantes universitarios desaparecidos en el Perú (Faces of absence. Photo card as an artifact of memory and denunciation for relatives of university students disappeared in Peru).

Speaker at a lecture in the “IV Semana Intercultural de la Red Internacional de Estudios Interculturales” (4th Intercultural Week of the International Network of Intercultural Studies), that took place in the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, from June 9 to 13, 2014. The lecture given was: Comments on the construction of memory and self-recognition through the audiovisual media.

Speaker at a lecture in the “VI Congreso Nacional de Investigaciones en Antropología del Perú” (6th National Congress of Anthropology Research of Peru), that took place in the “Universidad Nacional del Altiplano de Perú” (National University of the Altiplano of Peru), from October 2 to October 5, 2012, in Puno. The lecture given was: “Fue así como se fue”. Álbum fotográfico familiar como espacio para representar y reconocer a las víctimas de la violencia en el Perú (And he/she was gone. A photo album as a place to represent and recognise violence victims in Peru).

Speaker at a lecture for the Homage Week of Carlos Iván Degregori, carried out by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP) in May 2012. The lecture given was: And he/she was gone. A photo album as a place to represent and recognise violence victims in Peru”.

Speaker at a lecture in the VII Congreso Internacional Red Latinoamericana de Antropología Jurídica – RELAJU (7th International Congress of Legal Anthropology Latinamerican Network), in August 2010. The lecture given was: Miradas íntimas: álbum fotográfico como espacio de humanización simbólica para las víctimas del conflicto armado interno en el Perú. (A close look: photo album as a space of symbolic humanization for the internal armed conflict victims of Peru).

Speaker at a lecture for the Wall-Graffiti Contest of the Faculty of Design and Communication – ISIL, 2010. The lecture given was: Graffiti limeño: una forma juvenil de transitar y conocer la ciudad. (Graffiti of Lima: a youthful way of knowing, recognising and becoming known in the city).

Speaker at a lecture in the “I Coloquio de Egresados de Ciencias Sociales” (1st Colloquium of Social Sciences Graduates), 2009, at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. The lecture given was: “Graffiti of Lima: a youthful way of knowing, recognising and becoming known in the city”.

Speaker at a lecture in the “Seminario La imagen como problemática” (Seminar: The image as a problem), 2008, at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. The lecture given was: “Graffiti of Lima: a youthful way of knowing, recognising and becoming known in the city”.