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M.A. Mercedes Figueroa

Mercedes Figueroa

Freie Universität Berlin

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut



Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56
14197 Berlin


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)


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/


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.

Family memories and institutional discourses on the participation of the police and the military during the internal armed conflict in Peru (preliminary title)

How are police and military men killed during the internal armed conflict in Peru (1980-2000) remembered by their families? From this central question, my research seeks to account for the family memories of these men, from which I propose to rethink the institutional narrative that explains their participation during the conflict. To this end, I focus on the most familiar or everyday images of these police men and military men, as a way to make visible and individualize other stories in relation to the violence of those years. Such constructions are approached from family photographic archives and the domestic spaces where they are exhibited and preserved. In this way, I also expect to contrast those more public or media presentations of the forces of law and order, or those based on opposing categories such as "hero" or "perpetrator".

The consultation of family archives and the interviews, using photo elicitation, allowed me to carry out the main methodological approach of my research: to invite the interviewee to choose the photos that she considers most significant in the life of her family member. My intention is to reconstruct and make visible the life stories of these people who are no longer with us. On the one hand, because such stories are important for their families and talking about them constitutes a form of recognition. On the other hand, because these experiences can generate other reflections on the memories of the conflict, beyond those of the state institutions involved or those that seek to establish themselves as official.

During my fieldwork, I have been able to appreciate the way in which these photos are an important part of the memories of these families; they are an archive to which they turn to remember not only the brave man, the good policeman or military man, but also the loving father and husband. In short, the memory of the life of an exemplary man. Thus, from the photographs of these men in uniform, portrayed in both family and institutional scenes, I propose to think, on the one hand, about the presence of these institutions in the family environments of their members, which continues after their deaths. On the other hand, the way in which these relationships have been reconfigured over the years, manifesting themselves at different junctures both in tensions and in identifications and dialogues.

The personal and family stories that I am seeking to know are those of the police officers: PNP Captain Roberto Morales, PNP Warrant Officer Marco Ojeda, PNP Sergeant Arsecio Mestanza and PNP Lieutenant Daniel Aranda; as well as of EP Major Maximiliano Aranda and EP Second Lieutenant Víctor Velarde. Based on the photographs selected by their relatives, I seek to show who they were and how their families remember them, mainly from the memories of Sandra García Morey, Mercedes Cuadros Huayllapuma, Carmen Victoria Tejada Ruela, Ana María Cosme Carhuaz, Diana Gladys Jordán Ríos and Carmen Katyuska Velarde Humala who also shared their photographic memories with me. These are the stories of four policemen and two military men, in order to contrast different experiences; as well as the stories of 5 wives and an older sister, which also contrasts the voices from which personal and family memories are narrated.

In addition, it should point out that my research work is framed in a context of uncertainty and social restrictions generated by the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic; which presented a series of theoretical-methodological challenges for its development as well as its redesign to be able to carry it out remotely. It was a different process from the one originally proposed which, of course, generated another series of reflections. The pandemic is not only the context in which we are carrying out our researches nowadays. It also crosses these experiences completely: it shapes our methodological decisions (as is the digital mediation for interaction), conditions the time and disposition of the participants (in whose families domestic routines, work and study schedules were altered, as well as contagions and deaths) and adds unexpected theoretical and methodological consultations and reflections (conformation of the field and audiovisual records), among other things.



“Archivos fotográficos y memorias familiares: representaciones de estudiantes universitarios y policías fallecidos durante el conflicto armado interno en el Perú”. In: Ingrid Kummels y Gisela Cánepa Koch (eds). Antropología y archivos en la era digital: usos emergentes de lo audiovisual. Volumen 1. Lima: Instituto de Etnomusicología PUCP, 2021. Disponible en: https://www.fondoeditorial.pucp.edu.pe/categorias/1172-antropologia-y-archivos-en-la-era-digital-usos-emergentes-de-lo-audiovisual-vol1.html

Family memories, analog photographs and smartphones. Reflections on a first experience of remote fieldwork. In: BoasBlog “Fieldwork Meets Crisis”, 2020. Disponible en: https://boasblogs.org/fieldworkmeetscrisis/family-memories-analog-photographs-and-smartphones-reflections-on-a-first-experience-of-remote-field-work/

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.


Figueroa, Mercedes y Mauricio Godoy. 10 años de la Maestría en Antropología Visual. Lima: PUCP, 2019.

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