Department of Anthropology

Kimberly Theidon: Speaking of Silences

Mon, February 3, 2014 | SAC 5.118

12:00 PM

"Speaking of Silences: Gender, Violence and Redress in Peru"

a talk by Kimberly Theidon, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

When the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission submitted its Final Report on August 28, 2003, among its recommendations was a comprehensive reparations program which included institutional reforms as well as material and symbolic forms of redress.  The Plan Integral de Reparaciones was explicitly designed to contribute to national reconciliation, and to the founding of a “new social pact” between the Peruvian state and its citizenry. I discuss the vagaries of gender during the truth-gathering phase of Peru’s transitional justice process, as well as the current reparations phase (2005 to present). The underlying premises of transitional justice reflect its liberal origins, and their shortcomings.  I invoke feminist and post-colonialist critiques of liberalism as a means of analyzing how these origins influence actually existing reparations programs. Of particular interest are reparations for gender-based harms, and the fact that reparations presume certain victim categories, speech acts and subject positions.  I move beyond these critiques to examine how survivor’s priorities challenge liberal theories of justice, and call for a more robust theorization of collective rights and redress. I conclude with reflections upon the contributions of a gender-conscious theoretical perspective to the design and implementation of reparations, in hope that we can harness the potential of reparations to move from transitional to transformative justice.

For further information please contact Adriana Dingman at

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