History Department
History Department

Jimena Perry

MPhil Social Anthropology, MA History, University of Cambridge, UK; University of Texas at Austin

Jimena Perry



Modern Latin America, digital humanities, violence, memory, trauma, and museums


I am a Latin American historian. My dissertation, examines the different ways in which museum professionals and communities in Colombia, over the last two decades, have portrayed memories of atrocities such as massacres, forced displacement, bombings, and disappearances committed during the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s by the National Army, guerrillas, paramilitaries, and drug traffickers. My dissertation analyzes the decisions and selections made by curators, directors and other museum professionals or grass roots activists in representing political violence. In doing so, A Time to Remember explores which narratives have been presented in museums and exhibitions, which have been omitted, and the politics behind such choices. I study the changing role of museums in Colombia as tools for reflection, mourning, and the development of new relationships between the state and society. I investigate how the traditional “civilizing” role of the museum in Colombia is losing ground to more inclusive and representative venues, as in other parts of Latin America and worldwide, giving cultural minorities the possibility of having their voice heard and acknowledged in their own national and local context.

My work draws on museums’ histories, exhibitions’ catalogues, pieces displayed in the aforementioned exhibits, testimonies of victims and survivors of the violence of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, newspapers, magazines, oral histories and interviews. These sources will help me understand the fluid, flexible, and dynamic nature of memorial museums and exhibitions of political violence and violations of human rights. In addition, my research dialogues with three bodies of scholarship: Museum and Violence Studies, and Memory. I examine how the emergence of Memory venues challenges the traditional role of the museum as an authoritarian and powerful and is paving the way for more participatory venues. I analyze the changing nature of museums and how they are being used as political tools to make marginal voices heard


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