Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Sub-Department

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Mercedes Lopez Rodriguez

Abstract

The present investigation embarks in previous and current battles for power to control narratives that influence individual and collective memory. As it considers the content of Lurgio Gavilán Sanchez’s autobiography Memorias de un soldado desconocido (When rains became flood), it reviews the methods used to silence counter hegemonic narratives and the formulation of official narratives which determine discourse on political violence – especially, which events are consigned to memory and which are pushed towards oblivion. Both memoirs and physical places of memory are placed in dialog with Michel de Certeau’s theory of historiography and anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s ideas regarding the limitations of historical space and fact-making. As these concepts evaluate the problematic meanings established through the memoir of a child soldier, the implications that arise from a subaltern citizen permeate to a broader discussion of politically charged repressions of memory in Peru. Consequently, government issued truth commission la Comisión de la Verdad y la Reconciliación (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) exemplify a more inclusive representation of the political violence that stained Peruvian history (1980-2000), yet these advances illustrate contemporary issues in public discourses on conflicted past. Through this lens, the reading of counter narratives such as Gavilán’s and other methods of replicating the past, we achieve a greater understanding of a political space that lives through the past it has unsuccessfully tried to repress and in particular, how such a shift highlights the fissures in official narratives that have been created by such testimonies.

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