Entre Prójimos: El conflicto armado interno y la política de la reconciliación en el Perú (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1st edition ; 2nd edition ) was. Home Kimberly Theidon Entre projimos: el conflicto armado interno y la politica de la Stock Image. Image Not Available zoom_in. Quantity Available: 1. Kimberly Theidon’s book on female victims of Peruvian violence was the The Spanish-language book Entre Prójimos: El conflicto armado.
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Entrs study compiled testimonies of women who were mistreated or violated during the political violence that took place in the Andean highlands in the s. In some of these testimonies the women spoke of an illness ” la teta asustada “–wherein trauma experienced by women who were raped by members of the Maoist group Sendero Luminoso Shining Path was passed on to their children through breast milk. These captivating testimonies motivated Llosa to research further and to eventually script The Milk of Sorrow.
Equally fascinated by Theidon’s fieldwork see the online reader belowI contacted her to see if she would be willing to talk about Iimberly film. She was more than delighted to do so. Kimberly Theidon is a medical anthropologist focusing on Latin America. Her research interests include critical theory applied to medicine, psychology and anthropology; gender studies; domestic, structural and political violence; theories and forms of subjectivity; human rights and international humanitarian law; truth commissions, transitional justice and reconciliation; the politics of post-war reparations; comparative peace processes; disarmament, proimos and reintegration programs for ex-combatants; anthropology of development; and US counter-narcotics policy.
First of all, Kimberly, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I know how busy you are preparing for your classes. It’s wonderful to consider that academic work can achieve a broader audience through an artistic inflection such as Claudia’s.
I do want to say one thing about that. A lot of academic writing is stultifying and people write it in such a way that–unless it’s assigned in a class room–you don’t want to thwidon it. Part of what I try to do is to write in a different voice. I still have to write some academic articles to earn those tenure bonus points in the sky; but, I hope at some point to write something that is as moving to my readers as the research has been to me.
That was what was so delightful and gratifying when I saw La Teta Asustada. It was so powerful and people who would never pick up the article on sexual violence–because they don’t want to hear about it, because they find it boring, you know all the stereotypes–will see that film and maybe it will get them thinking about the subject differently.
The film is beautiful.
Theidon, Kimberly Susan
I’m aware that one of your course objectives is to convey to your students that politics can be expressed through beautiful language. Can ente speak to the role of beautiful language in reaching a broader readership? The topic of sexual violence can be horrific. It can be gory, dependent upon the genre, and can include a level of tehidon that people really don’t want to read.
Part of what is so powerful about La Teta Asustada is that Claudia Llosa is respectful–not only of the material and of the people whose stories she’s telling–but, of her audience.
PSIFF THE MILK OF SORROW (LA TETA ASUSTADA, ): Interview With Dr. Kimberly Theidon
I am not a fan of “shock anthropology”. We’ve all seen it. Photographers and filmmakers will seek out the goriest photo or image they can find, thinking that will move people to action. That may be the case; but, we also talk about the dismay of images and at some point we can also have an act of exaggeration where people turn off. Part of what Claudia has done in La Teta Asustada is that she has left some of the gruesome off of the screen. It’s there, and it haunts the viewer, just as it does Fausta and her mother.
There’s something so powerful in not having to show graphic details, which would be disrespectful of the women who have talked about these kinds of experiences, but also the audiences. When I teach about sexual violence, if I have a hundred students in a room, I assume someone in there has had some experience with it or–if she or he hasn’t–that they have a friend or family member who has.
I approach the subject with that kind of sensitivity so that they understand that it’s not just some “academic” talk. It’s the care and deep respect with which Claudia treats this subject in her film that I am so impressed by. Several critics have commented on Claudia’s stylistic choice.
The film never shows the crimes committed against women before the regime change, though the violence, rape and torture they suffered inform every frame.
By keeping them offscreen, Llosa underlines the fact they are unspeakable crimes, not even talked about today–though their aftermath is still felt even after the women directly concerned have passed away. For me it’s an absolutely commendable stylistic choice. I’ve always felt tension when I write about sexual violence. The thought that anyone could ever find it titillating is–between the two of us–disgusting.
Is there anyone who would read this and find it exciting? That has been one of the most disturbing unimaginable thoughts. We can talk about a “pornography of violence”–when people throw those images in someone’s face or publish the most gory testimony someone can possibly find–as playing into a certain economy of images that is very disturbing, especially when it’s about women and violence.
The subtle way in which the subject haunts the people in Claudia’s film and the audience is very powerful and effective. I study a lot of Latin American cinema, and literature, and one of the remarkable aspects I’ve noticed is the capacity of poetry and–for lack of a better term–“magical realism” to express the horrific even as it seeks to heal it. In your fieldwork and practice, you seem committed to the restorative, the resuscitative, and the reconciliatory; i.
Which leads me to ask, you’re a medical anthropologist and I’m not exactly sure I know what a medical anthropologist does? Medical anthropology is a specialty field within the broader field of anthropology. We look at systems of healing.
We look at questions regarding the body. In my case, I’m interested in trauma and traumatic memory and how people understand where memory sediments and what you can do about that.
Some medical anthropologists study genetics. Some look at artificial insemination, the children that are produced, and what does that mean about reproduction, kinship and the family? So it’s a field in which we bring anthropological theory and tools to bear on a broad set of questions that effect people’s well-being: That’s what–in short–I would say about medical anthropology.
This question of magical realism is an interesting one because part of what I have found talking with survivors of war–as I have in Peru and Colombia–is that for people who have gone through these experiences, the line between the real and the surreal is very porous. I have thought to myself that when someone sits across from me and talks to me–and here I will be a bit graphic so I apologize–but, when they talk what it’s like to see someone pick up a chainsaw and slowly cut someone up, is that any more surreal than imagining whatever we might imagine?
How do you make sense of that if you’re someone who has lived through it and seen that? There is a hallucinatory reality for many survivors.
They have seen things that have caused them to recalibrate their own sense of belief and disbelief. Part of what I think about magical realism and why it captures that is that it invites us to live in that hallucinatory hteidon. Michael Taussig has written about the “space of death”. He talks about that space in which words become unhinged from the objects they name and when rumor is rife and when what one’s own eyes are seeing cannot be true, and yet oddly enough is.
Magical realism plays with that altered sense of perception that–to my mind–is often true, quite honestly, to help people experience these kinds of liminal experiences.
Magical realism lends itself quite well to capturing that.
By any chance, have you seen another film based in the Altiplano entitled Altiplano? It’s a Belgian film that covers similar territory as Claudia’s film; however it differs in that–whereas Claudia’s film exhibits a light magical realist touch– Altiplano is much more about sensory overload, which is reminding me of what you’re saying right now.
Theidon also wrote about this some in her article “Terror’s Talk: Fieldwork and War” [see below]: Allen Feldman has referred to a ‘sensorium of violence’ to capture how one’s perceptions are altered by armed conflicts and fear.
PSIFF10: THE MILK OF SORROW (LA TETA ASUSTADA, 2009): Interview With Dr. Kimberly Theidon
Contemporary Studies of Violence and Survival Berkeley: University of California Press,p. No, I don’t know it. I’m going to write it down right now. I’ll look for that one definitely. No, somebody gave her my book. It’s all been this wonderful serendipity. I didn’t even realize mimberly movie was being made. What the women were talking about was how fear had altered their bodies. But also their concerns about their fear being transmitted to their nursing babies through breastfeeding.
The women spoke so poignantly about the fright in the breast: They would use different terms at different times. All of these emotions can effect women’s bodies and she can pass them through her breast milk to her children.
So there was tremendous concern about the children. Thus, I wanted a term that could capture the double meaning: I translated the original Quechua term as la teta asustada. We mentioned a bit earlier about memory and how you look for it, how you study it, and where does it sediment? Well, probably bodies in a very powerful way, particularly women’s bodies.
There’s a gendered division of emotion and memory work. Time limberly again across so many contexts, women narrate communal suffering.
They narrate where their families once lived. They narrate what it’s like not to be able to feed their children.
Theidon, Kimberly Susan [WorldCat Identities]
Such narration is part thdidon the memory work that women do. To remember all of that in bodies–think of what that means! There’s something powerful about the way memory sediments in women’s bodies and how they talk about it. Those testimonies were part of what Claudia read. When La Teta Asustada came out–and I remember when she won the Berlinale Golden Bear and she and Magaly Solier accepted the award speaking Quechua–it was so powerful that it moved me to tears.
Friends started sending me congratulatory messages and I thought, “Congratulations? Did I do something?! What did I do? What I appreciate about Claudia is her generosity in acknowledging that the book inspired her.