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Victoria Sanford, Professor of Anthropology at Lehman College, City College of New York
Monday, April 2
When the Guatemalan Peace Accords were signed in 1996 ending more than three decades of internal armed conflict, more than 200,000 people were dead or disappeared, 626 mostly Maya villages had been massacred, 1.5 million people had been internally displaced, and 150,000 had sought refuge in Mexico. In this paper I explore local politics and meanings of exhumations of clandestine cemeteries in Guatemala within the context of transnational human rights practices and transitional justice paradigms. I trace the development of national, regional and international genocide cases against former Guatemalan generals over the past two decades. I analyze the role of forensic and cultural anthropology in the construction of historical memory. Community demands for reparation and societal demands for justice are considered within ongoing impunity in Guatemala which today has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
Victoria Sanford is Professor of Anthropology at Lehman College, City College of New York. Her research foci include genocide, feminicide, forensic anthropology, post-conflict violence, displacement, child soldiers, humanitarian aid, human rights, theories of violence and terror, and indigenous rights.
She has published five books on violence and human rights in Guatemala and the field of anthropology, and her various articles have been published in Anthropology News, Radcliffe Quarterly, Propaganda Review, and Bulletin on Municipal Foreign Policy among others.
She serves as a Research Associate at Columbia University's Center for International Conflict Resolution as well as an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Rutgers University. As a human rights activist and scholar, her experience includes extensive research into indigenous communities in Latin America, including Guatemala, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Mexico.
Presented by: The Department of Anthropology, the Department of Sociology and the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies.