Weekly Progress: There’s No Sprinting in this Field





Since my last post I’ve had the chance to meet with a few individuals from the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP) and Centro de Estudios y Promocion del Desarollo (DESCO). My list of contacts has doubled, it is astounding how open and friendly people have been.

The IEP was fairly accessible, as always you hand in your ID, or in my case DNI, in exchange for a visitor pass. While there I took advantage of their library, which has a great collection of publications on the internal conflict, as well as urban studies. I was shown, specifically, the collections of historian and sociologist, Carlos Ivan Degregori (CID) who wrote expansively on the Shining Path. There was a small fee for the use of the library, about ten soles. The institute itself is an old house, a large terrace sits on the center giving it a certain colonial feel. I plan to return in August, hoping to double check CID collection.

DESCO was also located in an older house, however it was near the coast just past the LUM museum. I did not visit any archive or library in DESCO, I had a meeting with a historian who wrote the Raucana and Huaycan cases for the Truth Commission. This was perhaps one of the most helpful meetings I’ve had thus far.  I received a large bibliography for approaching my project through an urban studies lens. This concept aligns well with how I am starting to perceive my project, which is an urban history that will discuss the armed conflict but will not revolve around it. For me, it has become more about a moment when two urban projects were proposed and started as a response to growing immigration into the city, and the lack of accommodations and affordable housing to support the new inhabitants. The internal conflict was part but not the sole reason for their failure. And, although the SP’s influence was present it did not encompass the entirety of the projects. Migrants, at the end of the day, did not seek a political project, but instead sought an opportunity to improve their living conditions and of owning a piece of land. I plan to look into the marginalization and violence settlers encountered because of their position as migrants, in the context of the growing armed conflict. This is a simplified version, but I’m am starting to figure out what I find interesting about the Huaycan and Raucana cases.

I will be returning to the CVR, as I’ve done this week, to collect testimonies that have been transcribed. Unfortunately, there’s some audio files that have not, making the task a bit tedious. I have also found, in my own archives from previous research, excerpts from news magazines on the growing force or perceived threat of SL in the outskirts of Lima. During the first week of August I will make my way to the APRODEH archive, hoping to collect any material they have on both cases before heading back to the states.

My work is moving a bit slow in my perspective, however you cannot rush archive work and the principal aim of this trip was to make connections and help me see what is possible. I’ve been collecting plenty of bibliography, which I will have to dive into soon, including two theses on Raucana.

One last note for those planning to visit these archives: it is very cold in there.



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