Date of Thesis



This Honors Thesis composes itself as a comparative study of the political-historic narratives and the cultural-historic narratives that serve as means of narrating the internal conflict of Peru (1980-2000). Also known as the Era of Terrorism in Peru, it is considered as the landmark of Peruvian contemporary history and one of the most bloody and violent internal wars in Latin America. It was an era shaped by the conflict between the Peruvian state and the terrorist groups: Sendero Luminoso (The Shining Path) and MRTA (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement), -the conflict between the state and the Shining Path was the most intense of all these conflicts. Once the internal conflict was over, in an attempt to stabilize democracy and establish a transitional justice, the transitional Peruvian government created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that set out to investigate the roots of the conflict, the dynamic of the conflict, and the conflict's consequences. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Final Report estimates that a number of 70,000 people lost their lives through this conflict. The Commission compiled 16,917 testimonial accounts that reported 23, 969 people as dead or disappeared. Based on the estimate and the actual number of deaths informed by the Final Report, one can't help but question the extent to which the Final Report narrates the internal conflict with complete historical transparency. The Final Report also includes a photographic section with a series of pictures that help visualize the internal conflict. Throughout my research, I question the historical transparency of the Final Report by drawing on the literature of memory studies the philosophies of the archive. Upon the arguments that Derrida, Foucault, Jelin, DeGregori, Milton, Mariategui, Stern, and many other academics make in order to reveal the autonomy, dynamic, and objective of the Final Report as the official archive of recounting Peru's internal conflict, I find that the Final Report is insufficient in achieving a narrative that is historically transparent. My thesis then focuses on the need to officialize materials/archives of the cultural text as alternative paths to recounting the internal conflict. The value of the cultural text as an alternative to the Final Report synthesizes itself through my analysis on how the conflict transfers/translates itself through movies, fiction books, music, art, and oral representations of the conflict. In addition, I entail an investigation that focuses on finding a group of 10-20 Peruvians and exposing them to the Final Report and the materials I have selected from the cultural text. Subsequently, I sent out two surveys to them, the first one focuses on their personal memory accounts and/or knowledge of the internal conflict, and the second focuses on compiling their analysis on which archives they find most transparent with regards to the internal conflict. The results of this study will contribute to my argument that the cultural text is essential in recounting Peru's past, and that it is fundamentally crucial to consider the materials of the cultural fabric as part of the legitimate narrative of the conflict.


Peru, Conflicto interno, Archivo político, Archivo cultural, Memoria histórica, Memoria cultural, Problema del Indio, Sendero luminoso

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Fernando Blanco