As late as 1991, the Shining Path Maoist guerrilla movement had seemed to threaten the survival of the elected Peruvian government. The insurgency gained control of rural areas through a combination of persuasion and coercion, writes the anthropologist Kimberly Theidon in Intimate Enemies, a somber study of war’s aftermath. Mistrust and resentment still infect Peruvian society, yet there has been little violent score-settling in recent years. Still, given the psychic scars Theidon describes, her extremely valuable and moving account shows that the end of war does not necessarily bring anything resembling peace.
Excerpt from The Times Literary Supplement, January 2014, Roger Atwood
Kimberly Theidon is a medical anthropologist focusing on Latin America. Her research interests include critical theory applied to medicine, psychology and anthropology, domestic, structural and political violence, transitional justice, reconciliation, and the politics of post-war reparations. She is the author of Entre Prójimos: El conflicto armado interno y la política de la reconciliación en el Perú (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos. first edition 2004) and Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). She is currently involved in two research projects. She is completing research on “Pasts Imperfect: Working with Former Combatants in Colombia,” in which she works with former combatants from the paramilitaries, the FARC and the ELN. In Peru, she is conducting “Speaking of Silences: Sexual Violence and Redress in Peru,” an ethnographically grounded study of reparations, gender and justice. Dr. Theidon is an associate professor of anthropology at Harvard University, and the director of Praxis Institute for Social Justice.