The Rigoberta Menchu Controversey

Overview

A balanced appraisal of the bitter debate surrounding the autobiography of Guatemala's 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Guatemalan indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Mench? first came to international prominence following the 1983 publication of her memoir, I, Rigoberta Mench?, which chronicled in compelling detail the violence and misery that she and her people suffered during her country's brutal civil war. The book focused world attention on Guatemala and led to her being ...

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Overview

A balanced appraisal of the bitter debate surrounding the autobiography of Guatemala's 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Guatemalan indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Menchú first came to international prominence following the 1983 publication of her memoir, I, Rigoberta Menchú, which chronicled in compelling detail the violence and misery that she and her people suffered during her country's brutal civil war. The book focused world attention on Guatemala and led to her being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. In 1999, a new book by David Stoll challenged the veracity of key details in Menchú's account, generating a storm of controversy. Journalists and scholars squared off regarding whether Menchú had lied about her past and, if so, what that would mean about the larger truths revealed in the book.

In The Rigoberta Menchú Controversy, Arturo Arias has assembled a casebook that offers a balanced perspective on the debate. The first section of this volume collects the primary documents-newspaper articles, interviews, and official statements-in which the debate raged, many translated into English for the first time. In the second section, a distinguished group of international scholars assess the political, historical, and cultural contexts of the debate, and consider its implications for such issues as the "culture wars," historical truth, and the politics of memory. Also included is a new essay by David Stoll in which he responds to his critics.

Contributors: Luis Aceituno; Juan Jesús Aznárez; John Beverley, U of Pittsburgh; Allen Carey-Webb, Western Michigan U; Margarita Carrera; Duncan Earle, U of Texas, El Paso; Claudia Escobar Sarti; Claudia Ferman, U of Richmond; Dina Fernández García; Eduardo Galeano; Dante Liano, U of Milan; W. George Lovell, Queen's U, Canada; Christopher H. Lutz; Octavio Martí; Victor D. Montejo, UC Davis; Rosa Montero; Mario Roberto Morales, U of Northern Iowa; Jorge Palmieri; Daphne Patai, U of Massachusetts, Amherst; Mary Louise Pratt, Stanford U; Danilo Rodríguez; Ileana Rodríguez, Ohio State U; Larry Rohter; Carolina Escobar Sarti; Jorge Skinner-Kleé; Elzbieta Sklodowska, Washington U; Carol A. Smith, UC, Davis; Doris Sommer, Harvard U; David Stoll, Middlebury College; Manuel Vásquez Montalbán; and Kay B. Warren, Harvard U.

Arturo Arias is director of Latin American Studies at the University of Redlands.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816636266
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
I Background
Rigoberta Menchu's History within the Guatemalan Context 3
I, Rigoberta Menchu and the "Culture Wars" 29
II Documents: The Public Speaks
Tarnished Laureate 58
Stoll: "I Don't Seek to Destroy Menchu" 66
About Rigoberta's Lies 70
Lies by the Nobel Prize Winner 73
Her 76
The Pitiful Lies of Rigoberta Menchu 78
Arturo Taracena Breaks His Silence 82
Rigoberta 95
About David Stoll's Book Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans 97
Let's Shoot Rigoberta 99
Rigoberta Menchu Tum: The Truth That Challenges the Future 103
Against Gerardi and Against Rigoberta, Attacks Are Continually Made to Make Them Lose Some of Their Luster 107
Rigoberta Menchu: Those Who Attack Me Humiliate the Victims 109
David Stoll Breaks the Silence 118
The Anthropologist with the Old Hat 121
The National Council of Mayan Eduction and Its Twenty-two Member Organizations Publicly Declare 125
A Hamburger in Rigoberta's Black Beans 127
III Responses and Implications
Why Write an Expose of Rigoberta Menchu? 141
Textual Truth, Historical Truth, and Media Truth: Everybody Speaks about the Menchus 156
The Primacy of Larger Truths: Rigoberta Menchu and the Tradition of Native Testimony in Guatemala 171
Telling Truths: Taking David Stoll and the Rigoberta Menchu Expose Seriously 198
What Happens When the Subaltern Speaks: Rigoberta Menchu, Multiculturalism, and the Presumption of Equal Worth 219
Las Casas's Lies and Other Language Games 237
The Poetics of Remembering, the Politics of Forgetting: Rereading I, Rigoberta Menchu 251
Whose Truth? Iconicity and Accuracy in the World of Testimonial Literature 270
Menchu Tales and Maya Social Landscapes: The Silencing of Words and Worlds 288
Teaching, Testimony, and Truth: Rigoberta Menchu's Credibility in the North American Classroom 309
Between Silence and Lies: Rigoberta Va 332
Menchu after Stoll and the Truth Commission 351
Truth, Human Rights, and Representation: The Case of Rigoberta Menchu 372
The Battle of Rigoberta 392
Contributors 411
Permissions 417
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