Beyond testimonio : the woven discourse of Rigoberta Menchú Tum in Towards a culture of peace

Date
2004
Authors
Haymer, Beatriz Aguirre
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Abstract
Rigoberta Menchu first became internationally known after the publication in 1983 of her biography, I Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala, written as a testimony by Venezuelan anthropologist Elizabeth Burgos Debray. This book is credited with breaking the international silence on the genocide perpetuated on the indigenous people of Guatemala by its own government. The ensuing international pressure on the Guatemalan government forced it to start a dialogue with the opposition that eventually resulted in peace accords and brought an end to the longest civil war in the history of Latin America. In 1992 Menchu won the Nobel Peace Prize amidst swirling controversy about the veracity of her testimony. This on-going controversy has generated numerous works and yet a significant study of the nature of Menchu's non-mediated discourse has to date not been done. The present study proposes to begin filling this lacuna. Menchu's book Towards a Culture ofPeace is a diachronic sampling of a decade of Menchu's speeches pronounced from 1992 to 2002 that address the creation of a Culture of Peace and serves as the materia prima for the present analysis of Menchu's discourse. Using weaving theory and praxis, I develop a reading of this book that reflects Menchu's own vision of a Culture of Peace, a vision that is based on the interweaving of specific issues within a metaphorical loom built out of the Mayan concepts of utzil and pixab. This study clarifies Menchu's worldview and illustrates that Menchu's discourse concerning the creation of a world Culture of Peace is an oral reproduction of the Mayan textile so integral to Maya culture and its development. In the final analysis, I show that the nature of Menchu's oral discourse on world peace, as exemplified in Towards a Culture ofPeace is like a woven textile grounded on the two mutually supporting Maya concepts of utzil and pixab.
Description
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2004.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 93-97).
x, 97 leaves, bound ill. 29 cm
Keywords
Menchú, Rigoberta
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