Chapter 27: Testimonio as LatCrit Methodology in Education
27. Testimonio as LatCrit methodolgy in education Lindsay Pérez Huber1 INTRODUCTION Testimonio is grounded in a collective history of resistance. It is used by non-dominant groups to challenge oppression and brings attention to injustice in an effort to transform it. For example, one of the most widely known contemporary testimonios is the book, Me Llamo Rigoberta Menchú y Así Me Nacío La Conciencia that documented the testimonio of Rigoberta Menchú, a human rights activist from an indigenous Guatemalan community (Burgos, 1983).2 Her testimonio recounted the violence and death she survived during a horrific civil war, and how she became an active leader in the struggle for indigenous and human rights in her country. The book was translated in multiple languages and brought international attention to the injustices and violence faced by poor indigenous communities in Guatemala. As testimonio has served as a powerful tool by non-dominant groups, it has encountered considerable controversy and debate around ‘legitimate’ knowledge in academia. American anthropologist David Stoll, for example, went to great lengths in his academic work to discredit Rigoberta Menchú’s testimonio. In fact, in 1999 Stoll published the book, Rigoberta Menchú and the story of All Poor Guatemalans that challenged Menchú’s accounts of the guerilla warfare that led to the tragic deaths of her family. The strong opposition to Menchú’s testimonio by Western scholars is indicative of the power of testimonio to disrupt the marginalization and exclusion of non-dominant forms of knowledge in the academy. Acknowledging the...
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