Cultural Interventions

A series of cultural interventions, curations, teaching and public engagements ground my various research projects over the past decade. Here is just a selection.

Public Engagements:

FRQ-SRC G7 Sommet de la recherche Arctic sustainability May 23-24, 2018

The Wave 150

Canada into the Next 150 years: Re-imagining the People’s Constitution (October 28, 2017)


The College of the Royal Society of Canada hosted a series of events to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. Borrowing from George Elliott Clarke (Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate), the overarching theme for the Wave event was “re-imagining the constitution.”  In five different cities, we sought to combine a range of perspectives, from the creative and performing arts to the scholarly, to examine how the Canadian Constitution might be re-framed to reflect the 21st century realities of our country.  The events swept across the country like a relay race, dropping an hour along the time zone, reflecting the challenges and unique perspectives of the different regions.

Inventons Ensemble Notre Contrat Social (le 28 octobre 2017):

À Montréal, le Collège a organisé un rassemblement citoyen intitulé : « Inventons ensemble notre contrat social: réimaginons la constitution au-delà du peuple.» Les jeunes montréalais ont été invités à partager leur vision de la place de Montréal et du Québec dans le Canada du 21e siècle. Ils ont réfléchi à des propositions qu’ils aimeraient inclure dans une « nouvelle version » de la Constitution, une constitution qui reflète la perspective des nouvelles générations. Les participants ont formé de petits groupes autour d’une discussion interactive sur un enjeu spécifique. Ne pourrait-on pas imaginer une constitution qui réduirait le fossé entre les riches et les pauvres ? À l’image de la Bolivie, pourrions-nous donner à la Terre les mêmes droits fondamentaux qu’à n’importe quel citoyen ? Comment la loi pourrait-elle enrayer les discriminations envers les femmes, les autochtones et les minorités ? Imaginons une constitution à notre image !


    Visual Footnotes: Counter Memories and Art from a Fractured Past (March 16, 2018). As part of a book launch for Conflicted Memory, a series of artistic and cultural interventions by the Peruvian Armed Forces and those within their circle were presented at the Curating and Public Scholarship Lab at Concordia University.

Co-coordinator for  Exposition du Musée de la mémoire et des droits de la personne du Chili, FQRSC Équipe, CEREV Concordia, September 30 to October 9, 2015.

Cultural Interventions:

  Theatre review: “La cautiva” in é-misferica, 2015. (Written in consultation with María Eugenia Ulfe and Karen Bernedo.) La Cautiva, written by Luis Alberto León and directed by Chela de Ferrari, E-misférica 12(1), 2015.

     Interview with with Dominique Nancy, “La Guerre vue à travers l’art” Forum, March 27, 2017.


  Interview with LatinArte on art after political violence, May 2, 2014.

Film review: “Parallel lies?: Peru’s Cultural Memory Battles Go International” in “After Truth,”  é-misferica, 7:2 (2011), 1-3 .

Exhibition review: “Naming and the Visual Technologies of the CMHR” Cultural Studies Research Group. The University of Winnipeg, October 14, 2014.


   I have taught for several decades a wide array of interdisciplinary courses ranging from history of colonial Latin America to International Studies in Memory and Post-Conflict. This picture is from my course Histoire de l’Amérique latine on Day of the Dead, 2017.

Research Projects:

     Writing History after Violence: truth-telling in the Americas (2007-2012):

This research program investigated official and non-official mechanisms for societal understanding of traumatic national histories. It questioned the kinds of historical evidence in circulation and subsequent truth narratives into past violence, and broadens historians’ scope of possible alternative historical sources, sites and artifacts of memory to include, for instance, visual and performance art, memory sites, cinema, stories, humour, rumour, and song. By juxtaposing truth commissions and trials with informal modes of “truth-telling,” I highlighted limits and usefulness of such formal bodies of inquiry while illustrating how such forums opened up public spaces for the discussion of state violence for previously marginalized and muted citizens. The project is comparative in global scale, drawing from examples all over the world yet most of my in-depth research has focused on the case of Peru after Shining Path (1980-2000).

     The Art of Transitional Justice: artistic representations and the writing of history in the aftermath of violence (2012-present):

One of the underlying common threads in this research program is that culture remains the battleground for the discussion of the past, especially in the absence of successful pursuits of justice and implementation of truth and reconciliation commissions’ (TRCs) recommendations. This research project focuses on art in post-Shining Path Peru  in order to develop a theory and methodology about artistic representations in the aftermath of violence. The principal theoretical argument underlying this study is that art, as a form of communication that witnesses and recounts, may help us understand historical narratives of experience in “limit” events, a phrase that refers to extreme societal violence. For a podcast related to this project click here.