Centre of Latin American Studies

Cultural Studies Section

Spectres of La Violencia: Testimony in Colombia


Suggested secondary reading 

Badiou, Alain, Ethics (London: Verso, 2002).
Bergquist, Charles W., Ricardo Peñaranda and Gonzalo Sánchez eds (2001), Violence in Colombia 1999-2000: Waging War and Negotiating Peace (Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources).
Beverley, John, Against Literature (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993).
Derrida, Jacques, Specters of Marx: The State of Debt, The Work of Mourning, and the New International (1994 [1993]), trans. P. Kamuf (London and New York: Routledge).
Gugelberger, Georg M. Ed., (1996), The Real Thing: Testimonial Discourse and Latin America. (Durham
and London: Duke University Press). [Excellent on the debates surrounding Testimonio]
Lindsay, Claire (2003), ‘“Clear and Present Danger”: Trauma, Memory and Laura Restrepo's La novia oscura’, Hispanic Research Journal, (4): 1, pp. 41-58. [Very good introduction to Restrepo’s work]
Martin-Barbero, Jesús (2000), ‘La ciudad: entre medios y miedos’. In Ciudadanías del miedo. S. Rotker Ed. (Caracas: Nueva Sociedad), pp. 29-35. [Useful for making sense of Vallejo]
Molano, Alfredo (1983), Los años del tropel (Bogotá: El Áncora). [Perhaps the ‘classic’ Colombian book of testimonios, often taken as a series of ‘oral histories’ of La Violencia]
______________(2001), Desterrados (Bogotá: El Áncora). [This work is very much a companion piece for the Restrepo and the Vallejo and includes the testimony of the author as ‘desterrado’]
Molloy, Sylvia, At Face Value: Autobiographical Writing in Spanish America (Cambridge: CUP, 1991). [Useful for thinking the relationship between Testimonio and other forms of autofiction]
O’Bryen, Rory (2004) ‘Representations of the City in the Narrative of Fernando Vallejo’, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, (13): 2, pp. 195-204.
__________ (2008) Literature, Testimony and Cinema in Contemporary Colombian Culture: Spectres of La Violencia. (See in particular: Chapters 3 and 4).
Pécaut, Daniel (2003), ‘Memoria imposible, historia imposible, olvido imposible’ in Violencia y política en Colombia: elementos de reflexión (Medellín: Hombre Nuevo Editores), pp. 113-133.
Salazar, Alonso (1992), No nacimos pa’semilla (Bogotá: CINEP). [Another ‘classic’ of Colombian Testimonio, useful for understanding La Virgen de los sicarios]
Sommer, Doris, “Rigoberta’s Secrets”, Latin American Perspectives, (18): 70, pp. 32-50. [A classic text on the genre]
Yúdice, George, “Testimonio and Postmodernism”, Latin American Perspectives, (18): 7-, 15-31. [Another classic text on Testimonio]




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