I, Rigoberta Menchú: When Literature and Politics Collide

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Rigoberta Menchú has been called everything from saint to fraud, opportunist to savior of the poor and downtrodden. One thing is certain. She is an accomplished political activist, whose often maligned autobiograpahy, I, Rigoberta Menchú, may well have saved countless Guatemalans and others from unspeakable abuse at the hands of a system that, for half a millennium, victimized indigenous and marginalized peoples. For those efforts she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. Little controversy revolves around Rigoberta’s prowess as a political activist; and most would agree that she was a suitable recipient of the Quincentennial Peace Prize. It is the inclusion of her purported autobiography in high school and college curricula that continues to motivate controversy among educators, social scientists and others. This paper will examine I, Rigoberta Menchú from various disciplinary perspectives, principally history and literature, to determine where, if at all, it belongs in the Liberal Arts corpus.


Keywords: History, Literature, Latin American Studies, Native American Culture, Feminism/Women's Literature, Guatemala
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Prof. Barbara Brodman

Professor, Humanities, Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

Dr. Barbara Brodman is Professor of Latin American & Caribbean Studies at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She has published a variety of scholarly works that deal with Latin American culture and affairs. Her 1997 journey through South America, retracing Che Guevara’s 1952 motorcyle journey, was widely covered by the media, while thousands followed her adventures online or read her book about the adventure. Dr. Brodman is founder and President of the Global Awareness Institute, an environmental public charity, and she sits on the board of the Inter-American Center for Human Rights. Scholar, humanitarian, and adventurer, Dr. Brodman’s knowledge of global and Latin American affairs, and her hands-on approach to acquiring it, enthrall and inspire the many students and non-students to whom she lectures regularly.

Ref: I08P0403