Harvard Anthropologist to Speak at Global Justice Film Series on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts

Posted: April 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm

This information was provided by the Transitional and Transnational Justice Working Group at the Center for Global Studies

On Tuesday, April 19, as part of the Second Annual Film Series on Global Justice, Kimberly Theidon, a medical anthropologist at Harvard University, will discuss her research on women who were sexually violated in the context of Peru’s internal armed conflict (1980-2000). The event begins at 4:30 p.m., and Theidon’s talk follows the screening of the feature file “Milk of Sorrow.”

“Milk of Sorrow” tells the story of a young woman who suffers from “The Milk of Sorrow,” an illness transmitted through the breast milk of women who were raped during Peru’s internal conflict. The film won the 2009 Golden Bear award and was nominated for an Academy Award in the best foreign film category.

The event, which is sponsored by the Transitional/Transnational Justice Working Group at the Center for Global Studies, will take place in the Mason Hall Meese Conference Room.


“We are delighted to have Professor Theidon on campus,” says Jo-Marie Burt, associate professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs and chair of the Global Justice Film Series.

“Professor Theidon’s research on post-conflict trauma in the Peruvian highlands inspired the Oscar-nominated film. Her visit will give Mason students a unique opportunity to learn about how local communities struggle to address the legacy of sexual violence committed during one of the darkest chapters in Peruvian history.”

According to Burt, “Rape in the context of war is a worldwide phenomenon that is now considered a crime against humanity in international law. Yet local women and the communities in which they live struggle with the aftermath of sexual violence long after the crimes were committed.”

The Transitional and Transnational Justice Working Group, directed by Burt, is an interdisciplinary collaboration of Mason faculty members and graduate students who engage in research on the ways societies cope with past mass violence and injustice.

The film series is cosponsored by the Center for Global Studies, Global Interdisciplinary Programs, University Life and the Department of Public and International Affairs.

For more information, contact film series coordinator Arnaud Kurze or Burt at jmburt@gmu.edu or 703-946-9714.

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