Text and Community Program Features I, Rigoberta Menchú

Posted: February 14, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Lynn Burke

The Text and Community Program has chosen I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala as its subject this semester. The program conducts a semester-long project at the university that encourages thoughtful discussion of a particular text or theme by exploring it from different perspectives. Latin American Studies joins the English Department in sponsoring the program this spring.

The book is the result of interviews in 1981 by anthropologist Elisabeth Burgos-Debray with Rigoberta Menchú, a young Guatemalan peasant who fought against the brutality of the Guatemalan military. Lisa Rabin, associate professor of Spanish, says the book was chosen because it “brings everybody together,” addressing Latin American history, U.S. policy, indigenous people’s and women’s history, and cultural issues. The book is also timely, adds Rabin, considering the controversy created by the recent publication of David Stoll’s book, which disputed some of the facts in I, Rigoberta Menchú and raised issues about testimonial literature in general.

The program includes the following brown bag discussions for instructors and students, which run from noon to 1:30 p.m.:

Feb. 20-Clara Beaulieu, visiting instructor of Spanish at George Mason, on testimonial literature (Johnson Center, Room G)

Feb. 21- Silvia Kurlat, visiting assistant professor of Spanish at George Mason, on testimonial literature (Johnson Center, Room G)

March 27-Jorge Rogachevsky, professor of Spanish at St. Mary’s College in Maryland, on David Stoll’s book Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans and the controversy it generated (Robinson A447)

March 28-Martha Francescato, professor of Spanish at George Mason, and George Mason history major Miriam Enriquez on teaching and learning from the controversy (Robinson A447).

For more information, contact Lisa Rabin at x31350 or lrabin@gmu.edu.

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