Cover image for The Rigoberta Menchú controversy
Title:
The Rigoberta Menchú controversy
Author:
Arias, Arturo, 1950-
Publication Information:
Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
xiii, 418 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Background -- Documents: the public speaks -- Responses and implications.
ISBN:
9780816636259

9780816636266
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library F1465.2.Q5 M387 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Guatemalan indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Menchu first came to international prominence following the 1983 publication of her memoir, I, Rigoberta Menchu, which chronicled in compelling detail the violence and misery that she and her people suffered during her country's brutal civil war. The book focused world attention on Guatemala and led to her being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. In 1999, a book by David Stoll challenged the veracity of key details in Menchu's account, generating a storm of controversy. Journalists and scholars squared off regarding whether Menchu had lied about her past and, if so, what that would mean about the larger truths revealed in her book.

In The Rigoberta Menchu Controversy, Arturo Arias has assembled a casebook that offers a balanced perspective on the debate. The first section of this volume collects the primary documents -- newspaper articles, interviews, and official statements -- in which the debate raged, many translated into English for the first time. In the second section, a distinguished group of international scholars assesses the political, historical, and cultural contexts of the debate, and considers its implications for such issues as the "culture wars", historical truth, and the politics of memory. Also included is a new essay by David Stoll in which he responds to his critics.


Summary

Guatemalan indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Menchu first came to international prominence following the 1983 publication of her memoir, I, Rigoberta Menchu, which chronicled in compelling detail the violence and misery that she and her people suffered during her country's brutal civil war. The book focused world attention on Guatemala and led to her being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. In 1999, a book by David Stoll challenged the veracity of key details in Menchu's account, generating a storm of controversy. Journalists and scholars squared off regarding whether Menchu had lied about her past and, if so, what that would mean about the larger truths revealed in her book.

In The Rigoberta Menchu Controversy, Arturo Arias has assembled a casebook that offers a balanced perspective on the debate. The first section of this volume collects the primary documents -- newspaper articles, interviews, and official statements -- in which the debate raged, many translated into English for the first time. In the second section, a distinguished group of international scholars assesses the political, historical, and cultural contexts of the debate, and considers its implications for such issues as the "culture wars", historical truth, and the politics of memory. Also included is a new essay by David Stoll in which he responds to his critics.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

The publication in 1999 of David Stoll's Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans ignited a firestorm of polemic in both international media and academic forums. Stoll presented evidence suggesting the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Guatemala had not seen or experienced all that she claimed in her famous 1984 book, I, Rigoberta Menchu (CH, Jan'85). Journalists, academics, activists, politicians, and others promptly denounced Stoll and his work, suggesting he was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to oppress the indigenous peoples of the Americas, undermine the Guatemalan peace accords, silence the voices of the oppressed of the world, upset curricular advances in American universities, and on and on. This collection of essays, edited by one of Stoll's vocal detractors, reproduces some of the more artfully crafted venom from the initial outbreak of anti-Stoll hostilities. The collection also includes a series of later academic contributions and reflections, a few of which trespass into the terrain of even-handed, sober reflection on Stoll's work and the important issues it has raised. The issues are vital ones for scholarship, science, journalism, and teaching, and this collection should be read and debated by all interested in them. P. R. Sullivan independent scholar


Choice Review

The publication in 1999 of David Stoll's Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans ignited a firestorm of polemic in both international media and academic forums. Stoll presented evidence suggesting the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Guatemala had not seen or experienced all that she claimed in her famous 1984 book, I, Rigoberta Menchu (CH, Jan'85). Journalists, academics, activists, politicians, and others promptly denounced Stoll and his work, suggesting he was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to oppress the indigenous peoples of the Americas, undermine the Guatemalan peace accords, silence the voices of the oppressed of the world, upset curricular advances in American universities, and on and on. This collection of essays, edited by one of Stoll's vocal detractors, reproduces some of the more artfully crafted venom from the initial outbreak of anti-Stoll hostilities. The collection also includes a series of later academic contributions and reflections, a few of which trespass into the terrain of even-handed, sober reflection on Stoll's work and the important issues it has raised. The issues are vital ones for scholarship, science, journalism, and teaching, and this collection should be read and debated by all interested in them. P. R. Sullivan independent scholar


Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xi
I Backgroundp. 1
Rigoberta Menchú's History Within the Guatemalan Contextp. 3
Notesp. 24
Bibliographyp. 27
I, Rigoberta Menchú and the "culture Wars"p. 29
Notesp. 47
II The Public Speaksp. 49
Documents The Public Speaksp. 51
Tarnished Laureatep. 58
Stoll "i Don't Seek to Destroy Menchú": Interview by Dina Fernández Garcíap. 66
About Rigoberta's Liesp. 70
Lies by the Nobel Prize Winnerp. 73
Herp. 76
The Pitiful Lies of Rigoberta Menchúp. 78
Arturo Taracena Breaks His Silence: Interview by Luis Aceitunop. 82
Rigoberta Manuel Vásquez Montalbánp. 95
About David Stoll's Book Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalansp. 97
Let's Shoot Rigobertap. 99
Rigoberta Menchú Tum: The Rigoberta Menchú Tum Foundationp. 103
Against Gerardi and Against Rigoberta, Attacks Are Continually Made to Make Them Lose Some of Their Lusterp. 107
Rigoberta Menchú: Those Who Attack Me Humiliate the Victims Interview by Juan Jesús Aznárezp. 109
David Stoll Breaks the Silencep. 118
The Anthropologist with the Old Hatp. 121
The National Council of Mayan Education and Its Twenty-Two Member Organizations Publicly Declarep. 125
A Hamburger in Rigoberta's Black Beansp. 127
III Responses and Implicationsp. 131
Responses and Implicationsp. 133
Why Write an Exposé of Rigoberta Menchú?p. 141
Notesp. 154
Textual Truth, Historical Truth, and Media Truth: Everybody Speaks About the Menchúsp. 156
Notesp. 168
Bibliographyp. 169
The Primacy of Larger Truths: Rigoberta Menchú and the Tradition of Native Testimony in Guatemalap. 171
Bibliographyp. 195
Telling Truths: Taking David Stoll and the Rigoberta Menchú Exposé Seriouslyp. 198
Notesp. 214
Bibliographyp. 216
What Happens When the Subaltern Speaks: Rigoberta Menchú, Multiculturalism, and the Presumption of Equal Worthp. 219
Notesp. 234
Las Casas's Lies and Other Language Gamesp. 237
Notesp. 249
The Poetics of Remembering, the Politics of Forgetting: Rereading I, Rigoberta Menchúp. 251
Bibliographyp. 267
Whose Truth? Iconicity and Accuracy in the World of Testimonial Literaturep. 270
Notesp. 285
Bibliographyp. 286
Menchú Tales and Maya Social Landscapes: The Silencing of Words and Worldsp. 288
Bibliographyp. 307
Teaching, Testimony, and Truth: Rigoberta Menchú's Credibility in the North American Classroomp. 309
Notesp. 330
The Primacy of Larger Truths: Rigoberta Vap. 332
Notesp. 348
Menchú After Stoll and the Truth Commissionp. 351
Notesp. 365
Bibliographyp. 370
Truth, Human Rights, and Representation: The Case of Rigoberta Menchúp. 372
Bibliographyp. 390
The Battle of Rigobertap. 392
Notesp. 407
Bibliographyp. 409
Contributorsp. 411
Permissionsp. 417

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