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Corner of the Living

Ayacucho on the Eve of the Shining Path Insurgency

Miguel La Serna

Publication Year: 2012

Interest remains high in the story of the Shining Path, the Maoist guerilla insurgency founded in Peru in the late 1960s. Miguel La Serna’s history of key roles played by Peru’s indigenous peoples in the conflict adds a major new dimension to our understanding of Peru's war, especially with La Serna's fresh, unique emphasis on the years leading up to the peak years of violence from 1980-1992. On a broader level, La Serna's work drives home how localized, culturally particular perspectives contributed to the internationally significant political events in Peru that shaped much of the world during the Cold War era, and it also illuminates the stark realities of life for the rural poor everywhere and just how and why they may or may not choose to mobilize around a revolutionary cause.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press


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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xviii

Latin American history was pretty low on my list of priorities during my youth— I was much more concerned with getting Jillian Joy Brogdon to laugh at my jokes. I can still remember getting hand cramps in high school while taking notes in Liz Guyer’s World History class, or struggling...

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pp. 1-18

On 17 May 1980— the eve of the first democratic elections in Peru after twelve years of military rule— five hooded Shining Path guerrillas entered the voter registration office in Chuschi, a village of mostly Quechua-speaking peasants in the Andean...

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ONE: To Trace the Tracks: Internal Conflict and Resolution

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pp. 19-61

Two indigenous peasants—one from Peru and the other from Bolivia— are talking one day about the similarities and differences between their two countries. At some point in the conversation, the Peruvian turns to the Bolivian and asks...

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TWO: To Venture Out: Intercommunity Relations and Conflict

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pp. 62-100

I was researching in the Regional Archive of Ayacucho when I got an urgent call from Julián. He said that he had checked on seating for the Chuschi combi (shuttle), which we were supposed to take the next morning. Since Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day...

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THREE: To Walk in Shoes: Race and Class

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pp. 101-135

Tell us another one!” I insisted as Huaychao native Narciso Huamán poured himself another cup of aguardiente. When he finished his drink, Narciso poured what was left in his cup onto the dirt floor with a swift fling of the wrist and handed me the...

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FOUR: To Cross the River: Initial Peasant Support for Shining Path

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pp. 136-166

The moment had finally come. After twelve years of rule, the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces was finally going to relinquish executive power and allow Peruvian citizens to participate in national democratic elections. Florencio...

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FIVE: To Defend the Mountaintop: Initial Peasant Resistance to Shining Path

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pp. 167-196

On 22 January 1983 a group of Huaychainos walked into the Civil Guard station in Huanta City. They had made the long trek from their high Andes village through a tortuous landscape of ravines, crags, and plains. It had been two and a half years...

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SIX: To Turn the Corner: After Shining Path

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pp. 197-214

Alejandra Ccente sat on a small wooden stump from a hilltop overlooking the village square. Sucking on her lemon-flavored candy, the Huaychaina became distracted by the photograph in Julián’s hands: an image of the village’s original...

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pp. 215-220

On 26 April 2004 indigenous villagers from the Peruvian town of Ilave, in the high Andes department of Puno, rose up and killed their mayor. During the weeks leading up to the event, the villagers of Ilave had been demanding the removal of the...


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pp. 221-254


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pp. 255-268


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pp. 269-286

E-ISBN-13: 9781469601915
E-ISBN-10: 1469601915
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807835470
Print-ISBN-10: 0807835471

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 772844957
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Corner of the Living

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Sendero Luminoso (Guerrilla group) -- History.
  • Peru -- Politics and government -- 1980-.
  • Chuschi (Peru) -- Social conditions.
  • Chuschi (Peru) -- Politics and government.
  • Ayacucho (Peru) -- Social conditions.
  • Ayacucho (Peru) -- Politics and government.
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