Brigittine M. French, Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Grinnell College, will return to the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research in September to conduct research with the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive testimonies of the Guatemalan genocide survivors.
During her one-week residency at the Center, Professor French will conduct preliminary analysis on the Guatemalan genocide collection to identify those interviews given by survivors from Maya-Kaqchikel areas of the country. Focusing on this specific ethnolinguistic and geographic area, Professor French intends to start mapping out “some of the culturally specific ways that Maya-Kaqchikels talk about and narrate their experiences of violence that have often been excluded from public discourse about the conflicto armado and genocide.” This research builds upon Professor French’s recently published article on the erasures of culturally specific ways of talking about violence among Maya survivors.
Professor French participated in the Center's 2016 international conference "A Conflict? Genocide and Resistance in Guatemala." (Watch the video of her presentation here.) She also visited the Center in July 2018 on a brief exploratory research visit.
Professor French earned her BA, MA, and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Iowa. She is a linguistic anthropologist interested in ethnonationalism, post-conflict states, testimony, collective memory, and discourse analysis. She has conducted ethnographic research in Guatemala and the Republic of Ireland. Before joining the Anthropology Department at Grinnell College, Professor French was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the same department, and she worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Anthropology and Women’s Studies at the University of Iowa. Professor French was also a Fullbright Scholar at the School of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies at Dublin City University. Her monograph, entitled Maya Ethnolinguistic Identity: Violence, Cultural Rights, and Modernity in Highland Guatemala(University of Arizona Press) was published in 2010. She has authored over a dozen journal articles, three book chapters, and she presented her work at numerous national and international conferences.