Luisa Rivera

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Emory U.

Grant number

Gr. 9842

Approve Date

April 29, 2019

Project Title

Rivera, Luisa (Emory U.) "Transgenerational Resilience in Post-War Guatmala"

LUISA RIVERA, then a graduate student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded a grant in April 2019 to aid research on “Transgenerational Resilience in Post-War Guatemala,” supervised by Dr. Carol Marie Worthman. This dissertation explores intergenerational trauma, embodiment, and epigenetics from a critical biocultural anthropological lens. It presents results from the fieldwork funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It explores the epistemic stakes of a planned but partially completed biosocial study of intergenerational trauma and embodiment in Nueva Esperanza Chacul’, a community of former refugees of the Guatemalan Civil War and their descendants living in the borderlands of highland Guatemala. While intergenerational interviews yield high rates of trauma and mental health symptoms among mothers and grandmothers, anthropological theories of subjectivity reveal different pathways by which trauma is transmitted, resisted, and transformed. An attention to subjectivity’ both its socially inscribed and individually felt dimensions, draws attention away from individualized indices of trauma and towards the importance of the inheritance of structural violence that links war-time experiences to contemporary inequality and violence in everyday life in ‘postwar’ Guatemala.