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Maoist Bromides, a Presidente Gonzalo Cult, and an Andean Cultural Revolution

Thursday Lecture Series, Observation and Obfuscation

dateApril 11, 2019 timeThursday, 12:15pm EDT location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
  • Rachel Nolan
  • Audience open exclusively to Columbia faculty, students, and invited guests
  • All others interested in attending, please email SOF/Heyman at [email protected].
Political poster for Shining Path with illustration of man holding Communist flag above crowd with guns

Full title: Maoist Bromides, a Presidente Gonzalo Cult, and an Andean Cultural Revolution: The Curious Allure of the Shining Path Ideology

The Shining Path led a vicious guerrilla war in Peru from 1980-1992 that culminated in more than 70,000 dead, over half at the hands of the Shining Path itself. A small Maoist party that defended the Cultural Revolution, the Shining Path developed an ideology that seemed to run against history and have little prospects for success. It not only vilified other leftist parties and their heroes (from Fidel Castro to Peru's Juan Velasco Alvarado), but also sustained a stark class analysis. Their pamphlets and brochures reproduced Maoist formulas and rhetoric, barely adjusting them to the Peruvian reality. This presentation will examine how this derivative and harsh discourse helped attract thousands of followers.

Guest lecturer: Charles Walker, UC Davis
Professor of History