Renzo Aroni

Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University

Lecturer, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University

Fellow, Society of Fellows, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (2020–Present)

Born in Lima and raised in the Peruvian highland region of Ayacucho, Renzo Aroni is an historian of modern Latin America. He received his PhD in History with two Designated Emphases, Human Rights and Native American Studies, from the University of California, Davis, in 2020. He has an M.A. in Anthropology, with a focus on Ethnomusicology, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico City. His research experience and current interest includes social movements, revolutions, indigenous peoples, and human rights in Latin America, particularly at their intersection with culture, memory, and political violence.

Aroni’s book manuscript-in-progress examines Peru’s internal armed conflict (1980–1992) between Maoist Shining Path insurgents and government forces from a micro-dynamic of wartime violence and resistance in the Andean village of Huamanquiquia (Ayacucho). It analyzes the circumstances in which indigenous peasants switched their support from insurgency to counter-insurgency and organized a broad multi-communal coalition, called the Pacto de Alianza entre Pueblos, against the Shining Path. The Shining Path’s response to this coalition included the massacre of eighteen indigenous men and the braid-cutting of seventeen women in Huamanquiquia, just before the arrest of its highest leaders in 1992. Drawing on his own experience amid the conflict, Aroni combines original archival research, including libro de actas (community record books) and national counter-terrorism documents, with multi-sited ethnographic study and oral histories primarily in Quechua with both indigenous and guerrilla militants. His research has received support from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and the UC Davis Provost’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship. His writings have appeared in journals such as Latin American Perspectives, in Peruvian media, and as book chapters in Spanish and English.