Dr Alejandro Manuel Flores Aguilar
CSMCH-IASH Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern and Contemporary History, January - March 2022
Home Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Alejandro holds a Diplom soziologe (sociology) degree from the Freie Universität Berlin and a PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include transdisciplinary, decolonial, collaborative research methods, sensorial and visual anthropology of memory, Cold War—counterinsurgency—infrastructures, and indigenous—ontological—subversions.
Project Title: Raised Gaze in Ixil Time: Towards a Minor History of War (1936-2020)
Alejandro works on a video-ethnography with indigenous former guerrillas from Maya-Ixil country (north-western Guatemala). This project has been supported by the Wenner-Gren’s Fejos Postdoc in Ethnographic Film. His research originated with an experience carried out with indigenous intellectuals and students from The Ixil-University, where he has been teaching ad honorem on visual methods, memory and history since 2015. Between 2015-2016, Alejandro developed a collaborative research project to carry out a reconstruction of memory from the perspective of Ixil elders who staged an armed revolt against the coffee-plantation economy in the 1970s and 1980s, when Guatemala’s counterinsurgent “scorched earth” policies were deployed.
His current project, Raised Gaze in Ixil Time: Towards a Minor History of War, builds upon that experience. Alejandro is working on an ethnographic film-essay, and structuring a hypertextual, multimedia memorial repertoire composed of video portraits—life stories of Maya-Ixil former guerrillas. The goal is to develop a comprehensive co-reconstruction of memory of indigenous rebellion in the Ixil territory that builds upon the transdisciplinary research he has been assembling in partnership with the Ixil University and the Ixil Ancestral Authorities. He explores how Ixil politicization processes were complex and multidirectional in terms of circulation and exchange, with non-indigenous actors, of world-building practices.
Alejandro’s ethnographic observations highlight how ancestral Ixil politics not only survived genocide but also played an active role in the struggle for human rights cases, the reconstruction of indigenous ancestral authority, the defense of the territory, the protection of the environment and the struggles against contemporary forms of usurpation and destruction of natural resources.