We continue to introduce this year’s recipients of The Wadsworth International Fellowship with DANIEL PERERA BAHAMÓN of Guatemala, currently pursuing a Doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin!
Born on the Day of the Dead, 1980, I am a first-generation Guatemalan from a family of Catholic Colombians and Sephardic Jewish immigrants from Bulgaria and Palestine. I grew up in Guatemala City during a time of great political violence, coming of age after the signing of the Peace Accords (1996). I received my BA in International Studies and History (2003) from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. For several years, I was part of the coordinating council of Unitierra (2003-2008), a grassroots think- and do-tank in Oaxaca, Mexico inspired by the ideas of Ivan Illich and the autonomist political practices of the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca and Chiapas.
I recently received my MA in Latin American Studies (2013) from The University of Texas at Austin. My thesis focuses on elite retrenchment in response to the political and symbolic gains of black and indigenous peoples in postwar Guatemala. I characterize the emerging neoliberal governance project as “post-multicultural.”
My doctoral research interrogates the relation between whiteness, violence, securitization, affect, and evolving forms of social belonging in Guatemala. I draw from visual anthropology in order to examine the production, circulation and uptake of media artifacts, aesthetic forms and practices that might alternatively reflect the ascendancy of whiteness and the affirmation of life projects otherwise. As both a critical and an expressive component of my ethnography, I also seek to produce audiovisual artifacts in collaboration with my research subjects.
I have chosen UT-Austin for my graduate studies because it is one of the premier research institutions for investigating Guatemala and the broader Mesoamerican region. As pioneers in Activist Anthropology, faculty at UT foster research that is critical, rigorous and epistemologically innovative while remaining committed to the struggles for social change that its subjects and stakeholders undertake. The department also pushes the envelope in ethnographic writing, encouraging literary and audiovisual experimentation for more nuanced research-creation.