The Archives of Dictatorship in Guatemala
Duke University Press 2014
Kirsten Weld‘s book Paper Cadavers: The Archives of Dictatorship in Guatemala (Duke University Press, 2014) tells the story of the 2005 discovery of a vast police archive in Guatemala. Officials had long denied that it existed, and for good reason, because it documented years of kidnapping and murder under the auspices of counterinsurgency. Weld’s book accounts for the repercussions of that discovery on many levels. It is at once an ethnography of human rights activists turned archivists, an argument about the centrality of the production of knowledge with regards to both repression and human rights work, and a gripping account of the debates and politics of Guatemala’s reckoning with the legacies of its Dirty war.