Debbie Sharnak, "Of Light and Struggle: Social Justice, Human Rights, and Accountability in Uruguay" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2023)


Debbie Sharnak's new book, Of Light and Struggle: Social Justice, Human Rights, and Accountability in Uruguay (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023) is an important and vibrant history of international and local activism in response to dictatorship from 1973 to 1985. Uruguayans suffered numerous human rights abuses under the repressive military government during this period. Activists, transnational social movements, and international policymakers both worked together and clashed as they pushed against the dictatorship and navigated the country back to a democratic government. Sharnak writes about these convergences and conflicts to provide a complex history of Uruguay and of human rights. Her book shows how the history of this small country can shed new light on the larger history of Latin America and international human rights. In this episode of the podcast, Sharnak, a professor at Rowen University, discusses her book and the research that went into it. She discusses the language of human rights and how it could unite disparate groups in common cause. Yet, narrow, unifying understandings of the term often left some experiences, such those of some Afro-Uruguaians, out of larger narrative. She discusses how such unity was difficult to maintain as the dictatorship ended and democracy returned to the country. 

Christine Lamberson, PhD, is a historian. Her research focuses on 20th century U.S. legal, political, and cultural history.

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Christine Lamberson

Christine Lamberson is a historian. Her research and teaching focuses on 20th century U.S. political and cultural history. She’s currently working on a book manuscript about the role of violence in shaping U.S. political culture in the 1960s and 1970s.

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