Fellow: Awarded 2010
Field of Study: Literary Studies
Competition: Latin America & Caribbean
Widely esteemed as one of the most insightful and original writers and academics in Perú today, Víctor Vich is an Associate Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) and a Principal Investigator at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP). His interdisciplinary approach to understanding Perú’s complex literary, cultural, and political histories and current landscape has resulted in a number of groundbreaking studies, and he was instrumental in establishing at PUCP an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in cultural studies.
After receiving a B.A. in Latin American literature from PUCP in 1992, Mr. Vich came to the United States to continue his studies, first at Duke University, where he earned a master’s degree in Romance languages (1997), and then at Georgetown University, where he completed his Ph.D. in Latin American literature in 2000. With the support of Red para el Desarrollo de las Ciencias Sociales en el Perú (RED) and the Ford Foundation, on his return to Perú he was able to expand his dissertation into his first monograph: El discurso de la calle. Los cómicos ambulantes y las tensiones de la modernidad en el Perú (RED, 2001).
An examination of street performers’ ability to give voice to truths about Perú’s terribly violent recent past as the country’s Truth Commission and populace couldn’t, Los cómicos ambulantes marked Mr. Vich’s initial exploration of the interrelationships of politics, culture, and art. Subsequently he authored or edited a number of books as well as articles in academic and popular journals that further explore this interplay, among them El caníbal es el otro. Violencia y cultura en el Perú contemporáneo (IEP, 2002); Del viento, el poder y la memoria, edited with Cecilia Monteagudo (PUCP, 2002); Oralidad y poder. Herramientas metodológicas, with Virginia Zavala (Ed. Norma, 2004); “Desobediencia simbólica: performance, participación y política al final de la dictadura fujimorista,” in La cultura en las crisis Latinoamericanas, edited by Alejandro Grimson (CLACSO, 2004); Políticas culturales: ensayos críticos, edited with Guillermo Cortés (Lima: INC, 2006); and Contra el sueño de los justos: la literature peruana ante la violencia política, with Juan Carlos Ubilluz and Alexandra Hibbett (IEP, 2009). During his Guggenheim Fellowship term, he will delve deeper into this multifaceted topic with a study of art, violence, and politics in contemporary Perú.
In addition to his positions at PUCP and IEP, Víctor Vich has worked extensively with the Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO); from 2007 to 2009 he was a member of CLACSO’s board of directors. He is also an active member of New York University’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. He has directed or participated in numerous international conferences and was a visiting scholar at the David Rockefeller Center of Latin American Studies at Harvard University in 2007.