Polivision and the School of Modern Languages at Georgia Tech present “Reimagining Latin(o) America in the Pandemic: Media, Culture, and Democracy,” a series of video presentations/interviews with public intellectuals, journalists, politicians, and cultural producers of the region who have covered and/or addressed the crisis in their respective countries over the past year. The first group of presentations is about Peru, and the videos are available below (with options for subtitles in English and Spanish). The presentations took place on May 14-May 17, 2021.

After 200 years of its independence, Peru has recently experienced political instability, social turmoil and ideological polarization in the midst of the pandemic. The last five presidents of the country have been sentenced for corruption and other crimes, and one even committed suicide. With the deadliest toll worldwide in per capita COVID-19 deaths, officials have called the pandemic the most devastating public health crisis in the country since the Europeans brought new diseases to the Americas in 1492.

A few weeks before a wildly polarized run-off presidential election in Peru, this series of presentations addresses the following questions/themes: What have been the main sociopolitical challenges for Latin American democracies (in this case Peru) in the face of the pandemic? What is the role of the media in covering a public health crisis in deeply divided and fragmented societies? How has the pandemic impacted cultural industries and artistic production in societies with very limited state support for culture? How can we deal with the social impact generated by the pandemic and reimagine a better future for democracy and culture at the local and global level?

All the presentations are in Spanish and were open to the public. The videos are available with English subtitles in this website.

This online series was hosted by Paul Alonso, associate professor at Georgia Tech. A Peruvian journalist himself, Dr. Alonso also conducts a brief interview and Q&A with the participants after their presentations.

PARTICIPANTS

Alberto Vergara. Political Scientist

PRESENTATION

INTERVIEW

Alberto Vergara es politólogo. Enseña e investiga en la Universidad del Pacífico (Lima, Perú). Realizó su doctorado en la Universidad de Montreal. Su investigación se ha enfocado esencialmente en los países andinos observando distintas dimensiones del régimen político. Sus artículos han aparecido en el Journal of Politics in Latin AmericaCurrent HistoryLatin American Research Review, Journal of Democracy. Ha publicado los libros Ni amnésicos ni Irracionales: Las elecciones de 2006 en perspectiva histórica (2007; 2019) y Ciudadanos sin República (2013; 2018), entre otros. Ha colaborado con distintos medios internacionales como Letras LibresThe New York Times en español, y Foreign policy en español.

“La pandemia en el Perú funciona como una sinécdoque, es decir, una parte que sirve para representar el todo. En ella encontramos las limitaciones y virtudes que el Perú ha construido durante años como país. Observaremos esencialmente las relaciones de la pandemia con la democracia, la economía y la sociedad peruana.”

Alberto Vergara is a political scientist. He teaches and researches at the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima (Perú). He completed his doctorate at the University of Montreal. His research has essentially focused on observing different dimensions of the political regime in Andean countries. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Politics in Latin America, Current History, Latin American Research Review, and Journal of Democracy. He has published the books Ni amnésicos ni Irracionales: Las elecciones de 2006 en perspectiva histórica (2007; 2019) y Ciudadanos sin República (2013; 2018), among others. He has collaborated with different international media outlets such as Letras Libres, The New York Times in Spanish, and Foreign policy in Spanish.

“The pandemic in Peru functions as a synecdoche, which is to say, it is a part that serves to represent the whole. In it we find the limitations and virtues that Peru has constructed throughout the years as a country. We will essentially observe the relations that the pandemic has with democracy, the economy, and Peruvian society.”

Jacqueline Fowks. International Correspondent

PRESENTATION

INTERVIEW

Jacqueline Fowks es colaboradora del diario El País (España) en Perú desde el 2012. Es una profesora asociada de la PUCP. También es investigadora externa de la cátedra de Literatura y Cultura Europea de la Universidad de Groningen. Recibió el premio Periodismo y Derechos Humanos de la Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos de Perú en 2018. Su libro más reciente es Mecanismos de la posverdad (2017). Presidió la Asociación de Prensa Extranjera en el Perú en 2018. Ha sido periodista de investigación en el equipo fundador de IDL-Reporteros, y redactora y editora en los diarios El Comercio y Perú 21 en Perú, y UnomásUno en México. Trabajó como corresponsal del diario Reforma de México (en Perú y Brasil). 

Jacqueline Fowks has been a contributor to the newspaper El País (Spain) in Peru since 2012. She is an associate professor at PUCP (the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru). She is also a research fellow for the chair of European Literature and Culture at the University of Groningen. She received the Journalism and Human Rights award from the National Human Rights Coordinator of Peru in 2018. Her most recent book is Mecanismos de la posverdad (2017). She chaired the Foreign Press Association in Peru in 2018. She has been an investigative journalist in the founding team of IDL-Reporteros, and a writer and editor for the newspapers El Comercio and Perú 21 in Peru, and UnomásUno in Mexico. She also worked as a correspondent for the Mexican newspaper Reforma (in Peru and Brazil).

“Poder, Estado y medios en la pandemia. El tipo de cobertura informativa predominante durante la emergencia sanitaria ha permitido al Estado y al sector privado mantener sus deficiencias y/o privilegios. Sin embargo, las excepciones de buenas prácticas periodísticas contrarrestaron la desinformación, denunciaron errores de gestión de la pandemia, o visibilizaron círculos de corrupción público-privada como en el Vacunagate“.

“Power, State and media in the pandemic. The predominant type of news coverage during the health emergency has allowed the State and the private sector to maintain their deficiencies and / or privileges. However, the exceptions of good journalistic practices countered the misinformation, denounced errors in the management of the pandemic, or made visible public-private circles of corruption such as in Vacunagate “.

Gonzalo Benavente Secco. Documentary Filmmaker

PRESENTATION

INTERVIEW

Dirigió, escribió y editó La revolución y la tierra (2019), el documental más visto del cine peruano, ganador del Premio Apreci 2019 (Mejor Documental). Antes, escribió y dirigió los largometrajes Rocanrol `68 (2013) y Largo tiempo (2018). También ha trabajado en televisión y teatro. Es profesor de cine en la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú y en la Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas.

“A propósito de la censura a la emisión de La revolución y la tierra en el canal del Estado, antes de las elecciones peruanas, reflexionaremos sobre cómo la pandemia pone en evidencia aquellas narrativas que los grupos de poder en el Perú han buscado invisibilizar”    

Gonzalo Benavente Secco directed, wrote and edited La revolucion y la tierra (2019), the most watched documentary in Peruvian cinema and the winner of the 2019 Apreci Award (Best Documentary). Before that, he wrote and directed the feature films Rocanrol `68 (2013) and Largo tiempo (2018). He has also worked in television and theater. He is a film professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and at the Peruvian University of Applied Science.

“Regarding the censorship of the broadcast of La revolucion y la tierra on the State channel, before the Peruvian elections, we will reflect on how the pandemic highlights those narratives that the power groups in Peru have sought to make invisible.”

Carmen McEvoy. Historian

PRESENTATION

INTERVIEW

Carmen McEvoy is a renowned Peruvian historian. Professor McEvoy won the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim fellowship (2002) and the Gold Medal from Municipalidad de Lima (2011). A weekly contributor of the newspaper El Comercio (Lima) and a member of Peru’s History Academy, her work has contributed in the renovation of the political and intellectual historiography of Chile and Peru. McEvoy was the first Peru’s Ambassador in Ireland. Among her books, the most recognized are Guerreros Civilizadores: Política, sociedad y cultura durante la Guerra del Pacífico (1879-1884), La Guerra Maldita: El mariscal Nieto a través de su correspondencia (1834-1844), Un proyecto nacional en el siglo XIX: Manuel Pardo y su visión del Perú (1994), La utopía republicana: ideales y realidades en la formación de la cultura política peruana, 1871-1919 (1997), Forjando la nación: Ensayos de historia republicana (1999)  and Homo Politicus: Manuel Pardo y los dilemas de la política peruana, 1871-1878 (2007).  Her latest book “La República Agrietada” deals with the pandemic and other central topics of contemporary Peru.

Carmen McEvoy es una reconocida historiadora peruana. La profesora McEvoy ganó la prestigiosa beca John Simon Guggenheim (2002) y la Medalla de Oro de la Municipalidad de Lima (2011). Colaboradora semanal del diario El Comercio (Lima) y miembro de la Academia de Historia del Perú, su obra ha contribuido a la renovación de la historiografía política e intelectual de Chile y Perú. McEvoy fue la primera embajadora de Perú en Irlanda. Entre sus libros, los más reconocidos son Guerreros Civilizadores: Política, sociedad y cultura durante la Guerra del Pacífico (1879-1884), La Guerra Maldita: El mariscal Nieto a través de su correspondencia (1834-1844), Un proyecto nacional en el siglo XIX: Manuel Pardo y su visión del Perú (1994), La utopía republicana: ideales y realidades en la formación de la cultura política peruana, 1871-1919 (1997), Forjando la nación: Ensayos de historia republicana (1999) y Homo Politicus: Manuel Pardo y los dilemas de la política peruana, 1871-1878 (2007). Su último libro “La República Agrietada” trata sobre la pandemia y otros temas centrales del Perú contemporáneo.

Marco Sifuentes. Journalist

PRESENTATION

INTERVIEW

Marco Sifuentes is a Journalist with 20+ years of experience. He is the founder of two of the most well-known independent Latin American news sites, and is a social media consultant. Sifuentes has authored graphic novels and non-fiction works. He is the creator and host of La Encerrona podcast, a digital news project that chronicles Peru’s slow-motion national crash.

“Peruvians were promised a first-world country for their 200th anniversary. The pandemic did not bring down that promise: it only revealed how delusional it was. How to speak to a country in which 1 in every 200 inhabitants has died from covid… without also killing their last hopes? How to shape a discourse for a nation caught between two options that represent the worst of its recent past?”

Marco Sifuentes es un periodista con más de 20 años de experiencia. Es fundador de dos de los sitios de noticias independientes más reconocidos de América Latina, y es consultor de redes sociales. Sifuentes ha escrito novelas gráficas y obras de no ficción. Es el creador y presentador del podcast La Encerrona, un proyecto de noticias digitales que narra la crisis nacional de Perú.

“A los peruanos se les prometió un país del primer mundo para su 200 aniversario. La pandemia no derribó esa promesa: solo reveló lo delirante que era. ¿Cómo hablarle a un país en el que 1 de cada 200 habitantes ha muerto de covid… sin matar también sus últimas esperanzas? Cómo dar forma a un discurso para una nación atrapada entre dos opciones que representan lo peor de su pasado reciente?”

Daniel Olivares. Congressman

PRESENTATION

INTERVIEW

Daniel Olivares Cortés es actual congresista del Perú, elegido como uno de los 10 candidatos más votados del país, y es el vocero principal de la Bancada del Partido Morado. Graduado de Derecho y Ciencias Políticas, se ha desempeñado como Comunicador Social desde hace más de 15 años y asesor de campañas políticas locales y presidenciales. Es profesor de comunicación política en la Universidad del Pacífico y el Instituto Peruano de Publicidad.

“La pandemia dejó al descubierto en el Perú todas las inequidades y carencias institucionales. Ha mostrado al elefante dentro del cuarto”.

Daniel Olivares Cortés is a current congressman from Peru. He was elected as one of the 10 most voted candidates in the country, and is the main spokesman for the Purple Party. He holds a degree in Law and Political Science. He has served as a Social Communicator for more than 15 years and has been an advisor to local and presidential political campaigns. He is a professor of political communication at the Universidad del Pacífico and the Instituto Peruano de Publicidad.

“The pandemic exposed all the inequities and institutional deficiencies in Peru. It has shown the elephant inside the room “

Paul Alonso. Host and organizer of the conference series.

Dr. Paul Alonso, an Associate Professor in the School of Modern Languages at the Georgia Tech, holds a Ph.D. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. His book “Satiric TV in the Americas” (Oxford University Press, 2018) is a pioneer study on the convergence of journalism, entertainment, satire, politics and popular culture in Latin America. Alonso’s research has also appeared in journals such as the Bulletin of Latin American Research, The Journal of Popular Culture, The Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, and included in edited collections. A Peruvian journalist and author, he has published in prestigious newspapers in Spanish (such as El País and El Nuevo Herald), and in diverse international magazines. He is the author of three books of fiction and has hosted a weekly interview show in Peru. Before joining Georgia Tech, Alonso was also a staff member of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. He is currently the director of Polivision, a bilingual and multimedia outlet based in Atlanta that covers Latin(o) American and Global Cultures.

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