Urban Battleground: Survival in Lima's Shantytowns During the Peruvian Internal Armed Conflict


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project argues how shantytowns became a focal point of collective struggles for survival and basic human dignity in Lima during the Peruvian armed conflict, 1980-2000. Conventionally perceived as either bastions of grassroots resistance or cradles of insurgency, shantytowns influenced the subversive and the Peruvian state’s strategies in the capital, ultimately determining the outcome of the conflict. Shantytown residents challenged, subverted, and reshaped both insurrectionary and state politics, making conscious decisions to organize for or against their demands. Placing resident agency at the center of the analysis, this project moves beyond framings of these individuals as either victims or insurgents. Through ethnographic fieldwork and archival sources, such as municipal documents, print media, and police reports, this work examines shantytown mass mobilizations, as well as the creation of state-sponsored self-defense militias.