This project was inspired in part by the work of the Latin American Subaltern Studies Group and its call for new research methodologies and the engagement of marginalized populations. While Los Desaparecidos were not a population discussed by this group, the idea that academics must abandon some of their own protocols and ideological categorizations in order to understand the subject at hand is very prevalent to the use of testimonio, a hybrid of literature and history, in historical research.
Below is a very brief overview of this group and its contributions to Latin American scholarship. Please note that the following map includes the names of the scholars invited to its initial meeting in 1994 at George Mason University. Click on their names to be linked to their faculty pages. Each name has been placed in a region that the respective scholar at some point has studied. The map is not to scale.
The Latin American Subaltern Studies Group was founded in 1993 by five academics (John Beverley, Robert Carr, Jose Rabasa, Ileana Rodriguez, Javier Sanjines) . Citing the trend of democratization in Latin America, the collective saw a need to re-examine the “concepts of pluralistic societies and the conditions of subalternity within these societies” (Latin American Subaltern Studies Group 110), they founded an academic collective that was simultaneously an academic and political project, seeking both a paradigm of post-coloniality rooted in subatlernity (Rodriguez "Is there a Need for Subaltern Studies?" 58), and solidarity between the oppressed and academia (Rodriguez "Is There a Need for Subaltern Studies?" 44).
The project was modeled after a group of South Asian scholars, the Subaltern Studies Group, led by Ranajit Guha, and founded in 1980 (The Latin American Subaltern Studies Group 111).
The Latin American Subaltern studies group ultimately disbanded due to organizational issues and declining external support (Rodriguez "Is there a need for Subaltern Studies?" 56-57). However, the importance of studying the subaltern and the need for a more accurate paradigm persist today. The Latin American Subaltern Studies Group affirmed both the historic exclusion of voices from Latin American studies and the responsibility of the academic community to seek these voices out and include them in academic, social and political discourse.