These four germinal essays by John Beverley sparked the widespread discussion and debate surrounding testimoniothe socially and politically charged Latin American narrative of witnessingthat culminated with David Stolls highly publicized attack on Rigoberta Menchús celebrated testimonial text. Challenging Hardt and Negris Empire, Beverleys extensive new introduction examines the broader historical, political, and ethical issues that this literature raises, tracing the development of testimonio from its emergence in the Cold War era to the rise of a globalized economy and U.S. political hegemony.
Informed by postcolonial studies and the current debate over multiculturalism and identity politics, Testimonio reaches across disciplinary boundaries to show how this particular literature at once represents and enacts new forms of agency on the part of previously repressed social subjects, as well as its potential as a new form of "alliance politics" between those subjects and artists, scientists, teachers, and intellectuals in a variety of local, national, and international contexts.
John Beverley is professor and chair in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. His books include Subalternity and Representation, The Postmodernism Debate in Latin America, and Against Literature (Minnesota, 1993).