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Abstract

This article examines the evolution of the Afro-descendant women's movement in Peru between 1980 and 2015. We examine the development of women’s conscious through other movements, specifically through the national Afro-Peruvian movement and the regional feminist encounters that have been taking place since the 1980s. Our study outlines the tensions, and points of convergence and divergence that have existed for Afro-Peruvian women in these movements. We demonstrate how these issues characterize the nature of Afro-Peruvian women's struggle and their social and political position within the realm of race- and gender-based activism. We show that this friction has prompted women to challenge their institutions and to create spaces for themselves to focus on their own specific needs. First, we trace the Afro-descendant and feminist movements, beginning at the regional level before focusing on the specific case of Peru. Then we outline the different roles that women activists have occupied within the Afro-descendant movement in-country and show how their participation became more visible within their respective organizations and, at times, in the government. Finally, we examine the emergence of a new feminist Afro-Peruvian collective that has served as a locus of cross-organizational dialogue and articulation for veteran and newer activists. The conclusion outlines important current advances involving civil society collectives. The data featured in this paper were collected through extensive archival research, in-depth semi-structured interviews with representatives from the Afro-descendant movements in Peru conducted between 2004 and 2013, and intensive participant observation.

Note on the Author

Eshe Lewis holds a doctoral degree in Anthropology from the University of Florida. Her dissertation research addressed Intimate Partner Violence and reporting among Afro-Peruvian Women in Metropolitan Lima and the Constitutional Province of Callao in Peru. Eshe was a Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRCC) doctoral fellow. She is currently a visiting scholar at Colorado College. John Thomas III is a doctoral candidate in the Political Science program at the University of Chicago. His dissertation focuses on Black Politics in Peru and Ecuador from 1980-2015. John is the recipient of a US Student Fulbright fellowship as well as a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) award. He has served as a consultant for the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

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