Rigoberta Menchu Controversy Synthesis Essay

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Rigoberta Menchu Tum was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. According to Les Prix Nobel (1993), Rigoberta Mench came from a poor Indian peasant family and grew up in the Quiche branch of the Mayan culture. She became involved in social reform activities through the Catholic Church, and became prominent in the women's rights movement.


In 1983, she told her life story to Elisabeth Burgos Debray, which resulted in a book called in English, "I, Rigoberta Mench". Over the years, Rigoberta Mench has become a strong advocate of Indian rights and ethno-cultural reconciliation, and has garnered many international awards for her work.
After more than a decade from the publication of "I, Rigoberta Menchu", a controversy sparked regarding the veracity of the details contained in the publication, largely initiated by anthropologist Dr. David Stoll. Soon after various academics and journalists published their own studies related to the issue, including essays and articles about the genre used in Rigoberta's book, the testimonio.
The controversy revolves around the overarching question of whether or not an autobiography should represent the exact details of a person's life; whether or not this is a uniquely Western expectation, and whether or not the expectation of "truth" is the same from a non-Western genre such as a testimonio or oral autobiography.
This essay takes a look at the issue of veracity or truth in "I, Rigoberta Menchu" and the various positions taken by different authors on the subject. ...
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