Election Candidate: Jimena Perry

Biographical paragraph

Jimena Perry is a Colombian anthropologist from the Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, with an MPhil in Social Anthropology with emphasis in Museums from the University of Cambridge, UK, and in 2020 she completed her PhD in History (Latin American) from the University of Texas at Austin. Her main research interests are: Public history, memory, violence, museums, and the history of anthropology. She has worked and curated exhibitions at the National Museum of Colombia and her MPhil dissertation was the analysis of a Colombian exhibition that took place in 1938, which triggered the development and professionalization of anthropology and archaeology in the country. Along these lines, her PhD thesis called Trying to Remember: Museums, Exhibitions, and Memories of Violence in Colombia, 2000-2014 is about representations of violence through museums. Jimena Perry studies how museums and exhibitions in Colombia become politically active subjects in the acts of reflection and mourning, and how they foster new relationshipsbetween the state and society. Her work also analyzes museums and displays as arbiters of social memory. It asks how representations of violence serve in processes of transitional justice and promotion of human rights for societies that havebeen racked by decades of violence.

Perry is also a college instructor at Iona College, NY, where she teaches classes about Latin America, Public History, and Non-Western civilizations. In addition, she has been the Project Manager of Explorers of the International Federation for Public History since 2018.

Statement of interest

After being the IFPH Explorers Project Manager since 2018, position I intend to continue performing, I am interested in serving as a delegate in the Federation’s Steering Committee for the 2021-2025 term. Originally from Colombia, I have lived in the US since 2011, and currently, I am a faculty member of Iona College in New York, where they are very interested in positioning a solid Latin American Studies program. In addition, Iona’s initiative is aligned with one of the main goals of the IFPH because they are willing to support projects related to public history and the region. In addition, I know the field’s scene in Latin America and due to my first language being Spanish I can reach an audience beyond English speakers. This was reflected on a three-day conference that took place from May 11 to 13, 2021 about Public History, Museums, and Digital Communities in Latin America in which we had presenters from several countries of the region. Currently, I am a guest curator at the National Museum of Colombia for an exhibition about French ethnographer Paul Rivet, who had significant influence in the development of anthropology and archaeology in the country. The research I have done for this display has also increased my knowledge about Latin America and its relationship with Europe, since I had to interview and talk with several curators and researchers about the topic.

As a public historian, I am always looking into different ways to make historical knowledge available and friendly not only to my students but also to the audiences I intend to reach every month with the Explorers events. Therefore, my engagement with different public history initiatives in other parts of the world like Europe and Australia, have widened the scope of my professional development as well and is reflected in the topics addressed in the IFPH Explorers, such as peace building, heritage, museums, imperialism and disease, human rights, digital humanities, gender, and social justice. The broad comprehension about public history the Explorers provides, contributes to the IFPHʼs goal of promoting international debates about the field. I also use public history and its methods in my teaching. My classes are highly participative to encourage students to develop projects based in their own interests and background, which in turn has contributed to my knowledge and understanding of the ways public history is practiced and understood.

I believe that I can serve in the IFPH steering committee because of my knowledge of the Latin American public history scene, the fact that I speak Spanish, and because I am highly movable, having lived in Europe and several states in the U.S. Additionally, I believe I can serve as a delegate at the IFPH’s steering committee because I agree with the interests and purposes of the Federation and consider it a solid promoter of public history throughout the world.

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