Heather A. Vrana

  • Fellowship year:2011-2012
  • University: Indiana University
  • Dissertation Topic/Category: Latin America
  • Dissertation Title: 'Do Not Tempt Us!' Guatemala University Students in Protest and Popular Memory, 1944-1989.
  •  Ms. Vrana's dissertation details student identity and politics in Guatemala, and accounts for students' role in the 1944 demographic revolution, the 1954 counterrevolution, and the subsequent decades of civil war.  Students and professors at Guatemala's national University of San Carlos (USAC) - who called themselves San Carlistas- constructed urban middle class ladino consciousness.  This identity is surprising in a nation most frequently understood by foreigners as indigenous, rural, and poor.  But this dissertation demonstrates the importance of these urban subjects in the 20th century, in particular as USAC students and professors used their influence in national legislation, alongside innovations in curriculum and student political groups to shape and challenge the nation-state.  As state-builders after the 1944 revolution, then targets for state repression by the 1960s, and finally as watchdogs for human rights and advocates of neoliberalism, the university's relationship to the state was unsettled.  San Carlistas revised national ideals and imaginaries, as they critiqued civic education and sought alternative models for society.