Studies in National and International Development


National and International Development

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Guatemala: A Beauty That (Still) Hurts: Or The Whereabouts of Pedro de Alvarado, Conquistador

Date: Thursday November 2, 2017
Venue: Mackintosh-Corry Hall, D214
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Speaker: George Lovell, Geography and Planning, Queen's

Preparing a new edition (the fourth) of A Beauty That Hurts, a memoir of (and metaphor for) troubled and tormented Guatemala, it strikes me that the title I gave the book some time ago still fits. Now more than two decades since an accord of “firm and lasting peace” was supposed to bring to an end thirty-six years (1960-1996) of brutal civil war, the country lurches from one crisis to another, the causes of what precipitated internal conflict in the first place hardly addressed, let alone redressed. And so the killing goes on, admittedly related more these days to a region-wide narco-geography than geographies of inequality at the national level. Courtesy of remarks made recently by Maya activist and anthropologist Irma Alícia Velásquez Nimatuj, the opportunity to take stock at present connects invasion and conquest by imperial Spain in the sixteenth century with the attitudes, behaviour, and neo-liberal inclinations of an entrenched status quo in the turbulent twenty-first.

George Lovelle

W. George Lovell, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, is Professor of Geography at Queen’s University and Visiting Professor in Latin American History at Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville, Spain. Central America, Guatemala in particular, has been the regional focus of much his research, the outcomes of which earned him the Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholarship Award from the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers. He has fourteen book titles to his credit, among them Conquest and Survival in Colonial Guatemala ([1985] 2015) and A Beauty That Hurts: Life and Death in Guatemala ([1995] 2010).