Anthropologist Shane Greene: How Far Would You Take Your Rebellion?

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For the past 20 years, anthropologist Shane Greene has been researching political ecology, urban subcultures, social movements, social theory, indigenous and afro-descendent rights, music and society, and race; mostly in the geographical context of Latin America.

Late last year he published Punk and Revolution: Seven More Interpretations of Peruvian Reality, via Duke Press. The book is the result of exhaustive research of the internal political conflict of Peru throughout the 1980s and how it impacted the experience of those in the punk counterculture there. The title of the book is a reference to Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality, written by influential socialist writer José Carlos Mariátegui in the 1920s.

To complete his research for the book, Greene interviewed those who were a part of the punk scene in Peru, most of whom are now in middle age. He found that, very unlike their Northern Hemisphere rebellious counterparts, Peruvian punks found themselves utilizing punk as a tangible political philosophy applicable to the tumultuous and often violent country them found themselves in.

Greene said that most of the material that he found that documented the punk subculture of Peru in the ‘80s consisted of personal items owned by those who were a part of that particular scene: old flyers, zines, and the music of the period itself.

“Peruvian punks found themselves confronting a question of whether or not to translate symbolic art into militancy. If you’re in the context of a country that is falling apart, and there is also a radical revolutionary proposal on the table, you have to confront that,” said Greene. “Many of them had to confront this and either ally themselves or be in debate with the militant end of politics. It’s pretty unique, especially in terms of a lot of different punk scenes all over the world. Would you take your weekend rebellion to a different level?”

Friday, March 17, Greene will lecture alongside sound artist Maria Chavez in Seigfred Hall 401 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event is presented by Ohio University’s Latin American Studies, with support from the College of Fine Arts.

Greene is currently an associate professor in the anthropology department of Indiana University Bloomington, as well as former director of the school’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and faculty associate of the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change.