People / Faculty


Beatriz Manz

Professor of the Graduate School

Comparative Ethnic Studies

Human Rights, Latin America, Migrations, Peasantry, Political/Social/Ethnic Conflict, Social movements

Ph.D Anthropology. State University of New York, 1977

Beatriz manz


576 Barrows Hall


t: 510-643-0796

Bio & Research Interests

Professor Beatriz Manz was born in rural southern Chile.  She obtained her university studies in the United States.  The ethnographic research for her PhD in Social Anthropology was based on fieldwork in the highlands of Guatemala.   Her Latin American roots have shaped much of her framework and research interest in rural communities. The focus of her research has remained contemporary Mayan communities in Guatemala. Her book Refugees of a Hidden War: the Aftermath of Counterinsurgency in Guatemala examined the displacement and human rights abuses committed by the Guatemalan military against indigenous rural communities in the highlands and rainforest, as well as in the refugee camps in the Mexican Lacandón region.  Her latest book, Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror and Hope (University of California Press, 2004) details the experiences of a village deep in the northern rainforest of Guatemala next to Chiapas, Mexico.

This village, settled in the early 1970s, was destroyed by the military in 1982. A grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation allowed her to take a year off to write the book. Her research interests have broadened to examine issues of memory, grief, and trust. The increasing numbers of Guatemalan undocumented immigrants to the United States induced her to explore cross-border issues and to develop an undergraduate course called The Southern Border.

Prof. Manz has had a long-term interest in human rights and justice and has been involved with several international, governmental and non-governmental institutions, such as the UNHCR, UNDP, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Center for Justice and Accountability.  She testified before the U.S. Congress about human rights abuses in Guatemala, and has written opinion pieces for the New York Times and other publications.   She has been involved in court asylum cases as an expert witness.   She appeared at the Audiencia Nacional (Spain’s National Court) to provide expert testimony in the Guatemala Genocide case in 2008.

In April 2013 Prof. Manz was called by the prosecution to testify as an expert and eyewitness at the genocide trial in Guatemala City against General Efraín Rios Montt.  She was the only foreign eyewitness.   Her testimony was based on her field research in the early 1980s in the Ixil highlands, the Ixcán rainforest and Lacandón, Chiapas refugee camps and refugee camps in Campeche and Quintana Roo,

She was the Chair of Berkeley’s Center for Latin American Studies from 1993-1998, where she remains active.  Prof. Manz was Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies from 2006-2009.

In 2023 the campus honored Prof. Manz by naming a new faculty award in her name.  The Beatriz Manz Award will be given annually to an outstanding faculty member recently promoted to full professor.




Paradise in ashes
Refugees of a hidden war

Select publications

“Born in the USA: The Identities of America-Born Latinos” Co-authored with Paul Spoonley. Center for Latin American Studies, UC Berkeley, Working Papers No. 34. 2014.

“Raised in the USA: An Exploratory Study of Latino Identity in California.” Co-authored with Paul Spoonley.   Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity.  Göttingen, Germany.  Working Paper 15-03.  ISSN 2192-2357,  2015

“Bending the Arc of History,” in Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies, Spring 2013.

“Remembering the Past, Looking to the Future,” in Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies, Spring 2013.

“Michelle Bachelet:  Un rendez-vous con la historia,” in Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica, Vol. 11, # 3, Julio-Septiembre 2011, pp. 12-19. Translated and revised in: “Michelle Bachelet: a Rendezvous with History,” in Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies,  Spring-Summer 2012.

El Paraíso en Cenizas: Una odisea de valentía, terror y esperanza en Guatemala, México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2011.

“Central America: Patterns of Human Rights Violations,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  Protection Information Section, May 2008.

“The Continuum of Violence in Post-war Guatemala,” Social Analysis, Vol. 52, Number 2, 2008.  Reprinted in The Anthropology of War.Alisse Waterston, ed. Berhahn Books, Oxford, 2008.

Declaración.  Audiencia Nacional, Madrid, España. 29 de mayo, 2008 [Testimony, Guatemala Genocide case, National Court, Spain].

Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror and Hope.  University of California Press, 2005

“Reflections on Remembrance: Voices of an Ixcán village,” In What Justice? Whose Justice? Fighting for Fairness in Latin America. Susan Eckstein and Timothy Wickham-Crowley, editors. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

“Mexicanization: A Survival Strategy for Guatemalan Mayans in the San Francisco Bay Area,” with Xochitl Castañeda and Allison Davenport.  Migraciones Internacionales, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Baja California. Vol 1, Number 3, July-December, 2002.

“Terror, Grief, and Recovery: Genocidal Trauma In a Mayan Village in Guatemala,” In, Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide, Alex Hinton, Editor. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

“Gendered Work: Female Labour in Pipfruit Production in New Zealand and Chile,” (with Paul Spoonley). New Zealand Geographer, Vol. 57, 1, 2001.

Guatemalan Immigration to the Bay Area, (with Xochitl Castañeda, Allison Davenport, Ingrid Perry-Houts, Cecile Mazzacurati) Berkeley: Center for Latino Policy Research, 2000.

“La Importancia del Contexto en la Memoria” in De la Memoria a la Construcción Histórica. Beatriz Manz, Elizabeth Oglesby, José Gracía Noval, Guatemala: Asociación para el Avance de las Ciencias Sociales, (AVANCSO): vol. 3, 1-22. 1999.

“The United Nation’s Peace-Building in Guatemala,” (with Amy Ross) Peace Review Vol. 8, Number 4 , 1996.

Refugees of a Hidden War: the Aftermath of Counterinsurgency in Guatemala, State University of New York Press, 1988