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M. Gabriela Torres

Professor of Anthropology, Co-Director of the Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning, Wheaton College

About M. Gabriela

Torres' research focuses on the relationship between the state and gender based violence. Overarching themes in Torres' writings include the role of sexual violence in genocide, how state and institutional policy enable different forms of sexual violence, and how the harms of sexual violence are conceptualized cross-culturally. Torres serves as the Ombudsperson for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault for the American Anthropological Association, a minority representative in the American Anthropological Association's Member's Programmatic Advisory and Advocacy Committee, and is past president of the New England Council on Latin American Studies.

In the News

"Gender-Based Violence and the Plight of Guatemalan Refugees," M. Gabriela Torres, Cultural Anthropology, January 23, 2019.


"Rules Matter: How Can Professional Associations Re-Map Intra-Community Norms around Sexual Violence?" (with Dianna Shandy). Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (forthcoming, 2020).
"Violated Women, Reason, and Lo Político in the Imaginary of the Guatemalan Nation" Bulletin of Latin American Research 37, no. 3 (July 2018): 261-274.

Explores how political violence is imagined with women's bodies and suggests that such violence is always built on pre‐existing cultural practices. Argues that gender categorization is paramount to constructing a modern Guatemalan nation that all too often works to exclude women as knowing participants.

"State Violence" in Cambridge Handbook of Social Problems, edited by Javier Treviño (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Provides a guide to the literature on state violence using the much studied case of Guatemala as a focal example. Presents competing concepts on the nature of violence, analyzes the different forms of state violence (genocide, political violence, and juridical violence). Suggests emerging trends in the literature of state violence that lead us to consider structural inequalities, the changing nature of the state, and the incorporation of new technologies of violent governance.

"Engendering Violence: Military Leadership through the Moral Crisis of Guatemala’s National Family" in Violence and Crime in Latin America: Representations and Politics, edited by Gemma Santamaria and David Carey Jr. (Oklahoma University Press, 2017), 61-79.

Examines a period of dictatorial rule in Guatemala, and the way in which the state expressed itself in terms of paternal love and family affection.

Marital Rape: Consent, Marriage, and Social Change in Global Context (edited with Kersti Yllö) (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Examines, with leading scholars, marital rape as a global problem with documented health and policy consequences globally.

"In the Shadow of the Razor Wire: Class and Insecurity in Guatemala’s Urban Core" Anthropologica 57, no. 1 (2015): 127-137.

Explores how the usage of razor wiring in Guatemalan homes connects to a larger view about the relationship of outsiders to the home, and neoliberal reforms within the country.

"Gender Based Violence and the State in Guatemala’s Genocide and Beyond" in Applying Anthropology to Gender-Based Violence, edited by Jennifer Wies and Hillary Haldane (Lexington Books, 2015).
"Art and Labor in the Framing of Guatemala's Dead" Anthropology of Work Review 35, no. 1 (July 2014): 14-24.

Examines how photojournalists used photos of Guatemala's violence to craft aesthetic narratives, and to balance depicting atrocity with artistic considerations.

"Precursors to Femicide: Guatemalan Women in a Vortex of Violence" (with David Carey Jr.). Latin American Research Review 45, no. 3 (2010): 142-164.

Finds the naturalization of gender-based violence over the course of the twentieth century maintained and promoted the systemic impunity that undergirds femicide today. Accounts for the gendered and historical dimensions of the cultural practices of violence and impunity. Offers a re-conceptualization of the social relations that perpetuate femicide as an expression of post-war violence.