Kirsten Weld's research explores 20th-century struggles over inequality, justice, historical memory, and social inclusion in the Americas.
Her first book, Paper Cadavers: The Archives of Dictatorship in Guatemala (2014), analyzes how history is produced as social knowledge, the labour behind transformative social change, and the stakes of the stories we tell about the past. It is a historical and ethnographic study of the massive archives generated by Guatemala's National Police, which were used as tools of state repression during the country's civil war, concealed from the truth commission charged with investigating crimes against humanity at the war’s end, stumbled upon by justice activists in 2005, and repurposed in the service of historical accounting and postwar reconstruction. Paper Cadavers won the 2015 WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award and the 2016 Best Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association’s Recent History and Memory Section.
Weld is currently writing her second book, Ruins and Glory: The Long Spanish Civil War in Latin America, which examines the impact and legacies of the Spanish Civil War in the Americas from the 1930s through the present.
Born and raised in Canada, Weld holds a BA from McGill University and a PhD from Yale University. At Harvard, she offers courses in modern Latin American history, US-Latin American relations, archival theory, and historical methods.