Variously classified as a genre or subgenre of Latin American and Latina/o nonfictional writing, an activist pedagogical technique for the constitution of a subject that has undergone trauma or been marginalized and silenced by being placed in a “border” condition between official or hegemonic discourses, in the category, that is, of those who, as one of its practitioners ironically states (Barnet 1994, 203), have ostensibly “no history,” as well as a method for the transformation of that condition into consciousness, collective memory, theory, and political action, testimonio is the resulting textual or visual product of an individual act of witnessing and/or experiencing an abject social state that is more than individual, that is indeed collective. Atrocity, genocide, extermination, torture, rape, and social abjection due to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or some other politically or socially marked difference are never far from it. These are the unspeakable background or referents that haunt the witness or testimonialista’s (testimionio’s narrator or speaking subject) act of “coming to voice,” of truth-telling and “speaking back” to the social powers that be in order to transform his or her unspeakable experience of trauma into consciousness, collective memory, political action, and theory. Thus an overarching literary or...

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