The University of Wisconsin Press


Latin American Studies / History / Politics / Human Rights



Beyond Displacement
Campesinos, Refugees, and Collective Action in the Salvadoran Civil War
Molly Todd


Critical Human Rights
Steve J. Stern and Scott Straus, Series Editors


Traces a community on the run, from a literally underground life in El Salvador through the hardships of exile in Honduras and ultimately to their “illegal” return home.

During the civil war that wracked El Salvador from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, the Salvadoran military tried to stamp out dissidence and insurgency through an aggressive campaign of crop-burning, kidnapping, rape, killing, torture, and gruesome bodily mutilations. Even as human rights violations drew world attention, repression and war displaced more than a quarter of El Salvador’s population, both inside the country and beyond its borders.

Beyond Displacement examines how the peasant campesinos of war-torn northern El Salvador responded to violence by taking to the hills. Molly Todd demonstrates that their flight was not hasty and chaotic, but was a deliberate strategy that grew out of a longer history of collective organization, mobilization, and self-defense.

“Draws from the best of historical and anthropological methods to document the ways in which courageous individuals and heroic families forged deeper ties of solidarity and built humane communities. Written with great passion and analytic precision, this book contributes to our understanding of an often overlooked facet of El Salvador’s civil war and fitful democratic resurgence.”
—Greg Grandin, author of The Last Colonial Massacre

Molly Todd is assistant professor of history at Augustana College.

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The cover of Beyond Displacement is black, with artwork of a group of displaced people.

December 2010

LC: 2010011578 F
306 pp.  6 x 9
22 b/w illus., 7 charts, and 3 maps

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ISBN 978-0-299-25004-1
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“An utterly original story, well told and absorbing. Todd shows that Salvadoran peasant communities had developed a strategy of mobility and hiding even before the point of international displacement, adapted it to conditions of international refugee camps and trans-national solidarity politics in Honduras, and used the camps as a base to push a repopulation movement in tandem with a peacemaking strategy. A new history of the war for El Salvador begins here.” —Steve J. Stern, series editor

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