Finding Cholita is fictionalized ethnography of the Ayacucho region of Peru covering a thirty-year period from the 1970s to today. It is a story of human tragedy resulting from the region's long history of discrimination, class oppression, and then the rise and fall of the communist organization Shining Path. The story's narrator, American anthropologist Dr. Alice Woodsley, attempts to locate her goddaughter, Cholita, who is known to have joined Shining Path and to have murdered her biological father, who fathered her through rape. Searching for Cholita, Woodsley devotes herself to documenting the stories of the countless Andean peasant women who were raped by soldiers, often going beyond witnessing as she helps the women relieve the pain of their sexual horror.
Billie Jean Isbell is a professor emeritus of anthropology at Cornell University. She is the author of To Defend Ourselves: Ecology and Ritual in an Andean Village and the multimedia websites Vicos: A Virtual Tour and The Billie Jean Isbell Andean Collection.