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Revista Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies

Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies

Revista Journal of Latin American Studies

Año: 2012 vol. 21 n. 2

Sosa, Cecilia ; Serpente, Alejandra. Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 159-163 América Latina
Cultura latinoamericana contemporánea
Siglo XXI

Andermann, Jens. Expanded Fields: Postdictatorship and the Landscape In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 165-187 América Latina
Argentina | Chile | Uruguay
Posdictadura / Paisaje
Siglo XXI


This paper aims to recast debates on postdictatorial memory in the Southern Cone, suggesting that the role of landscape alongside the more familiar models and forms of commemoration – archives, museums, monuments – hasn't thus far received the attention it deserves. Landscape, as a surface of inscription and as a spatial opening, encompasses a number of aesthetic registers, from architecture to writing and the visual arts. Here I shall trace its modulations through some of the memorial gardens created in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, to then focus on the poetic œuvre of Raúl Zurita and, finally, on Argentine films made by children of parents disappeared by the dictatorship. Rosalind Krauss's seminal essay ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field’ (1978) will allow me to think about landscape as a critical interruption of monumental re-inscriptions and emplacements, opening these towards spaces of itinerance with a potentiality for moving beyond the temporality of trauma or at least of rethinking the latter in terms of present political practices.

Ramírez, Carolina ; Serpente, Alejandra. Ecomemoria's Diasporic Space of Commemoration: A Tree-Planting Ceremony and its Living Memorial In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 189-202 Chile
Conmemoración / Memoria Viva / Ecomemoria
Siglo XX


Ecomemoria comprises an intergenerational group of Chilean exiles living in the UK and in Chile who aim to keep alive the memory of and claim justice for those who were disappeared (desaparecidos) and killed (ejecutados políticos) during Pinochet's dictatorship (1973–1990). This piece draws on the authors' recent participation in a specific tree-planting ceremony performed by this group in Wales. By looking at the relocation of bodies, and the enactments and artefacts within the site-specificity of this event, a reflection on both the diasporic space developed and the unexpectedly complex character of the “living memorial” the group aims to cultivate will be elaborated. Ecomemoria's members match their living memory project with the trees that commemorate the life of the disappeared. Yet this conception here is complicated by highlighting the transnational, as well as the active, social, embodied and uncanny character of the ceremony which, as well be argued comprises a living memorial in its own right. This essay starts by briefly presenting Ecomemoria, to then describe and deconstruct the ceremony's diasporic and haunting qualities. Finally, to conclude, a much more complex idea of a living memorial will be developed in consideration of the mobile, affective, embodied and ghostly mise-en-scène the ceremony produces.

Levey, Cara. The Memorial de los Detenidos Desaparecidos: Fragile memory and contested meaning in Post-dictatorship Uruguay In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 203-219 Uruguay
Dictadura uruguaya / Memorial de los Detenidos Desaparecidos
Siglo XX


Nearly thirty years after the Uruguayan civil-military dictatorship (1973–1985) ended, the ways in which memory of this period is treated remains the subject of considerable contestation. In early 2010, controversy erupted over the filming of an advertisement for Sprite. During the shoot, the Memorial de los Detenidos Desaparecidos, conceived and constructed between 1998 and 2001 in homage to the victims of state terrorism, was covered up by the production company, rendering it camouflaged against the landscape of its location in Montevideo's Parque Vaz Ferreira. This episode demonstrates that rather than draw a line under the past, the construction and continued presence of the Memorial precipitates new debates over how memorial sites are interpreted and preserved. It provides an interesting point of departure from which to explore the fragility of memory in post-dictatorship Uruguay and the open-ended meanings of memorials, particularly within shifting judicial, political and urban contexts. Through analysis of the Memorial's aesthetics, peripheral location and the consumer-driven context it inhabits, this paper examines the Memorial's complexities and the threats to memorialisation in Uruguay, arguing that they are intimately tied to the broader struggles of state and society to address recent repression, which go beyond the dichotomies of remembering versus forgetting.

Sosa, Cecilia. Queering Kinship. The Performance of Blood and the Attires of Memory In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 221-233 Argentina
Memoria / Parentesco
Siglo XX


This essay focuses on the emergence of a non-normative lineage of mourning in the wake of Argentina's last dictatorship (1976–1983). It looks at Mi vida después (Lola Arias, 2009), a play based on the real stories of six actors who were born during the dictatorship. By challenging Marianne Hirsch's idea of postmemory, forged in order to address the experiences of the second generation of survivors, I consider how personal testimonies can travel off the stage to build new affiliations in the present. I suggest that Mi vida después offers an expanded machine for the exploration of memory that also includes the bodies of the audience. Among the testimonies, I focus on the story of two non-biological siblings: the actor Vanina Falco and Juan Cabandié, the son of a murdered activist couple who was abducted from ESMA by Luis Falco, a police officer working for the military. I address how Vanina relates to her father-appropriator, recently condemned to eighteen years of imprisonment. In so doing, I show how the performance of blood can help to conceive a broader idea of being affected by violence. Ultimately, I suggest that traumatic pasts are also attires that can be adopted in the context of spectatorship.

Francis, Hilary. Que se rinda tu madre! Leonel Rugama and Nicaragua's Changing Politics of Memory In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 235-252 América Latina
Leonel Rugama / Cambio político
Siglo XX


The elucidation of collective memory takes place on continually shifting ground, leaving scholars of memory with few collective certainties of their own. One aspect appears constant: the emphasis on trauma as a way of framing memories of the past. The question of how to represent trauma is pivotal to the culture of memory in many Latin American countries. However, an exclusive focus on trauma can obscure the persistence of other memorial cultures. In Nicaragua, for example, a pantheon of revolutionary heroes still dominates the memorial landscape. Here, I examine the case of Leonel Rugama (1949–1970), a Nicaraguan revolutionary poet. Rugama's dying words, ¡que se rinda tu madre! (let your mother surrender!), are a central element in Nicaraguan collective memory. Comparing memorials to Rugama over three decades, I argue that the use of ¡que se rinda …! in the early 1980s is indicative of the iconoclastic power of a particular collective moment. In contrast, “¡que se rinda…” is absent from the 2010 memorial which marks the 40th anniversary of Leonel Rugama's death. This change reflects the present Sandinista regime's discomfort with the revolution's original radical intent, a discomfort amply justified by the recent re-appropriation of Rugama's final words by opponents of the current regime.

Bell, Vikki. Writing to the General, and Other Aesthetic Strategies of Critique: The Art of León Ferrari as a Practice of Freedom In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 253-285 Argentina
León Ferrari / Arte como práctica de libertad
Siglo XX | Siglo XXI


This article considers the long career of Argentine artist León Ferrari, from its beginnings to the midst of military dictatorship, through his political exile, to his return to a renewed democracy that nevertheless remains in need of critique. It approaches his oeuvre as the story of an artist's ‘practices of freedom’, in Michel Foucault's sense, a story that is an exploration of the different modes of critique, witnessing and critical contestation that one encounters in Ferrari's artworks. Foucault's thought frames this exploration insofar as it enables one to understand Ferrari's art as a series of experiments in critique executed in different periods and hence in different political configurations. Since this is the case, the artworks also enable one to reflect upon how one can conceive of art's ethical role, how it might be thought to insert and assert itself within the lines of power and subjectification.

Campbell, Patrick. Traces of the (M)Other: Deconstructing Hegemonic Historical Narrative In Teat(r)o Oficina Uzyna Uzona's Os Sertões In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 287-311 Brasil
Narrativa histórica / Teat(r)o Oficina Uzyna Uzona's Os Sertões
Siglo XX | Siglo XXI


This article focuses on the way in which renowned São Paulo-based theatre company Teat(r)o Oficina Uzyna Uzona deconstructs hegemonic historical narrative in their 2000–2007 25-hour-long production of Euclides da Cunha's seminal Brazilian novel Os sertões (“Rebellion in the Backlands”), an account of the War of Canudos (1896–1897), the first major act of State terrorism carried out by the nascent Brazilian Federal Government on the country's subaltern population. The Teat(r)o Oficina's epic adaptation fuses events from the colonial period, the military dictatorship and contemporary twenty-first-century São Paulo to relate the repetitive cycles of misappropriation, oppression and resistance that have characterized the history of Brazil and its people over the centuries. However, any fatalistic view of victimhood as an essential aspect of Brazilian subjectivity is radically challenged by the vibrant, rhythmic, material impact of the theatrical super-signs underpinning the performance text. Drawing on Julia Kristeva's notion of the semiotic – the pre-linguistic, illogical, rhythmical materialism of language intimately related to a primordial relationship with the abject mother – I shall suggest that it is the rhythmic, libidinal force of the performance and its extensive use of the cultural manifestations of Brazil's subaltern population that imbues Os Sertões with the silent presence-as-absence of the abject Brazilian (M)Other – the Black, Indigenous and Mestiza matriarchal line whose alternative discourse is often barred from hegemonic accounts of Brazilian historiography. Her silent heritage is embodied on stage by the members of the Oficina, who reclaim an alienating national heritage for themselves by transforming the often tragic tale of Brazil's past into a joyous celebration of tenacious vitality.

Feld, Claudia. Image and Disappearance in Argentina. Reflections on a Photo taken in the Basement of ESMA In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 313-341 América Latina
Desapariciones en Argentina / Foto de Alice Domon y Léonie Duquet
Siglo XX


El secuestro de las monjas francesas, Alice Domon y Léonie Duquet, en diciembre de 1977 en Buenos Aires generó protestas internacionales y una fuerte visibilidad pública del caso, a través de la prensa francesa. Para tratar de evitar problemas diplomáticos con el gobierno francés, la dictadura argentina intentó endilgar la responsabilidad del secuestro a la organización guerrillera Montoneros. Para ello, fraguó un comunicado de la organización y lo difundió acompañándolo con una foto tomada a las religiosas en el sótano de la ESMA. Esta foto singular, sacada dentro de un centro clandestino de detención a dos personas ya desaparecidas, para ser mostrada públicamente, plantea una serie de cuestiones –que son tratadas en este artículo- en torno a la relación entre fotografía y memoria de la desaparición. Se analizan las noticias en torno al tema publicadas por la prensa argentina y francesa después de los secuestros, y se examinan algunos programas emitidos por la televisión francesa en las décadas de los ‘80 y ‘90. En primer lugar, este caso permite cuestionar el estatuto de huella y de “prueba” de la fotografía (Barthes, Dubois): ¿puede ser interpretada esta foto como “prueba de la desaparición”? En segundo lugar, el artículo problematiza el vínculo entre fotografía y representación del horror preguntándose, con Didi-Huberman, si más que el referente, lo que “da a ver” el horror en este caso son las marcas de las condiciones de enunciación de la imagen, es decir, aquello que permite inferir cómo y dónde fue tomada. Finalmente, el artículo analiza, a partir de esta foto y de sus sucesivas reutilizaciones, las tensiones entre visibilidad y secreto, entre imagen y memoria, y entre el “interior” y el “exterior” del centro clandestino de detención de la ESMA. La repetición constante de la imagen en distintos contextos, a lo largo de más de treinta años, permite preguntarse en qué medida esta “iconización” (Hirsch) termina borrando o amortiguando su carácter perturbador, su posibilidad de seguir comunicando algo del orden de lo intolerable. Estas cuestiones se encuentran en el centro del complejo trabajo de la memoria erigido, en torno a los desaparecidos, en los últimos treinta años.

Jelin, Elizabeth. Sexual Abuse as a Crime against Humanity and the Right To Privacy In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 343-350 Argentina
Abuso sexual / Crimen contra la humanidad / Derecho a la privacidad
Siglo XX | Siglo XXI


Over the last three decades, rape and sexual abuse of women as repressive practices during war and dictatorial regimes are gradually being recognized as specific forms of human rights violations. Increasingly they come to be considered as crimes against humanity within the international regime of human rights law. In Argentina, although the existence of such crimes has been known since the nineteen eighties, only now is testimony in trials against repressors being taken as evidence for specific rape-based convictions. Under these circumstances, the women involved face a personal and political dilemma, between the urge to talk and the right to intimacy and silence. The political and moral character of rape emerges jointly under these circumstances, posing a paradoxical situation.

Radstone, Susannah. Afterword: Bringing Memory Home: Location, Theory, Hybridity In  Contemporary Landscapes of Latin American Cultural Memory p. 351-357 América Latina
Ubicación / Teoría / Hibridación / Memoria histórica
Siglo XXI

Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies
Papel | Versión digital con suscripción | Trimestral (desde 2011) | Reino Unido Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. Travesia
ISSN versión papel: 1356-9325
ISSN versión digital: 1469-9575
Año de creación: 1992

Editor: Routledge (Taylor and Francis Group)

Publica artículos sobre la historia y la análisis de la cultura latinoamericana así como sobre el desarrollo de teorías y de métodos a fines de estudiar las costumbres latinoamericanas. Los artículos multi diciplinarios que contribuyen a dar sentido a una área de investigación y de debate están particularmente bienvenidos así como las disciplinas de cierto interés tales como la antropología, la comunicación, la historia y la literatura.

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