Citizens of Memory: Prof. Tandeciarz Presents on Human Rights in Post-Dictatorship Argentina

As part of the Bellini Colloquium series for fall 2016, Prof. Silvia Tandeciarz shared her research with colleagues and students.  On September 15, Prof. Tandeciarz presented a talk entitled “Citizens of Memory: Recollection and Human Rights in Post-Dictatorship Argentina,” based on her latest project.

“40 years after the military coup that ushered in the most brutal dictatorship of Argentina’s modern history, human rights activists, cultural practitioners and ordinary citizens continue to struggle to define its meaning. The tolls of this period are well known: thirty thousand disappeared; many more exiled and/or subjected to torture in clandestine detention centers; roughly five-hundred children born in captivity, taken from their biological parents and appropriated by Junta sympathizers to be raised according to its “Western and Christian” ideological principles; and a nation disciplined by the “Process of National Reorganization” whose regime of terror marked its transition from State to market.

(Photomontage by Natalia Calabrese)

(Photomontage by Natalia Calabrese)

“While this story of State terrorism is not unique to Argentina, or to Latin America, the advances in human rights prosecutions of the last decade have turned the nation into a model of transitional justice. This lecture focuses on practices of recollection helped to shape the contemporary landscape. The analysis seeks to illuminate the productive confluence of aesthetic considerations and human rights practices, as well as the sometimes more fraught uses of memory, that this case study makes evident. The central proposition is that the creative labor informed by recall in contemporary Argentina is key not only to the nation’s ongoing project of democratization, but to the formation of citizens dedicated to the collective expansion of present and future spaces of hope.

The Bellini Colloquium is a lecture series sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. It is named after the first Professor of Modern Languages at the College, Carlo Bellini, a native of Florence, Italy and close friend of Thomas Jefferson. Bellini taught French and Italian from 1779 until 1803, and holds the distinction of being the only Professor to stay in residence at the College when classes were suspended for two years during the Revolutionary War.

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