Ariel Armony focuses, in this study, on the role played by Argentina in the anti–Communist crusade in Central America. This systematic examination of Argentina’s involvement in the Central American drama of the late 1970s and early 1980s fine–tunes our knowledge of a major episode of the Cold War era.
Basing his study on exhaustive research in the United States, Argentina, and Nicaragua, Armony adroitly demolishes several key assumptions that have shaped the work of scholars in U.S. foreign policy, Argentine military politics, and Central American affairs.
In The Argentine Silent Majority, Sebastián Carassai focuses on middle-class culture and politics in Argentina from the end of the 1960s. By considering the memories and ideologies of middle-class Argentines who did not get involved in political struggles, he expands thinking about the era to the larger society that activists and direct victims of state terror were part of and claimed to represent. Carassai conducted interviews with 200 people, mostly middle-class non-activists, but also journalists, politicians, scholars, and artists who were politically active during the 1970s. To account for local differences, he interviewed people from three sites: Buenos Aires; Tucumán, a provincial capital rocked by political turbulence; and Correa, a small town which did not experience great upheaval. He showed the middle-class non-activists a documentary featuring images and audio of popular culture and events from the 1970s. In the end Carassai concludes that, during the years of la violencia, members of the middle-class silent majority at times found themselves in agreement with radical sectors as they too opposed military authoritarianism but they never embraced a revolutionary program such as that put forward by the guerrilla groups or the most militant sectors of the labor movement.
Ricardo Piglia Duke University Press, 1994 Library of Congress PQ7798.26.I4R4713 1994 | Dewey Decimal 863
Acclaimed as one of the most important Latin American novels in recent decades, Artificial Respiration is a stunning introduction for English readers to the fiction of Ricardo Piglia. Published in Argentina in 1981, it was written at a time when thousands of Argentine citizens "disappeared" during the government’s attempt to create an authoritarian state. In part a reflection on one of the most repressive and tragic times in Argentine history, this is one of those rare works of fiction in which multiple philosophical, political, and narrative dimensions are all powerfully and equally matched. As a prize winning detective novel, Artificial Respiration reaches through many levels of mystery to explore the forces that have been at play in Argentina throughout its violent history. The narrator, a writer named Renzi, begins to look for an uncle who has vanished, a man he knows only through a web of contradictory family stories and an exchange of letters. Through these letters he learns about his uncle’s research into the life of Enrique Ossario, secretary to the 19th-century Argentine dictator Rosas and spy for the dictator’s enemy. As Renzi’s search leads further into his uncle’s work and to conversations with his literary and chess-playing friends, the reader is led by Piglia to consider the nature of Argentine identity, its literature and history, and its relation, for example, to Europe, exile, and democracy. Finally, and made most vividly appreciable by the retelling of a story in which Kafka meets Hitler, it is the encounter between literature and history that is explored.
The 1960s were heady years in Argentina. Visual artists, curators, and critics sought to fuse art and politics; to broaden the definition of art to encompass happenings and assemblages; and, above all, to achieve international recognition for new, cutting-edge Argentine art. A bestseller in Argentina, Avant-Garde, Internationalism, and Politics is an examination of the 1960s as a brief historical moment when artists, institutions, and critics joined to promote an international identity for Argentina’s visual arts.
The renowned Argentine art historian and critic Andrea Giunta analyzes projects specifically designed to internationalize Argentina’s art and avant-garde during the 1960s: the importation of exhibitions of contemporary international art, the sending of Argentine artists abroad to study, the organization of prize competitions involving prestigious international art critics, and the export of exhibitions of Argentine art to Europe and the United States. She looks at the conditions that made these projects possible—not least the Alliance for Progress, a U.S. program of “exchange” and “cooperation” meant to prevent the spread of communism through Latin America in the wake of the Cuban Revolution—as well as the strategies formulated to promote them. She describes the influence of Romero Brest, prominent art critic, supporter of abstract art, and director of the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Tocuato Di Tella (an experimental art center in Buenos Aires); various group programs such as Nueva Figuración and Arte Destructivo; and individual artists including Antonio Berni, Alberto Greco, León Ferrari, Marta Minujin, and Luis Felipe Noé. Giunta’s rich narrative illuminates the contentious postwar relationships between art and politics, Latin America and the United States, and local identity and global recognition.
In Disappearing Acts, Diana Taylor looks at how national identity is shaped, gendered, and contested through spectacle and spectatorship. The specific identity in question is that of Argentina, and Taylor’s focus is directed toward the years 1976 to 1983 in which the Argentine armed forces were pitted against the Argentine people in that nation’s "Dirty War." Combining feminism, cultural studies, and performance theory, Taylor analyzes the political spectacles that comprised the war—concentration camps, torture, "disappearances"—as well as the rise of theatrical productions, demonstrations, and other performative practices that attempted to resist and subvert the Argentine military. Taylor uses performance theory to explore how public spectacle both builds and dismantles a sense of national and gender identity. Here, nation is understood as a product of communal "imaginings" that are rehearsed, written, and staged—and spectacle is the desiring machine at work in those imaginings. Taylor argues that the founding scenario of Argentineness stages the struggle for national identity as a battle between men—fought on, over, and through the feminine body of the Motherland. She shows how the military’s representations of itself as the model of national authenticity established the parameters of the conflict in the 70s and 80s, feminized the enemy, and positioned the public—limiting its ability to respond. Those who challenged the dictatorship, from the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo to progressive theater practitioners, found themselves in what Taylor describes as "bad scripts." Describing the images, myths, performances, and explanatory narratives that have informed Argentina’s national drama, Disappearing Acts offers a telling analysis of the aesthetics of violence and the disappearance of civil society during Argentina’s spectacle of terror.
Although Juan Perón changed the course of modern Argentine history, scholars have often interpreted him in terms of their own ideologies and interests, rather than seeing the effect of this man and his movement had on the Argentine people. The essays in this volume seek to uncover the man behind the myth, to define the true nature of Perónism. Several chapters view Perón's rise to power, his deposition and eighteen-year exile, and his dramtic return in 1973. Others examine: opposing forces in modern Argentina, including the church and its role in politics; the conflict between landed stancieros and urban industrialists, terrorist activities and their popularist support base; Peronism and the labor movement; and Evita Perón's role in advancing the political rights of women.
Between 1976 and 1983, during a period of brutal military dictatorship, armed forces in Argentina abducted 30,000 citizens. These victims were tortured and killed, never to be seen again. Although the history of los desaparecidos, “the disappeared,” has become widely known, the stories of the Argentines who miraculously survived their imprisonment and torture are not well understood. The Reappeared is the first in-depth study of an officially sanctioned group of Argentine former political prisoners, the Association of Former Political Prisoners of Córdoba, which organized in 2007.
Using ethnographic methods, anthropologist Rebekah Park explains the experiences of these survivors of state terrorism and in the process raises challenging questions about how societies define victimhood, what should count as a human rights abuse, and what purpose memorial museums actually serve. The men and women who reappeared were often ostracized by those who thought they must have been collaborators to have survived imprisonment, but their actual stories are much more complex. Park explains why the political prisoners waited nearly three decades before forming their own organization and offers rare insights into what motivates them to recall their memories of solidarity and resistance during the dictatorial past, even as they suffer from the long-term effects of torture and imprisonment.
The Reappeared challenges readers to rethink the judicial and legislative aftermath of genocide and forces them to consider how much reparation is actually needed to compensate for unimaginable—and lifelong—suffering.