Dynamic Memories and Meanings: Memory Discourses in Postdictatorial Literary and Visual Culture in Brazil and Argentina
AuthorRajca, Andrew C.
Committee Chairda Costa Bezerra, Katia
Compitello, Malcolm A
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation examines memory discourses about the most recent military dictatorships in Brazil and Argentina produced in two photography exhibitions (the Brazilian government sponsored A ditadura no Brasil 1964-1985 and Marcelo Brodsky's Los compañeros) and two novels (Beatriz Bracher's Não falei and Sergio Chejfec's Los planetas). My research focuses on the capacity of postdictatorial cultural production to explore the negotiated spaces of meaning in both individual memories and collective discourses about the past. Drawing from interdisciplinary theoretical considerations on such themes as memory, representation, discourse, and subjectivity, I argue that cultural production that accentuates the impossibility to fully represent the past creates the conditions of possibility for spaces of dynamic memory about the military dictatorships in Brazil and Argentina. These cultural spaces of representation offer the opportunity to destabilize the discursive logic that typically guides postdictatorial memory narratives through the reiteration of the same (counter)hegemonic political ideologies that dominated these eras of dictatorship. While I critique the A ditadura no Brasil photography exhibit for its presentation of an idealized counter-narrative about this time period, I contend that the memory discourses offered by Brodsky, Bracher, and Chejfec create spaces for a more meaningful engagement with the dictatorial past, particularly for those who did not directly experience the authoritarian governments in Brazil and Argentina. I maintain that instead of attempting to articulate a narrative "truth" about dictatorship, these works lay bare the negotiated processes of memory and meaning for the readers and spectators, which offers an opportunity to activate memory for new uses within different socio-political contexts in the present. Through this dissertation project, I seek to contribute to recent critical work calling for a new language to articulate the memory of dictatorship and innovative ways to engage traumatic experiences of the past through both literary and visual culture expressions. The continued consideration of memory discourses produced in postdictatorial cultural production is an essential component within the ongoing debates on the transmission of social memory about dictatorship in Brazil and Argentina, and for other populations attempting to engage the violence of an authoritarian past and its residual effects on the present.